Picos da Europa expedition 2015: day 4


This post is part of a series that briefly describe an inspiring expedition to Picos da Europa, Spain, during the Spring of 2015. The complete series follows:


 

 

After an easy day with a wake up scheduled for 8:00, today was our last chance to make the sunrise at the Covadonga lakes. Thus, an early waky, waky 🙂

 

5:00 wake up is becoming less and less hard, although the lack of enough sleep hours is staring to make a dent. An ugly headache is not my idea of a good start, but hey… Paracetamol exists for a reason. In order for the pill to have some company, I threw in a breakfast bar and a small pack of juice. This actually did the trick. Some cold water splashed on my face, grabbed the gear and off we go up the mountain. The road was covered with the usual clouds and the excitement arose as we drove up. Will it be today?

Covadonga skyline

Covadonga skyline

6:00 Covadonga lakes. We went for the Ercina first. We already had a decent first light at Enol on the first day. I was an excellent decision. I kept my initial approach: while the light was too shallow, I stayed with the D700, only grabbing the Mamiya when the sun was already higher. I took a couple of initial shots from the easy viewpoints, but soon enough I broke away in search of different views. That search took me first to a southern hill, about 100 m above the lake itself. there I could feel that I wasn’t really accustomed with altitude. Oxygen depravation really hits you whenever you try to climb a hill.

 

Ersina lake reflections

Ercina lake reflections

From there, I descended thrown spiny bushes, towards the West side of the lake. I could feel the spines going through my trousers and penetrate the flesh on my legs. But I wanted to get there and the bushes were in the way. Not going was simply out of the question. The images I would make were popping in my head at incredible speed and the adrenalin of the moment just made me oblivious to the pain being inflicted. I started to capture some images with the spectacular reflections, but I couldn’t reach the viewpoints I felt were the best.

Ercina lake reflections

Ercina lake reflections

That lovely tree in the middle of the floating plants needs to be captured from the other side… the one with water of course. To hell with it. I didn’t come this far to get away with some good enough images. I want the best possible images. And with that thought in mind and an extra dose of caution, I walked the swamp to the desired viewpoint, with mud and water up to my upper knees.

There we go. After an initial shock of the water filling the shoes and the respective cold setting in, I didn’t feel all that bad. The water temperature was actually a bit higher than the air, so after a while it felt warm: kind of…

Single tree at Ercina lake

Single tree at Ercina lake

Note to self: next time pack fishing boots! HIGH ONES!

I took some more time to cover the lake till the far end. Grabbed a couple more interesting images and headed back to the car park.

Greenland??

Greenland??

With some time left, I still managed to walk to the other side of the hill, right to the Enol lake and also capture some images from above. This is the panoramic kingdom. Captured some series and they came out not that bad.

 

View from above - Enol

View from above – Enol

From there, I took it down to the south Enol lake shore, where trees, rock formations and nice still water offered me the remaining images of the morning. Event today as I write these lines, almost 2 months away from the event, I can recall those moments.

Enol lake

Enol lake

It was now time to leave the lake and head back to the hotel for breakfast and pack.

 

10:30 Breakfast an packing. By the time I got back, I was still soaking wet from my knees down. But, first things first: lets grab breakfast 🙂 After a fulfilling meal, time for a shower and clean set of clothes, packing and getting ready for the journey to the next destination: Potes.

 

12:00 Drive to Potes. More of those lovely mountain roads. In some places the road is excavated in the mountain wall, others, the road is suspended in some sort of bridge that follows the wall, as if we were driving in a shelve.

 

13:30 Potes. Potes is a lovely small town with a big history, historic buildings and busy streets. I had a lot of fun with the Mamiya in a small street photography session while waiting for the table at the restaurant. It is an intriguing little beast. People tend to look into the lens out of pure curiosity.

