Friday, September 9, 2016

Puerto de Tarna - Collado del Pando

GR1 Sendero Historico day 1.
Distance: 29.5km (29.5km), time spent: 10:02.
Waymarking: Good.
Weather: Sun and a clear blue sky, some few confused clouds.


It is hard to describe the feeling you have when you finally are located at the place you have been waiting for and planned for so long a time. When the butterflies that has resided in the stomach the last days has left the body. Something they tend to do when I stand at the starting point of a long walk. The dice has been thrown, it will sink or swim. When you have found the answer to what you have wondered of for so long, how it looks like from where the trail starts, what kind of weather you will begin in? At Puerto de Tarna, where the GR1 Sendero Historico starts from, there was not a cloud in the sky in the direction I was going and the magnificent mountains stood in stark contrast against the blue background. The air is crisp and fresh, the view fantastic, and a little bit chilly.

Puerto de Tarna in the Picos de Europa, 1490m, the starting point of the GR1 Sendero Historico. The trail begins from a rather odd pass between Asturias and Castilla y Leon.

I cannot deny that it was pure joy to stand at the pass, located at 1490m, and gaze out across the Parque Regional de Picos de Europa. It was like arriving at the main course of the trail at once. When I took the first steps on the walk, it was however not without a certain quivering sensation in the body. After all, I had a walk of over 1250km ahead of me and what was awaiting me was somewhat uncertain.

The trail from Puerto de Tarna is descending through magnificent scenery.

From Puerto de Tarna, I went to Collado del Pando, a small pass between Salamon and Las Salas. The walk had been fantastic and the only problem that I could see was if the rest of the trail could follow up this day. If there were anything negative about this first day, it would be that that last part of the route went on a paved road from Lois and down to Salamon.

Parque Regional de Picos de Europa.

Before that, I had almost walked with stars emanating from my eyes. The first six kilometres from Puerto de Tarna to Maraña was sheer joy, even though the path that I was walking on in the beginning shortly after changed to a gravel track. Around me the mountains rose up from green and copper-like vegetation and in the beginning there was a frosty mist that rose up from where the first rays of the sun begun heating up the ground. It was quiet and I could not possible ask for a better beginning of a long hike.

A curious cow fountain in the small village of Maraña.

Not that the walk after Maraña was not good, it was splendid, but there is always a novelty in the beginning that wears off. I had getting started, was on my way and the problems that I have had so far was now behind me. I could focus solely on the simple deed and live the day and that the only small thing that mattered was to get to the destination of the evening. In Maraña, I stopped for a short break and used the opportunity to buy myself something refreshing from the small albergue there. The scenery necessitated that you sat down and enjoyed it.

On the way between Maraña and Acebedo, beneath beautiful mountains this part of the route went on a long plain.

I was remarkable alone on the trail, where I felt that I more shared the path with the cows and horses rather than other people. Cow dung everywhere formed small obstacles, something that characterized the surface all of the day. I passed through four small villages on my first day, Acebedo, Lois, Salamon and aforementioned Maraña. Something implying that I should have met more people, but it was oddly quiet. I just walked through Acebedo and I got Lois to myself, I was to meet more people in Salamon.

Climbing up towards Collado de Lois. A long ascent from Acebedo, the route was pleasant and the views just got better and better the higher up and closer to the pass I came.

The day was not without ascents as well, I was in the mountains after all. From Acebedo it was steadily climbing up towards Collado de Lois and it got gradually more and more steeper, but with that came the rewards in the form of superb views. The route pleasant, the heavy burden forgotten. Collado de Lois was the highest point on the walk, at 1585m, and a proper place for a lunch break. With ascent, there is also descent and an unexpected, but nice walk through woods.

Local waymarking of the paths with drawings of the sights at the different places.

When I arrived at Salamon, I was close to my destination of the day; in the lack of the local bar being open, I was invited into the garden to some of the few villagers. Wondering about my arrival in the village, I was given fruit, ham and some beers. Hospitality is not blocked by any borders. In the winter, there is only one person that still stays in the village.

After the descent from Collado de Lois on the way to Lois itself, looking back to where the trail comes from.

At the pass that I thought would be a nice place to stay the night, Collado del Pando, the cows and horses in their absence made it difficult finding a suitable campsite. Cow dung all over the place, on the most suitable field there was not a single space where I could fit in my tent. I had to make do with a place in the tall grass on the other side of the fence that divides the pass in two. Then the next question came, would I wake up to animals grazing around me.

Catedral de la Montaña in Lois, the size of the church quite huge in comparison to the village.

Then the sun went down behind the mountains in the West, the sky assumed a darker hue. After dinner (soup with pasta and serrano ham), I saw and looked across to the other side of the valley. I could see the lights being lit in a small village high up, thought it was Remolina that the trail passes by tomorrow. Around me, I could hear deer barking out their mating calls in the dark. When the landscape in the end vanished in the darkness, I crept into the tent and after a wonderful day in the Picos de Europe greeted the night welcome.

Collado del Pando. In the evening, looking over to Remolina and the pass I will climb over tomorrow, Collado de Mostagerosa (Tejerina).

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