Skinny dipping

Oscar is our planner. This time he has been studying the upcoming stages for a few days. After 35km we can do some shopping and/or camping after that there is 95km of nothing. We are therefore thinking of 2 stages of 65km, each with about 800 altimeters and a night of wild camping in between. It should be possible and yet we keep struggling with it a bit. Oscar has had an impending earache and a slight nasal cold for a few days.

In the evening, we agree that we can stop after 35km if we feel like it. In the morning, Oscar suddenly knows how to do it: today 35km and then the 95km in 2 stages. “Good plan dear, how does it differ from yesterday’s resolution?” “That wederdienst now”. He lit up with relief. So nice how space can be created by eliminating choices.

The day after those first 35 km and a night at a rather dull campsite, follows a hot day through a rather barren landscape. In the morning, we climb quite a bit to end up at the highest point we have reached this entire trip.

The viewpoint is at 1413m but according to Strava we climb on to 1427m.

The trek continues past another very low water reservoir. Cows are grazing at the bottom. But then, much earlier than expected, we pass a dam behind which the water is metres higher. There are two dams in this lake, allowing the water level to be better regulated.

The water is a lot higher but still lower than usual – see the lines in the shore – we understand from a campground keeper in Sena de Luna. Apparently it didn’t snow last winter and it hardly rained in spring.

Today we alsook for a place to camp in the wild, but with the barren lake on one side and a fairly steep wooded slope on the other we don’t dare to bet on it. But then we apparently reach the bottom of the valley because a bit of space arises. And there is a path to the lake. We find a beautiful clearing completely out of sight of the rest of the area.

Looking for a flat spot for the tent, we walk about 200m to the waterside. On the way there we find tracks of deer. Once down by the lake, we take a dip. It’s been a long time since we could swim so privately and the water was super nice too.

Back at our bike, we decide to read a book in the shade for an while. We have just sit down when two elderly couples come down with buckets and sticks and take the same route as we did just before. We greet them and curiously look what they are up to. When they return 1.5 hours later, they display the harvest. Half a bucket of black lobsters. They themselves find it disappointingly little. We wouldn’t have driven them away, would we?

We ask if we can spend the night here. A lot of “non/no camping” comes out, but I don’t understand much else. The tone does change after a while. Oscar hears the word “animale” and “no hombre”. Animals come here at night to drink so no light/fire is the conclusion.

You understand: we spent the dusk very quietly on our little chairs behind the tent to watch a few deer; and hear a dog barking. A dog? No that would bark continuously, this is the barking of a deer.

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