This is the fourth out of nine confluences that I visited during a 3-day trip to Spain. The story starts from 41°N 4°W
. Coming from 41°N 6°W
this was my fourth confluence visit that day. While I experienced sunrise at 41°N 4°W, I witnessed sunset at this confluence point.
I left 41°N 6°W near Salamanca at 15:19 (Portuguese Time) and thought I would have lots of time to reach this last confluence point. At the beginning, things went well - as long as I stayed on country road CL–517 (up to Lumbrales, 15 km beeline, 16:00). But then I had to follow a curvy road that snaked down to the valley of Rio Douro, where I crossed the border into Portugal. On the Portuguese side there is no direct road towards the confluence. I would have had to deviate far south to Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo and then come back north in order to approach the confluence from the western side. But this would have taken extremely long and I suddenly wasn’t sure at all whether I could reach the point before nightfall. However, I wanted to give it a try and began to follow National Road N221 southwards.
But suddenly, at a beeline distance of 5 km, I noticed a dirt track pointing towards the confluence. Without any consideration, I left the highway and followed the track. Note that this area is extremely mountainous and unpopulated (besides some scattered ranches). It is the area of the International Douro Natural Park that was established in order to protect the scenic landscape of the region.
What followed was a crazy drive across steep and tiny dirt tracks that I would hesitate to take with my own car (I had a rental car). At some unsigned intersections I had multiple choices which road to follow. But in a mountainous region like this, a direction of a road changes quickly. Oftentimes I ended up at abandoned farm houses. Soon I had the feeling that I was ending up in an impasse. Time was inevitably running and I was advancing slowly.
Finally, at 17:47 p.m. I parked the car at a distance of 1.3 km and decided to start running. Well, in a mountainous area a kilometer can be a lot! I tried to do it the smart way by following the contour lines. It turned out that there are several animal paths that followed almost optimally the contours. At a distance of 600 m I had a nice view and I passed by an abandoned house. However, I had to traverse a deep canyon and climb some steep slopes and carry out a bushwhack before I finally reached the steep face with the confluence on it. I reached the point right at sunset, giving me not much time to enjoy the great views over the park. Several hills are directly visible from the confluence. I quickly carried out the documentation and with the fading daylight I ran back to the vehicle.
Since it was almost dark already, I decided to camp directly were I was. It was a clear, but cold night in the tent.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 2-3 km
- Distance to a track: < 1 km
- Distance of parking the car: 1350 m
- Distance to houses: 200 m
- Time starting the hike: 17:47 p.m.
- Time at the CP: 18:21 p.m.
- Measured height: 326 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- Vegetation: various types of bushes, grass and dried flowers, thistles.
- Topography: mountains, on a steep slope facing down to the west
- Time back from hike: 18:50 p.m.
- Weather: clear, 17° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: Situated in North Eastern Portugal in the district of Guarda. Beautiful and remotely in the mountains.
- Given Name: The Hasty Portuguese Confluence
Story continues at 42°N 7°W.