Monday, November 19, 2007

Cantabria by bike - route 9 - Alsa

Last sunday I decided to do the route number 9 from Cantabria by bike (http://www.cantabriaenbici.com/) which starts and ends at Bárcena de Pié de Concha. I did it with a sligth variation so I put here a kmz file to see it in google earth: bárcena-alsa-peakJano kmz google earth.

I took the train that leaves Santander at 8:18 and in an hour or so I was in Bárcena. This time I made sure I was not going to commit the same mistakes as in my previous BTT route.

For example:

  1. I put a lot of points in my GPS so I didn't get lost easily
  2. I put my GPS on the handlebars with a bit of McGiver's style (hehe)
  3. I took a bottle of 1,5 litres of water (next time I'll took 2 litres)
  4. My bike's wheels were in good condition (I bought a Michelin tube)

The route was very hard compared to the last one. I did 43 Kilometers starting at9:30 and finishing at 17:30 (be careful with the duration of the routes on the website, those are for trained people!!). I made a slitght variation of the route at the end were I decided to, first, climb the peak Jano and then I used another path to go back to Bárcena that I learned in a previous route.

The first part of the route was very tough for my legs, always uphill, ugh!! There was a funny story though (well, NOW is funny). I was riding my bike and suddenly I heard a dog barking at me and running towards me. Maybe it was just a German shepherd but at the moment it was like a mixture of a Doberman and Godzilla!! I started to run faster and faster while I saw how the damn dog managed to get through a fence. It wasn't going to stop until it bit me!! So there I was, escaping from the dog when suddenly, like in the movies, I saw a stream in the middle of the path. Oh my god! On one hand, I wanted to stop cause the stream was depth and I thought I would fall down, but on the other hand I had the dog's jaw 3 seconds behind me!! Finally, I went through the damn "river" like a WARRIOR!! knife in mouth!! the dog stayed there (coward!! XD). Of course, I have no pictures to illustrate the story :D

I'd like to invent a gadget that could do the following :)


The rest of the path in the forest was quiet and nice.

When I got to the hill of Paguenzo I decided to rest and eat something. Then, after some more slopes I started to go down (at last!). The way down was a real pleasure but very short, because in no time I was going up again to the village of Santa María de Aguallo. It was hard going up that road after so many kilometers but once you get there you have a beautiful way down until you get to the Alsa reservoir (hey, the one in the picture is not tintin, it's me!!).

From the Alsa reservoir there was still a long long long eternal road to the dam of mediajo frío that I had to do on foot because all my energies were gone. I had to rest and eat very often.. I didn't have too much water left in the bottle.. It was going to get dark... but... I went up and up like a WARRIOR until I reached the peak!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHHH!!!!

I was thinking that the rest of the route was going to be a piece of cake when I started going down the mountain to discover that I was going toooooooooo fast!!! Oh my god, I had to press my brakes HARD all the way down and my hands were really painful. The path wasn't easy at all, lots of stones that I had to avoid at a great speed and I was screaming and shouting "I'm gonna dieee!!" haha!

Eventually I got to Bárcena alive and just in time to take the train back to Santander at 17:50. Uf!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ganekogorta - second time

In a previous post I described a route from Bilbao to Llodio passing through the mountain Ganekogorta. As I said on that occasion, the "Ganeko" is a very popular hill near Bilbao, where its residents go for a walk very often, especially on weekends.


This weekend I decided to go there with a new friend, called Talia, who also likes hiking and lives in a nearby town, Getxo. We did the classical route that starts at San Adrián and goes to the Ganeko through another hill, called Pagasarri (although I tend to spell it as Pasagarri haha). I put here a link of the kmz file of the route to see it on google earth: google earth gps route

We had the luck of having a great weather with a beautiful blue sky above, that really made our day. The walk was very nice and relaxing, watching sheeps eating grass, cows, hikers here and there.

It is always surprising to find a place so close to an industrial city, where you can have such good views of mountains and nature as here. In the picture above, we can see the beautiful shape of the Ganekogorta.


On the top of the Ganeko, there was this beautiful "oasis" (see the picture above) where we decided to lie down, eat some chocolat, get tanned (ha!) and relax.

Hemen, hemen zu ta ni bakarrik... bakarrik munduan...
(here, here you and me alone... alone in the world...)
from a song in Basche language by Urko

After having lunch we went down to Bilbo! We saw some people starting the ascension and it was already getting dark!! Apa!! ('Apa', 'Aupa', 'Epa' are the keywords when you go to this route, hahaha! It means "cheer up!" and it is usually said among hikers)

Note: there are two retouched pictures in this post, can you find them? Then put a comment! :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

El escudo de Cabuérniga

There is a wonderful book called "Senderismo desde el tren por Cantabria" ("Hiking from train in Cantabria") that describes as many as 20 routes all around Cantabria using the train as the means of transport to get to the beginning of the route and go back home at the end of the route (probably in a different train stop). This is very handy for all those people (like me) who don't want to depend or use this stupid invention that we call 'car' and which is destroying the planet where we live. I have done several routes of this book but I never posted any of them because I didn't have a camera to take some pictures. Now that I own one, I decided to do one of the routes that took me to the Escudo de Cabuérniga which is a range of low mountains with beautiful views to the valley of Cabuérniga. The route starts in Treceño (from Santander take the train FEVE at 9:10 destination Oviedo) and finishes at Cabezón de la Sal.

At the beginning of the route there were a lot of farms, cows (several types including a special local race) and horses (I was surprised that I found more horses than cows!).

From the station of Treceño I took a small path that ended up in a field full of thistels and ferns. After going up a hill (with a lot of spikes!!argh!!) I was able to see in front of me my goal, the Escudo de Cabuérniga.

Soon at the foot of the Escudo started a path for those who wanted to see a very old road made of big stones on the way up to the top. Some people say it could be roman but it is not certain. This route (Cambrera de Moros) was not described in the book (maybe because it is newer) but as it went to the same place I decided to follow its indications. The stones of the road were really big and they made me easier the way up, hehe

On the ascent there was this magnific specimen of beech. I decided to take a picture of it.

Once you get to the top of the range all that is left is a relaxed stroll along the range, going up and down, through 8 km or so. While I was walking I admired the beauty of the views and I took the opportunity to play a little bit my harmonica as well, hehe :)