RideEatCamp

Los Picos de Europa

Europe

Over the past few days we didn’t make it far because the cold I had broke through Carrie’s defenses. As a result, we didn’t budge from our hotel room in Potes all day yesterday to allow Carrie to recuperate.

As we climbed to the Puerto de San Glorio we had great views of the mountains east of the Picos.
As we climbed to the Puerto de San Glorio we had great views of the mountains east of the Picos.

We had uninterrupted views of the Picos as we descended from Puerto de Pondetrava.
We had uninterrupted views of the Picos as we descended from Puerto de Pondetrava.

We’ve been charting a course for the Picos de Europa ever since we learned about them while near the end of our time in France. The Picos mountain range isn’t very tall, nor is it very large, but it makes up for its humble size by standing out from the crowd. Out of nowhere a jagged wall of limestone peaks juts up the forested rolling terrain around it.

As we approached the Picos from the coast on Tuesday, we had the pleasure of riding up a narrow gorge. The grade was mild and there was little traffic, so we could focus our attention on the pockmarked cliffs above us. We were on the lookout for wolves, bears, big horn sheep, and eagles, all of which live in the Picos, but none of which did we espy.

A rewarding climb

We stayed two nights in Potes and then this morning continued our loop around the Picos. From Potes we climbed steadily for about 30km. The grade wasn’t steep but the distance wore down our legs. Carrie was a real soldier. Still recovering from her cold she kept a strong pace the whole way up.

At the top of the climb we were rewarded with great views of the Picos. They really are a treat to admire. We continued to admire them as we descended to Portilla de la Reina and then climbed to another pass before descending once more to our campsite in Santa Marina de ValdeĆ³n.

Today was one of those days that reminded me why bicycle touring is such a great way to travel. We got some exercise, spent a day outdoors in fine weather, and admired the beauty and variety of the local landscape.