Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Circo de Gredos
The next day was sunny and somewhat cold, therefore perfect for the hike we had planned. Originally we had planned 2 hiking days in the Sierra de Gredos: the Circo/Laguna Grande and the 5 Lagunas hike (from Navalperal de Tormes) as well. Because of the bad weather the day before we could only do one of them, so we chose to maintain the first hike and leave the 5 Lagunas for our next trip here.
So we drove to the Plataforma again and took the marked trail. It's supposed to take about 2.5 hours to get to the Laguna Grande, and another 2.5 hours to come back. I would say that's about right because that's approximately the time we took, but plan for a bit more time if you're not used to hiking.
About an hour and a half later we got the first glimpse of the Circo, and the Laguna below ...
Halfway down there's a junction, and you can either take the path down all the way to the shores of the Laguna, or actually hike towards the 5 Lagunas from here as well. This is a different path from the one we had planned to do - it involves hiking the steep mountain in front which didn't look that easy, but it would give us the best view of the 5 lagunas. Since we had time we had actually decided to try it, but we couldn't find any easy way to cross the river without getting wet (and it had rained the day before so I guess it wasn't the best day to attempt this anyway). Definitely we'll try it next time ...
A bit frustrated we settled down for a bit and had our picnic while savouring the views. I have to say this was probably one of the best days to come here. The weather was perfect and we barely met any other hikers (although our guide book states that there are hundreds of people hiking here in the summer and the path gets really crowded, but this day it was so peaceful I found that hard to believe).
Later, we hiked down to the Laguna. It seemed so small from the top, but up close it's actually quite big. There were wild deer (or maybe mountain goats ? we saw a lot of those too) grazing on the other side so we just sat and watched.
Some practical notes: there are 2 mountain refuges on this trail, there's one about 20 minutes after the start of the trail and the other one (refugio Elola) by the shore of the Laguna Grande at the end. Also, there's one fountain along the way where you can replenish your water supply, it's called "la fuente de los Cavadores", halfway the climb up the mountain.
Being relatively close to Lisbon and with so many trails available I have to say we will definitely come back here a few more times. The setting is incredibly beautiful and the park seems to be very well maintained.
For next time: definitely this one and if I have the courage then maybe this one