We had a nice lunch (in the Asturias the really know how to eat)…

 

15:30 Leave to Fuente Dé. After some recuerdos shopping, we headed to Fuente Dé. There we were taking the lift up to the mountain, where the hotel where we were sleeping the next night was located. It was about 20 km away, so we didn’t had the time to get sleepy after the magnificent lunch. Its time to take all the gear out of the cars and a clean set of underwear for the next day. Good enough!

Smoking top?

Smoking top? Composition of 5 images

17:00 The lift. This was an amazing experience. The lift climbs almost 800 meters and as it goes up, I keep firing the Mamiya. It is fascinating. The size of the wall we are climbing only becomes real, as you are about half the way up and you look down to the houses bellow. I’ve never been close to something of a sort. A few minutes later and we were at the top of the mountain, this time with temperatures closer to 0ºC, which most of us weren’t expecting. We now had the chance to hike or take a 4×4 to the hotel. I opted for the hike, full geared, and I was right to do it. I grabbed the Mamiya, mounted it on the tripod and carried the D700 for some occasional snapshots and light metering. Perfect choice. This is the realm for this camera. I felt like a kid in a candy store, feeling amazed and then snapping out of it to focus on another capture.

Mamiya dazling viewport

Mamiya dazling viewport

Luis, our guide and friend did a magnificent job, not disclosing where the hotel was, or the details of the trail. This way, every few meters we had something lovely to see, to photograph, do stare. The best of it was the turn where all the inner valley was presented to us, with a fabulous gold light bringing the contrast of the green grass and the deep blue sky to never seen levels.

Hiking to the hotel

Hiking to the hotel

Bellow we could see the wild horses and cows eating peacefully, raising their heads from time to time surprised by the movement of such strange creatures. One beautiful white horse caught my attention. I somehow felt attracted to this creature. Took a deep breath, relaxed and slowly, one step at a time, got closer while capturing images. Surprisingly the horse mirrored my steps and got closer to me, until we were so close I could extend my hand and touched it. I couldn’t believe this was happening. This beautiful animal is completely unafraid and curious, which combined usually have bad results for the animals in the presence of humans. What a ride!

Wild horses

Wild horses

We are now a stone throw away from the hotel and it takes only 10 minutes to get there and take a seat at the door. We are high up in the mountain again, effort is again hard.

 

18:30 Sunset session. We got to our rooms, unpacked only the necessary stuff and of we went for the sunset session. Not much of adventure here, we stood on the crest of the mountain where the hotel stood and captured the nice colors until the fog got in. It was now getting dark and most of us opted to go back to the rooms, rest a bit in the lounge until we got up to the restaurant and had dinner. Another Spanish menu with first dish, second dish, desert. If I stood here much longer I could roll down the mountain, instead of walking…

Sunset

Sunset

 

Sunset

Sunset

After dinner, I went to bed. The next day we had the return back to Lisbon and almost 900 Km of road ahead. Not before sunrise session of course 🙂

 

 


This post is part of a series that briefly describe an inspiring expedition to Picos da Europa, Spain, during the Spring of 2015. The complete series follows:

9 months ago, I was challenged by Foto-Nature for a photographic expedition to Picos da Europa National park (PENP) in
Planning is at least 50% of the fun. Being a planning freak adds to the joy. Trying to think in
The screening process of what to take, at least for me is a hard one. I don't want to take
Still decisions, Thanks to fabulous contributions and messages in my facebook page, the topic around what equipment to take is
Packing: DONE! this is a late entry in the post series as I was working on the packing till late
No news 🙂 Full days with a lot going on not just around the trip.
A post that considers bot the T-4 and T-3 days. Yesterday, a day mostly dedicated to the family, with a
Getting soooo close I can almost smell it 🙂 (as in the cold air in the high mountains) with hours
As I start writing this new set of posts, less than 24 hours have gone by since arriving from the
The morning started early: after 3 hours of deep and fast sleep, the alarm clock went of at 5:00. And

 

 

Translate »