It was from the summit of Peña Ten, back in 2019, that I saw Tiatordos peak (1951m) Since then, climbing it had been on my radar. After all, the trailhead at Pendones (Asturias) is only an hour’s drive from my usual base in Boca de Huérgano.
I considered it during my 2020 but, as so often happens in the area, there was bad weather north of the León-Asturias divide, and pretty sunny days south of Riaño.
Luckily, a window of clear skies and no personal commitments appeared in early July, 2022. After a quick coffee break in Riaño village, I drove all the way up to Tarna pass and down on a narrow, winding road to the small hamlet of Pendones which, luckily, has a very convenient car park for weekend warriors.
Tiatordos has been dubbed “The Perfect Mountain”. I believe that has to do with its lofty appearance, not as seen from Pendones and the Redes Natural Park, but from the Ponga area.
Still, the climb from Pendones is a steep one, with almost 1300m of vertical gain. With a loop hike in mind and in my garmin watch, I opted for a steeper climb and a more relaxed walk down. My muscles will be thankful for that – or so I thought.
I didn’t pack much water, only 1.5 liters. I had read there was a reliable fountain on the way up.
The hike went pretty much as planned – physically demanding, yet enjoyable. There was an interesting mix of forest and rocky ravines that eventually lead to the Majada del Palombar and the promised fountain, with just a trickle of water on offer. Oh well, I guess the extra weight was worth it.
Not too long after that I was at the base of the peak, on a beautiful grassy plateau with superb view. Oh and, other hikers.
Where you guys coming from? Pendones?
Wow. You must be tired.
It’s not too bad. Only we got lost in this last section of karstic rock. The gps track is not very clear.
I noticed they were wearing pants. They must be hot, I thought . Really, I hate hiking with pants, and I rarely do outside of the odd winter hike that is not a run.
We compared maps and gps tracks. They were skeptical about mine, and decided to head straight up the mountain, through the brush. Luckily, my track turned out to be correct, and I was soon on a decent trail with plenty of cairns to help navigation.
I was on the summit after almost an additional hour. The views were stunning: Picos de Europa to the East, my friends Peña Ten and Mampodre to the south and….wait a minute…what’s that big ass peak to the north? The only big mountain I know in that direction is….Peña Ubiña! So that must be the West, then.
These are the kind of thoughts that run by on a big summit with clear-sky views. You bet one is mindful up there and then.
After a little while playing with my brand new, low-cost tripod and shooting some pics, the two hikers showed up. I was surprised by how long it had taken them.
Man, this gpx track does suck
I stayed for a little while to enjoy a bite and some mountain talk. Two trail runners showed up. From the route they had taken, they appeared to know the area. I asked them about the way down following my track, and they agreed it was a good idea.
It’s a good trail, one of them said. Not too much brush.
So I left the peak, walked down to the grassy plateau, and navigated my way south, on an intermittent path that avoided the karstic crags. It was hot and I was running out of water. According to the map. there was another fountain en route – I hoped this one did have water.
The walking was pleasant, but no cruise. Turns out, there was plenty of brush, and the path was a cow road at times, with long muddy stretches and frequent cow patties peppering the trail. I checked my legs for deer ticks, as they were exposed from knees to ankles. All seemed to be OK.
I got to the fountain, which offered a steady stream of cool water to drink from. I drank to satisfaction and filled my water bag.
Refreshed, I kept walking down. After crossing a dry stream, the trail turned left and headed down to Pendones. I was blown away by the mountain views and the different shades of green. Yes, the birds were singning too. Somehow, it didn’t seem fitting to listen to a podcast amidst so much beauty.
I’m not sure Tiatordos is the perfect mountain, but hiking it did afford me the perfect day.
The perfect day…or so I thought. The morning after, after showering, I noticed small rashes on both my upper legs, and up to my waist. Oh no. I counted up to 9 deer ticks. Lucky I was in the city of León, with medical care available. I headed to the public hospital, where I was treated after over two hour’s wait, which would have been longer without K. being a pain with the nurses and admin staff.
I said 10! My boyfriend has 10 deer ticks and needs to be treated! His name is ………..!
I buried my head in my hands. Sometimes, only sometimes, I wish she’d be more discreet.
Removing 10 deer ticks was a big event for the doctor, so she asked several nurses for help, and required a large magnifying glass. The parasites were successfully removed using different tools (tweezers, differently-sized needles) and she prescribed me some antibiotic for prevention purposes.
But that was not all. Two days later, after some pool time with my son back home, I discovered another black little bugger on my butt. Eleven they had to be. The football team!
Lesson learned. I’ll look like a goof, but next time round in Asturias I’ll be wearing leggings under my shorts. And, definitely, think twice about using those off-the-beaten path cow trails.