July 5, 2018
On our last day we decided to go up with the Fuente De cable car again. One reason was that it predicted to be quite hot today, and we hoped to find some cooler weather higher up. We took our time for breakfast and so it was almost midday when we reached the cable car. The queue was not very long, and we went up into the third car. The cable car wisks you up in just 4 minutes. It was a lot busier than the week before, I think that for some areas of Spain the holiday have started already.
We set of for the walk 23, a linear walk that goes on to the balcony of the mountain range. We saw some Egyptian vutures who have their nests on the rocks you see when starting your walk. The walk first runs together with walk 24 and 22. At the first divide you have to take a left. Walk 23 is linear, so you have to come back the same way. It is quite flat for the first part but then climbs up quite steeply. You can climb up further to the top of Horcados Rojos taking a steep rocky trail.
After the divide you pass two beautiful lakes on your left. Their colors are a wonderful blue and green. From the lakes a small waterfall comes down into the valley. We saw some chamois buck on the snow fields on the left of the road. We decided to try to get closer for some pictures. We walked down into the valley and tried to get as close to them as possible without scaring them away.
They still had their winter fur, which was coming of. The next hour we spend looking at the great animals from up close. They saw us but did not seemed easely scared by human presence, and we tried to be as unintruding as possible. After this great encounter we walked back up to the road, after a small stop at the lakes for some pictures. We continued a bit on the walk 23, but decided that it was far too hot to continue this time.
We turned back and had a small snack at the cafeteria next to the cable car. The food is alright. They serve sandwiches, salads and pizza’s. We took the cable car back down and were happy with this great last walk in Picos. We returned to the hotel and enjoyed some time by the swimming pool.
This year in 2019 we returned to Picos de Europa and decided to try walk 23 again. We came a few weeks earlier at the end of May. So a large part of this walk was still covered with snow. It was already quite warm though, and on the way back the snow was quite slushy. Be sure to take walking sticks if you walk in the snow. You can check if there are holes in or under the snow, and it gives you extra support while walking. Once you have passed the lakes on the left, the trail goes uphill for the most part. Some parts of the path are quite steep, and you have to climb quite carefully in the snow. Good waterproof walking boots are a must, and a good sunscreen as well, with the sun reflecting on the white snow. We walked all the way up to Refugio Cabana Veronica, a very small refuge where just a few people can find a sleeping place inside the hut which is nothing more than a small silver camper, which is in fact a recycled part of an American aircraft carrier. If you bring a tent, you can sleep outside. You can buy drinks at the refuge.
From the refuge you can walk all the way up to the top of the Horcados Rojos, but it was already 2 PM, and our walk up had taken a bit over three hours, and we did not want to miss the last cable car back down. But we were very happy with our walk up to the refuge. The way down is a lot quicker, than the way up though.