The weather has been extraordinary in Asturias: clear skies that leave a hard frost in the morning and warm afternoons that are perfect for hiking. I’ve been walking and reading in this weather and I want to share some of the images to give you a feel of the place.
Here you can see the path in the morning sunlight. It is a cattle track laid with stone by anonymous path builders in the nineteenth-century (I guess), but the old paths are not used as much as they used to be now there are roads. There are many patches that are almost quagmire. Carmen says that I have to find mud on my walks and this is where I found the mud today!
The frost is beautiful on the leaves. When the sun passes over it takes moments for the delicate frosting to melt, but in the deep shade the frost remains all day and is thicker the next. These leaves were already defrosted by the time I returned from the woods.
I head into a valley and walk up the stream bed. I have come this way before, winding down from the top end. This time I enter at the bottom and walk up through the trees, scrambling up over roots and fallen branches, pushing through the hanging briars and ivy. There are animals around me. At one moment a twig snaps and I look up to see something disappear from view faster than I can catch it in my field of vision. The sky above is blue but the tree-covered valley is dark and mysterious.
As I climb higher the trees describe elaborate traceries against the hill and the blue sky behind. There are fox holes under some of the trees and squirrels have been busy collecting chestnuts. I don’t want to encounter a wild boar in a thicket.
A hawk has been using this branch as a feeding post. When the buzzards that quarter the valleys enter the woods they lose their elegance. I have seen a female sparrowhawk darting through the woods on the other side of the valley, but this time all I find is feathers. The trunk is thick with moss. I can stick my finger in up to the end of my fingernail.
Returning to the village is return from the wild to the comfort of houses again. Carmen’s house is the one just above the sign for Villandás here. The windows are the windows of Magnolia, her new property. You can see it here: