Climbing the Lakes of Covadonga has merit, especially if done by bicycle. They are 12 sinuous kilometers from the basilica that gives them their name. Kilometers enormously suggestive, with stretches for vertigo and slopes that want to be vertical. At 800 altitude meters there is an 12 percent drop. A little further, 100 meters above, we will stop the engine of our car (the bicycle only is for tanned athletes) in the so-called Mirador de la Reina.
We felt like real monarchs for a while, wondering how we have come so high, above the mists and low clouds, observing in detail the route of madness through which we have ascended. And so, sitting on one of the panoramic thrones of Asturias, we dreamed of being cyclists and winning one of the queen stages of La Vuelta a España. With a clear day we see the sea, and in between, and everywhere, in a vicious circle of peaks, we see mountains and more mountains, of all types and qualities, and with a dominant color: green. The Mirador de la Reina announces the arrival of the end of the stage: Los Lagos. But there is still road, and in this stretch are the biggest precipices.
Along the way we have witnessed that the alpine cattle does not understand traffic code. They are transient animals, they circulate the same for the right, for the left and also for the center of the narrow road. When they finally let us through, they seem to do us a favor, they look at us quietly, with a hint of bad milk. We observe that the steep pastures are sautéed from limestone walls that are very pleasing to the eye, as well as the wooded coquette that surrounds the shepherds' huts. Actually, our trip seems to take us to that Arcadia of simple life and pastoral mythology.
The Enol Lake
And that is more or less what we find at the top. We glimpse an infinite flock with a huge lake inserted in the landscape. The water makes the place more idyllic. It is the first lake, the Enol. It's down there, you just have to get carried away on the road. The lake is located at 1070 meters of altitude and is of glacial origin, as is the Lake and the Ercina basin. The waters of the Enol reach twenty-three meters of depth in the southern zone allowing the bath if we are in the appropriate station. During a few months the snow accumulates around. But it also melts and water can suffocate the odd high mountain heat. Cold water is its essence. It comes from the ancestral ice that covered the place, much earlier in time. He was directly in charge of digging this deep bucket between the Mosquital peak (1.268 m.), The Enol club (1.274 m.) And the Sahornín hill (1.183 m.). A glacier that descended from the mythical summit of Peña Santa at the beginning of the Quaternary -though according to the legend the lake was formed by the tears of a woman-. As a curiosity, the Enol is home to an important population of crayfish. There is not much effort to see them, the serenity of the waters is not a good hiding place. The mountains that can not be seen are cloned now in their own reflection, and with a clear day, everything becomes doubly blue and green. In the middle, splashing the view, some solar flare that seems to come out of the cliffs.
The Ercina Lake
We continue on the way Ercina, a little higher, two kilometers away. We climb up to the 1108 meters of altitude. The lake, smaller than the first, is less impounded and the mountains are more directly visible. The water gives way to the summits of the Cornión. On its banks grows aquatic vegetation that feeds a whole bird community, with species such as the coot, bluebirds and teals. Its depth does not exceed two meters.
In the vicinity of the Lakes of Covadonga you can see skies with abundant birds, especially corvids and raptors. It is also difficult to see eagles and Egyptian vultures.
Many lakes can be started from the lakes routes through the Picos de Europa, approach the forests of ash and beech, meadows, flocks. Or, for the more adventurous, routes that go to any of the nearby refuges, to be able to start excursions to the high mountain from there. Among the paths to highlight are those that lead to Vega Redonda and the Ordiales Viewpoint from Lake Enol, and of Vega de Ario from the Ercina. We can also climb to affordable summits in the central massif of the Picos de Europa, such as the famous Jultayu, from which we can see the diminution of the path of the Cares route well below our position.
Say finally that Los Lagos keep the secret and the silent life of the shepherds but also their manifestations of joy. In summer (the 25 of July) are the scene of the Pastor's Feast, festive emblem of this community of the Arcadia that we hoped to find. From these lands and their culture we will doubly enjoy that day. If the sun shines, better than better.
Photo report of Go with meText: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestBefore going up it is good to look at the weather conditions in the area. We are in a mountain area with a certain altitude and we can be surprised by the fog, the rain, even a storm.
If we are ready to do some route in the vicinity, it is advisable to bring a raincoat, warm clothes and comfortable shoes, preferably mountain boots; food and water.