Saturday, September 10, 2016

Collado del Pando - Besande

GR1 Sendero Historico day 2.
Distance: 25.5km (55.0km), time spent: 09:00.
Waymarking: Good.
Weather: Sunny and mostly a clear blue sky, hot.


The second day on the Sendero Historico brought me to Besande. Not as far as I originally had hoped to go, but after a night with almost no sleep and a walk in high temperatures, I quickly understood that I would not reach my little hope of getting to Collado de la Cruz Armada. Where others probably have a more take it as it comes approach to the trails they do, I usually have made up a sort of plan in advance. Mine was overly ambitious, but I am used to and well aware of that the plans that I have in mind always ends up changing. This one would be no exception.

View East from Collado del Pando in the morning. Clouds drifting up from the valley below. To the left in the background, the silhouette of Peña Espigüete.

One thing about myself that I know is that I in the long run function better if I have slept well. On a walk like this, it is critical that I get enough sleep. Which I did not get during the night at Collado del Pando, of reasons I really cannot explain, for the most part I was just twisting and turning in my sleeping bag. There were also nothing that I worried about, though there were a lot of noise outside. Especially the mating calls of the deer, which cannot be said to be particularly pretty. At a given time, I was also about to entering sleep, when a sudden snort next to the tent shook me back into the wakefulness again. Nor was it too hot either, it was quite colder during the night than I had expected.

A chozo below Collado del Pando, this is a traditional thatched shelter for shepherds, you could sleep in it if you want.

The hike continued pretty much in the same way as it had ended the day before, and with just a small exception it was yet another gorgeous day. Though maybe not as grandiose as yesterday, it did not lessen the experience in any way. The little exception was the part between Las Salas and Remolina, where the trail first went on a short, but rather boring path next to a river before it entered another paved road.

View from Collado de Mostagerosa (Tejerina), Remolina below; I could see Collado del Pando in the mountains further back.

Before that, I had woke up at the pass to a clear sky, but with small waves of clouds that engulfed the peaks to the east, Peña Espigüete included. It was a beautiful morning and when the sunrays cut across the mountains, the warmth also woke up to life. I came down to Las Salas that bore signs that it had not woken up from sleep yet, like the first part of the route afterwards.

The distinct shape of Peña Espigüete seen from Collado de Mostagerosa.

When I arrived in Besande, I had crossed three passes, Collado de Mostagerosa, Collado der Corral de los Lobos and Collado Monteviejo. Of these three, it was the ascent to Collado de Mostagerosa that was the most demanding, where the gravity really made its mark, together with the heat. I quickly noticed that I did not have as much energy as yesterday and that it would be hard to reach a fourth pass (Cruz Armada). Unlike the climb up to Collado de Lois yesterday this mostly went up through a forest, with not many views unfolding for each heavy step. In return, the reward felt thus greater when I finally reached the pass.

On the way down to Tejerina, looking back up at Collado de Mostagerosa.

Not just because the view was grand. I have always felt a kind of satisfaction by looking out across a landscape where I can recognize the places I have walked or been. Yesterday, I sat and watched the lights from Remolina below, now I could point out Collado del Pando on the other side. At the pass itself, it stood Collado de Tejerina on the signpost and you get a short, but nice ridge walk before the path leaves the ridge and goes down towards Tejerina itself.

One of the amusing and curious water fountains in Tejerina.

The trail has somewhat gained a reputation that it is hard to find the way on it, that the waymarks at times are not good enough, but until now I have not had any problems finding the way. Even on the path down from the pass, which the guidebook warned about could be a little difficult, it went fine. Dry yellowing grass dominated the valley below and in the horizon, the contours of Peña Espigüete now appeared even clearer. In the heat, it was good to arrive in Tejerina and find out that the village had a bar after all.

The trail after Tejerina and up towards Collado der Corral de los Lobos.

Where Collado de Mostagerosa was the most demanding, Collado der Corral de los Lobos was the most interesting. At the pass there was an enclosure made of solid logs that lead down towards a curious construction, given the name of the pass I assumed that it was some kind of an old trap to capture wolves. No wolves in the vicinity now and the walk down to Prioro was not of the exciting kind.

Collado der Corral de los Lobos, was the plan behind the enclosure to lead the wolves down to the circular building and capture them in there?

Prioro did not became more than a stopover for lunch, consisting of a large and fat bocadillo, and a large glass of cerveza con limon in a local bar. When I left the village, the temperature had got hotter than it was when I entered it. The walk up to the last pass of the day, Collado Monteviejo (1440m), became heavy enough even when it was not that steep. The sound of bellowing cows followed me down to the small village of Besande.

Outside the church in Prioro.

When I arrived in Besande, I was tired and I had begun to strongly doubt that I would reach Collado de la Cruz Armada before it got too late. Uncertain of where I could find a good place to camp before the pass, I asked some of the villagers if I could pitch my tent at the rest area that I passed by at the entrance to the village. I was more than welcome to do that, but they meant that it was not a good place to camp, no flat surface. Instead, I could if I wanted it, put up my tent at a flat lawn in front of their house. If I needed anything, I could only knock on their door and ask.

Peña Espigüete colored red by the evening sun from Besande.

There were also a restaurant / bar in the village, but those I talked to did not quite know when it was open or not. Fortunately for me, it was now open, being Saturday could maybe have something to do with it. Thus ended my second day on the GR1 Sendero Historico. Sitting at a bar in Besande where I could relax with a few beers and eat a somewhat better dinner than what I would cook for myself on my stove. Even though the bacalao that I ordered was a bit poorly cooked, the starter consisting of a plate with ham, mushrooms and shrimps (which I had to pick out) was better.

<- Collado del PandoCol Alto de la Varga ->

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