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Photographer's Note

Refugio Jou de los Cabrones, officially called Refugio José Ramón Lueje en el Jou de los Cabrones, is situated at an altitude of 2030 m in the central massif of Picos de Europa. It can sleep 20 people in a communal bedroom and over the summer it is permanently staffed by Sergio González Bada, who is an excellent host.
In the background are the limestone spires of Picos de los Cabrones, rising to an altitude of 2553 m.
I arrived here somewhat tired, after gaining 1756 m elevation on a steep but solid trail starting in Poncebos. It was a Saturday and the place was fully booked. I hadn't followed the recommendations of the travel guide and didn't have a reservation, so Sergio offered me a tent. A while later it turned out that not all announced guests had arrived and I was able to sleep inside after all.
All hut guests were Spanish, testimony to the fact that Picos de Europa are still little known abroad. My knowledge of Spanish is very poor, and the other guests were only marginally better in English, so communication was somewhat of a challenge. A freshly cooked three-course supper was available for 14 euro and this was my first contact with fabada, likely the best-known traditional Asturian meal. The table wine made communication easier and a little later some of the locals were trying to convince me that the meat in the fabada stemmed from rebecos (chamois) which were rather abundant in the area. Picos de Europa is a National Park and the rebecos are safe, but I didn't objected to the story and the locals were very obviously pleased to have fooled the credulous Canadian. After a day of effort, the heavy bean-based fabada tasted much better than it did later at lower elevations.

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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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