While you can climb the Picos de Europa, it’s not something you’d attempt with a five year old in tow. Instead you take the Fuenta De cable car up to the summit where you can enjoy spectacular views as soon as you arrive. As you’d expect it’s a popular spot so we found ourselves heading off the beaten track the following day. Pico Jano (1,446 metres) is only accessible by foot from the village of Dobarganes. While fairly remote, the area is surrounded by magnificent scenery and it’s easily accessible by car. That’s the joy of travelling to Northern Spain by cruise ferry, we got to explore in our own car.
Dobarganes is a small village with just 31 inhabitants located on the slope of a large mountain. Having found somewhere suitable to park, we stopped and chatted to the local cows before heading up the Pico Jano footpath. It was around 35 degrees that day so we were thankful for the shade the surrounding trees brought. POD saw following a tiny path and clambering over rocks as a great adventure.
There was lots to look at along the way too including a rather fabulous stick shaped like a duck’s head, grasshoppers with red tummies and tiny blue butterflies. It was difficult to get a feel for exactly where we were while we were in the wooded area. It was nice when the track widened as it was a much easier walk than the earlier part of the trail. We took it slowly, stopping for water breaks when we needed them and taking in the surroundings.
The direct sunlight made for a harder climb but we were quickly rewarded with the most amazing views. The landscape in Green Spain really is quite spectacular and largely unspoilt too. We love places like this where it’s almost as nature intended. There was lots for POD to look at along the way too from flora and fauna to little bugs. It was her first time climbing and she did amazingly well especially in the heat.
The trail zig zagged up and up and we did start to wonder how far the summit was. We carried on through, continuing to look for interesting creatures along the way. It’s amazing how much better POD is at walking if she’s distracted! We didn’t want to wear her out too much though so the ‘POD Father’ ended up going on ahead to see how much further we had to go. While we wanted to reach the Jano peak, the winding road meant we’d probably just fall short. Given POD and her little legs had already done three hours, we decided to head back down.
We’d all had such a great time along the way, we weren’t really concentrating as we headed back down the dusty path. We just enjoyed taking in the views, chatting to the hundreds of grasshoppers and giggling about silly things. We’d only seen one person in the time we’d been walking so we’d pretty much had the mountain to ourselves. Yes we did have a first aid kit on us and yes we had phone signal but we hoped we wouldn’t have to use either!
After a while we came across a lake we didn’t remember on the way up. All of a sudden we realised we might be heading down on a different path to the route we took up. Although it was largely straight and easy to follow, the early part of the walk had been through woodland and we were still on a dirt track in the sunshine. Reality dawned we might be heading the wrong way back to the car.
But we knew we had to go down so we took a detour through the woods. Although not the path we’d taken, and extremely smelly, this led to a farm in Dobarganes. We ended up just a couple of minutes walk from the car. In actual fact, if we’d carried on along the original path we would have been in exactly the right place! It all worked out well in the end though. We had a great time and POD had climbed her very first mountain. We rewarded ourselves with a wonderful lunch in the medieval town of Potes and POD got to have a paddle in her favourite river too.