Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pedrosa de Valdeporres - Salazar

GR1 Sendero Historico day 9.
Distance: 25.7km (265.2km), time spent: 08:52.
Waymarking: Mostly good.
Weather: Miserable in the beginning, rainy and foggy, slight overcast later.

Today, I went to Salazar. Yet another day where the weather was miserable in the beginning, with a sad mist, bitter wind and a sulky rain in the air; but like yesterday, the weather got better later in the hike. Fortunately. For there were several highlights during this stage that it would have been a shame if had rained away, something that the plan I made yesterday did. This day also felt longer than it was.

The path up from Pedrosa de Valdeporres towards El Portillo and Canales de Dulla. El Portillo is a pass in the cliffs that leads up to the plateau below Canales de Dulla. A grey scenery.

As it turned out, I did not get any problems following the GR1 around Canales de Dulla. Even though it had rained, there was almost no water at the bottom of the canals and I could cross them without getting my feet wet. I missed out on the church-caves of Bernabé as well; I dropped walking there when I came to Villamartin de Sotoscuera. When I later stood at the top of the ravine where the trail goes down into one of the canals, the rain had almost forgotten me. I went down the canal and arrived in Quintanilla Valdebodres with no wet shoes.

On the plateau below Canales de Dulla. A cool walk, but wet, cold and miserable.

However, the walk had been cold and miserable before I came that far, and lower down at Pedrosa de Valdeporres the world was even more devoid of colour than yesterday. I ate breakfast with Milie. To go out in the unpleasant weather afterwards, was not as enjoyable. I had to pack my jacket tighter around me when I began the climb up towards Canales de Dulla. There was nothing to complain about when it comes to the climb up itself, even in the depressing weather I was enjoying myself. With small village and landscape details emerging from the mist. Below the striking mountain, I changed between feeling that it was cool walk and feeling cold and uncomfortable. The landscape was bare and open, with Dulla towering above the plain. The rain came and went as it saw fit.

El Ventanon. An arch of stone forming a window to the world below.

Duncan had yesterday told me about El Ventanon, a natural stone arch that formed a window to the valley below, hence the name. It was situated one kilometer away from the trail; I walked out to it and were not disappointed. It was almost surprising that this place was not mentioned in the guidebook. It was a really cool sight. Awesome some would say. Even when the weather did not show itself from its best side. This was one of the highlights of the day. From the GR1, it was easy to find the place, there were signposts along the trail that showed the direction to it.

On the path down in the canal on the way to Quintanilla Valdebodres, it almost looked like it was made of cobblestone.

The day improved significantly when the rain departed after Villamartin de Sotoscuera. Even the clouds did not lay so heavy across the landscape anymore. It was remarkably little water in the canals on the walk down to Quintanilla Valdebodres, was expecting more. Most of the route went on paths through charming forests. Most surprising was it that I met a small group of walkers, they could assure me that there were no problems on the way. Cascade La Mea was also recommended to me, but now there were no water in the waterfall. Where at high flow you could walk underneath the waterfall, it was now dry everywhere I went.

Inside the waterfall of Cascade La Mea, when there is high flow here, you will have water running down next to you.

Things had definitely changed. The landscape I now found myself in was distinctly different from what I started in. That also indicated that I had traversed a long way since I sat out eight days ago. And then I came to Puentedey.

I had walked all the day looking forward to Puentedey. This is a wonderful village, where parts of the village is situated on top of a natural bridge of stone, with a river running below the bridge. You can walk under the stone bridge and up into the village from the other side. There is also an abandoned railway going through the cliff the village lies on, which you can go through (the GR85 goes through there, inside the tunnel there were also a worn stagecoach). I spent a long time exploring this gem of a village. Afterwards, I sat down in one of the two bars at the place and ate a bocadillo with ham and cheese for lunch. If accommodation could be found here, I would seriously considered staying the night.

Puentedey, a gem of a village, situated on top of a natural stone bridge.

After Puentedey, the route changed character. The walk took on a noticeable more desolate feeling, despite the fact that it passes by some small villages and hamlets, Brizuela, Nela and Sobrepeña. After Nela, this feeling became even stronger. The landscape felt empty and deserted, which felt even stranger given that I went on a road. Canales de Dulla had now changed position, it was now lying on my left side with the channels as rifts down the mountainside. From a chapel on the top of small hill, the views towards the mountain was brilliant.

Canales de Dulla as seen from the east.

A messy valley followed, or rather, the path was. So messy that the waymarking, path and I disappeared into the mess, but parts of the valley was absolutely nice. I ended up on a road farther down than from where I should; it took however a short time to find myself according to the route again. And from there it was not a long walk before I arrived at Salazar. Where I draw the finishing line. It was a stupid place to draw that line; I was greeted with closed doors at the Casa Rural that I had called to enquire if they had a room for the night. I had understood the answer as yes. Not always easy when you do not know the language well enough.

Path after Sobrepeña, shortly after the path became more and more messy and I lost my way.

Meeting the other villagers were nicer. I had decided to get me down to a place with accommodation, Medina de Pomar. The day had been eventful enough, so I could not bear spending a lot of time to find a suitable campsite. So I asked a random person if she could help me getting a taxi. She helped me with more than that. As always, the greatest pleasures on these trips are the hospitality you encounter along the way. While I waited for the taxi, she gave me coffee and cake. Another village came by and talked with us as well.

Evening in Villarcayo.

The taxi driver took me to Villarcayo instead of Medina de Pomar, which is located closer to Salazar. Here I got a room at the Hotel Plati. This town may have fewer attractions than Medina de Pomar, but it had everything I needed at this point. After all, I had not that much time for sightseeing. I was content of relaxing in a bar before I went and bought some more supplies. Afterwards I went looking for a place to eat. Saturday, so it seemed as they were more occupied by drinking than eating. I found a small pizza joint. While the older ladies played cards on the table next to me, I was satisfied eating a good pizza and having some Keler beers.

As for the weather, it did not dampen my spirits regarding any of the events on this day, although I was quite cold in the first hours of the day. El Ventanon and Puentedey were the big stars today. Nine days have already passed, it feels strange, but that is how it is on these trips. The days pass by. I have been lazy regarding camping since the first days, but tomorrow there is no prayer. The tent has to be put to use, and I am looking forward to it.

For dinner, I had pizza at small local parlor, while the ladies at the table next to played cards.

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