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Photographer's Note

This was my welcoming committee as I emerged out of Canal de Amuesa onto the pastures above. In case you haven't noticed, the image was taken with a wide-angle lens, so the animal in the foreground is just a few feet away. Both healthy gentlemen were very obviously bulls, not oxes... I am not particularly nervous in the presence of livestock, however, for me and maybe for many of you the Spanish bull is associated with corrida and a good dose of aggressiveness. Even in other contexts, bulls have proved to be somewhat nervous, or so I thought. Consequently, I was slightly intimidated by this beefy presence in the very proximity of the trail. But I presumed that, since I was on a relatively well marked and traveled official trail in a national park, this would not be the place where the most aggressive Spanish bulls are being accustomed to foreign tourists. They were indeed as placid as cows, and didn't have my worry. A few days later a Spanish friend explained to me that the corrida bulls receive a special treatment throughout their lives and also immediately before the event - not the most ethical treatment, as you can imagine - in order to exacerbate their aggressiveness.
Asturian Mountain Cattle or Casina, as well as sheep and goats, graze on the pastures of Picos de Europa National Park. I do not know how the national park status allows for agriculture, but the presence of small numbers of livestock is certainly not unpleasant, conveying a pleasant rustic feel to the wild landscape. This is where the famous Asturian cheese originates.
The steep hike from Rio Cares to this point follows the narrow Canal del Texu to El Castillo and then Canal de Amuesa, gaining rapidly more than 1000 m in elevation.

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Additional Photos by Roland Roesler (Roly) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 546 W: 9 N: 436] (2024)
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