Crossing Spain on Foot: 1,000 Miles of Epic Terrain
Spain was the second country of the 2PVA adventure and had many surprises for us. For two months we hiked 1,500 kilometers, crossed eight of the 17 autonomous communities of the country, and discovered unforgettable landscapes.
The second highest country of Europe
We have discovered that Spain is the second-highest country in Europe, behind Switzerland. We did not really expect it but it was quickly confirmed by the presence of all these mountains that we did not suspect.
2018 endless winter
The bad surprise of the months of April and May 2018 would be the weather, or rather this interminable winter that we crossed. We found ourselves in the middle of April with snow right up to the waist in the center of Spain at less than 1,800 meters high.
Spring was late
The Valle del Jerte in the province of Cáceres is famous for those innumerable cherry trees that bloom at the same time. This year, they bloomed a little later than usual, missed for us for this time.
Too much snow in April
With all this snow, we had to adapt our route, especially in the beautiful Sierra de Gredos. Without our snowshoes, we could not climb more than 1,500 high meters without danger.
Nevertheless, we tried to climb to see the Laguna del Barco but the end of the climb was too difficult. Thanks to the drone, we could see that the lake was covered with snow, too.
In the natural reserve of the Valle de Iruelas, we came across dozens of vultures. A superb encounter.
Our last night in the snow
The Sierra de Guadarrama is the most recent national park of Spain; it was created in 2013. Again the crossing was difficult because of the snow. We spent the night in the Navalcollado refuge: four walls, a roof, and dry wood to make fire. What else?
After that, we came down from the mountain and did not go back until the French border in the Pyrenees.
The El Atazar lake is the largest artificial water reservoir in the community of Madrid. We camped close to the lake, a bit high, and the view at sunset was sumptuous. These small rewards give all their flavor to long and difficult days.
Fields, fields, fields
Arriving in the province of Soria, the least populated of Europe, the change was radical. Fields, without relief, as far as the eye can see.
Thank you for your vote
For each country, we propose a vote between two sections of itinerary on our Facebook page. If the Sierra de Alcarama and del Rio Alhama left us indifferent during the first kilometers, by heading farther into the hills, we discovered an extremely wild place where we did not meet anybody.
Crossing the largest European desert on foot
The desert of Bardenas Reales is the largest in Europe; it is also known because many films have been shot there. We put a lot of hopes in this place and were clearly not disappointed. At the end of April, after being very cold a few days earlier, we suffered from the suffocating heat of the desert and the lack of shade and water. But it’s no regrets as the scenery was breathtaking. We tell you more in the logbook that we shot there.
Going up toward the feet of the Pyrenees, we found ourselves in a place well known by climbers: the Mallos de Riglos. This place, surrounded by legends and other witch stories typical of Aragon, seems indeed full of history. Columns of rocks and pebbles amalgamated by sand and earth, all of ocher and red, form an imposing wall.
The Sierra de Guarra
We had been recommended to cross the Sierra de Guarra, and it was indeed a very nice idea. We loved the snow-capped peaks and the crystalline blue rivers streaked with limestone rock.
The Breathtaking Canyon of Congost de Mont Rebei
How to hike in the region without returning to the Congost de Mont Rebei? This canyon that marks the border between Aragon and Catalonia is sumptuous. The path is cut in the rock of this fault between two mountains, in the middle, turquoise water snakes…
Last Peak Before France: The Pedraforca
The last major point of our crossing of Spain was our tour of Pedraforca. With its 2,500 meters of altitude and its unique shape, the Pedraforca is one of the most famous mountains of Catalonia. At the end of May there was still too much snow for us to consider climbing but the surroundings were sumptuous.
Marie and Nil – 2PVA
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