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Picos de Europa, North-West Spain: Refugio Cabaņa Veronica with the Peņa Vieja mountain (2619 m).

Refugio Cabaña Veronica with the Peña Vieja mountain (2619 m) in the back ground. Trail up through the highest snow field (top left of picture). See Google Panoramio for location.

A tiny refugio at 2350 m. It is made in the shape of a silvery metal iglo and has only 4 sleeping places including the warden. For visitors, like us mostly day trippers from Fuente Dé, it serves as a local cafeteria.

The weather was poor this morning at Fuente Dé, light rain and only 10 degrees Celsius. Being in Spain in mid July at only 1000 meters altitude, this sounds unreal but the climate is much cooler in NW Spain.

We decided too take the cable car anyway to go to 1850 m saving a 800 meter walk up. At the top of the cable car station, the rain changed to dense fog and we were now in the clouds. We followed an easy path up to Refugio Cabaña Veronica and quickly walked out of the clouds around 2000 m. Here we had full sunshine and it was getting warmer, 16 degrees Celsius compared to only 10 degrees Celsius in Fuente Dé at the bottom of the cable car.

So far the day was very easy and to have some physical exercize we decided to go up the nearest highest mountain, the Peña Vieja mountain, 2619 m. Near the refugio there is a trail going up and we reached the top in only one hour, the last 140 m being a scramble on steep solid rocks and loose scree.

An old man, Crisanto, was waiting for us at the base of the last 140 m to the top. He said he did not want to go up the last 140 m to the top by himself as it was a steep scramble. He was 78 and squinting with eyes. I noticed he had trouble with his eye-sight, probably just sufficient to see the trails in the mountains but not the views. Still, he has ventured around these mountains since childhood, leaving nearby on the coast, and seemed to enjoy it. He was even leading us on the way down, through steep snow fields.

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