Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sos del Rey Católico - Pozo Pígalo

GR1 Sendero Historico day 23.
Distance: 31.5km (671.7km), time spent: 8:58.
Waymarking: Mainly good, but some gaps.
Weather: Cloudy in the beginning, then wonderful.

Gloomy clouds covered the landscape in the morning, but there were no signs of the awaited rainy weather. Sos del Rey Católico is a place that it is difficult to break away from, so I came off to a late start, but it also took some time before I got to pay for my stay. The mood on the trail turned abruptly after I left Sos, from the historical buildings a more remote area awaited me again.

View in the direction where GR1 goes from Sos del Rey Católico, Monasterio de Valentuñana visible to the left.

Situated below Sos lies Monasterio de Valentuñana, the monastery may feel like a last outpost before you leave the civilized part of the world and continues out of the history. However, the sounds from within tells a different story, it sounds like there are someone playing tennis or a similar ball game. The buildings are otherwise lying there without a sound, with closed doors. From the monastery, a dirt road winds its way further into a quiet world. The towers and some of the houses of Sos del Rey Católico can still be seen keeping an eye on you.

Monasterio de Valentuñana.

When the ruined towers of Castillo de Roita appears on top of a hill in the horizon, this silence is also broken, like the sunrays that now breaks through the clouds. Around me it is an abundance of deer, I can see heads and antlers behind and above bushes everywhere. Eyes that observes me. The air is filled with the harsh cries from the deer, coming from everywhere and nowhere. To walk between all these screams is fascinating, but also slightly eerie. Remnants of farms appears here and there.

The towers of Castillo de Roita are visible in the horizon on the way from Sos del Rey Católico.

That nothing turned out of the predicted rain, I was happy about, finding the path where the trail follows the Camino de Petilla would have been practically very difficult in bad weather and visibility. To separate the path from all the wildlife corridors going this way and that is not easy, John Hayes' guidebook is here a good help. If you find the correct way in the end, a relaxed path through the woods follows. At a time, I think I hear voices, but I cannot see anyone.

A deer peeks out from behind a bush and watches me when I passes by; it was a strange feeling walking among all the screams from the deer.

Through the trees, I have for a good time seen a tower rising up from the forest on top of a hill, Castillo de Roita. There is a signpost saying that it is 700 meters up there from the GR1, but it feels longer, the forest road winds itself the long way around and up to the castle from the other side of the hill. My backpack is hidden in the forest before I venture out on a hunt for ruins, I wonder some about the wisdom of taking the walk up. The ruins are overgrown, stones floating free around. A large tear is visible in one of the towers. The castle was rebuilt in the 11th century after being captured in the 10th century from the Moors who build the original castle. If the ruins does not impress you, the views should provide some atonement for that.

Castillo de Roita.

From the top of one hill to another, almost. Located slightly secluded you find Petilla de Aragón, but then again is the village with just 35 inhabitants situated in a tiny enclave belonging to Navarre in the midst of Aragón. Remote or not, even the smallest places in Spain has a bar (a truth with modifications), as here as well. To me, the presence offers up an opportunity of getting a proper meal (breaded ham, patatas, croquetas) before I find myself a place to camp for the night.

Inside the ruins of Castillo de Roita.

Before I am able to leave, I am asked to write a greeting or something like that about the GR1 in a book, but I do not understand one hundred percent what it is that she wants me to answer. So I write down something that later felt like a rather bland answer. They seems be satisfied anyway, when I stand next to the small Ermita de La Caridad and look over to Petilla de Aragón, I can see them standing waving and calling out goodbye to me from the other side.

Petilla de Aragón.

Afterwards, it becomes more remote and empty again. Secluded from the world. I walk over an absent pass, down alongside a plain, on a forest track underneath a blue sky. And suddenly they are standing there. Two towers that looms over the trail, guarding. Castillo de Sibirana with its twin towers. Built in the early 10th century by Sancho Garces I, also this one with traces from the Moors. Mighty they are towering above the historical path. Behind the towers lies Ermita de Santa Quiteria, or what is left of the chapel. Getting up to the ruins is not possible, unless you carry with you climbing equipment, I can see a carabiners hook attached to the cliffwall. That is, you may get up probably, but getting down safely would be worse. Funnily enough, there is a car standing next to the castle, in which a young couple is sleeping relaxed in with the doors open.

Castillo de Sibirana.

I walk to Pozo Pígalo, according to plan. A scenic area where the river forms small waterfalls between small ponds. It is a perfect place to camp, but then it is naturally of course forbidden to do so. I will still do it. The campsite next to greet me anyway with locked gates. A bumpy gravel road can lead cars up to the location. It is tempting to take a bath, but I limit myself to cool down my feet in the cold and refreshing water while the last rays from the sun still shines.

The twin towers of Castillo de Sibirana guarding over the forest road where GR1 is going on.

I will not be alone. Another couple is also about to put up a tent, they turns out to be from Sweden. A pleasant evening follows, we sit down together at one of the tables and share our food. Although, it must be said that they have more to share than I do, but then they do have come here by car. I bought two cans of beer yesterday, which I have dragged with me, it would prove to be unnecessary as they have loaded up the car with enough and are kindly treating me with more than I need.

Today, the walk went through a more remote area again, past screaming deer and watching towers from old times. A great day ended with a nice evening next to the sound of a chuckling river.

Pozo Pígalo.

<- Sos del Rey CatólicoMurillo de Gállego ->

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