Valles del Oso

I woke up to another wet morning, but at least after the rain in the night I wasn’t surfing in my sleeping bag.
I started taking my tent apart nice and early so I could hang the fly and groundsheet to dry before packing it up. I also must confess to a slightly embarrassing, painful, yet funny incident from yesterday. Colin had gone for a shower after our nice bike ride to Foz, and I thought it would be a good idea to open a nice cold bottle of red to sip on while I sat in the sun.

Well – there has been more than one problem with the cork in a few of the last bottles, and this proved to be no exception. I got the cork almost out and it broke, so I reinserted the corkscrew but instead of catching the cork it just pushed it down to the bottom of the neck. So I thought ok – I’ll just push it right in and it’ll be alright, so I grabbed the wooden spoon and used the handle to push the cork down. Except perhaps I pushed harder than needed, or it was almost free, because the cork shot quickly down while the wine shot quickly up.

Not only did it splash all over my favourite turquoise shirt it also got in my eyes, especially the right one. It stung so bad I couldn’t believe it – I cried and cried and I guess my tears flushed it out as I didn’t go blind and the pain did subside.

By the time Colin returned from his shower I had changed my shirt and cleaned up the counter, as well as the cutlery drawer that had been open. As I recounted to him what I had happened I was laughing so hard I cried again, but laughing tears are so much nicer than pain tears!

Anyway, I was able to pack up my tent stuff that was pretty dry and we were on our way by about 10:30. I’m sad to be leaving San Rafael campground as it’s been really lovely here.

We stopped in Ribadeo for some groceries, then continued on east before turning south to go past Oviedo, then onwards to the ‘Valley of the Bears’. This is the valley we came down last week that has the beautiful walking/cycling trail that we’d both thought would be wonderful to ride on.
We stopped at a cafe near the bottom of the trail to ask about having our bikes and Mo’s chariot hauled up so we could ride down but we were told no, unless we also rented the equipment from them.

We then drove to near the top of the trail to the town of Entrago and were told the same thing at a different company – we think it’s an insurance issue. We walked down to a small cafe/bar and had a drink and decided to drive back down and find a nice place to stop for the night, then ride up as far as we felt the next day.
At the bar there was a female boxer dog that was quite friendly, although she had tumours or growths of some kind on her back and legs. Mo didn’t mind her, however, which is a bit unusual as she normally doesn’t care for other female dogs.

We drove back down about 13 km to just past the town of Proaza, where we found a nice large parking area right next to a park, and more importantly there was access to the trail. After settling in we had a nice early night.
The next morning was a bit overcast and somewhat chilly, but there was no rain forecast so we headed out on the bikes before noon. After proceeding less than 1 km along the trail we came upon a very large group of walkers, mostly older folks. They were totally blocking the path, although when I rang my bell repeatedly they happily made way for us to pass.
As we made our way by we saw why they’d stopped – one of the bears the trail is now famous for was just on the other side of the fence right above the trail. A little further on I saw the second bear on the other side of the road, also behind a nice high fence.
Since I’d stopped more than once to take photos Colin had gotten ahead of me – I couldn’t believe how long it took me to catch up. The trail is in pretty good condition in parts, but some stretches are very rough and full of potholes and ruts, especially in the tunnels.

We passed tons of folks, both walkers and riders, mostly coming down towards us. Just after exiting one tunnel I saw a small crowd of people gathered – they were watching some mountain climbers going up the cliff.
A little further on I stopped and asked a lady and her daughter how far it was to Entrago, and while the lady didn’t speak english the girl did. She told me it was another 2 or 3 km, and she was right. The trail does go gradually up the whole way, and although I didn’t notice it so much Colin sure did, having to pull Mo in her chariot.
We sat down at the same cafe we’d been at the night before and had a really nice lunch. Colin had chips and egg while I went for the chicken breast with chips – both were excellent, and the boxer got a fair amount of my chicken as it was a huge portion.

The ride back down was considerably easier than the ride up had been – much of the way I hardly needed to pedal. As it had been a fairly tiring day we decided to stay another night in the nice parking area and head out in the morning.

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