As I’ve probably said a quatrillion times on this website,preparation is absolutely essential in all things. The Cares Gorge is no different to any other mountain walk and should be treated as a potentially hazardous journey.
Before I get onto the list of essentials you’ll need for the 25km round trip through the Picos de Europa I want to point out that on the day we went to the Cares Gorge the first time a man went missing in the Fuente De area. Rescue crews spent three days searching and eventually found him dead.
He had apparently dehydrated while walking, passed out and fallen into a ravine. Furthermore he’d gone alone into the mountains and not informed anyone of his plans. The gorge is not a good place to source drinkable water and the man was apparently ill-prepared.
The trick with longer hikes is to get a decent balance of supplies and equipment but not pack too much weight, otherwise you’ll burn off energy and dehydrate quicker.
Here’s a list of essential items when undertaking a longer hike such as the Cares Gorge walk:
- Water – For the Cares Gorge walk you’ll need at least three litres. Cain has a spring from which you can refill but in the summer months you’ll need nearer five to six litres over the whole walk.
- Food – Cain is expensive as it’s basically a tourist trap. Pack energy bars, chocolate, raw nuts for protein and things like carrots and apples for extra carbohydrates.
- A torch/headlamp – Extremely useful on this walk as the tunnels near Cain are a little treacherous with low ceilings and slippery floors. If you leave it late to start the walk you run the risk of less light in the afternoon too.
- Spare clothes/layers – Despite the gorge staying hot for 7 months of the year it’s still advisable to pack extra layers in case anything happens and you need to wrap up. Accidents do occur and it’s best to be prepared as the gorge gets cold at night.
- First Aid Kit – Include pain killers, splints, plasters, bandages, anti-sceptic wipes, surgical alcohol, scissors and electrolytes in your first aid kit.
- A Stove – The walk is long and tea is good. Take some.
- A Pocket Knife – Not because it makes you feel hard but just in case. Could help with a splint, digging stones out of your boots or whatever.
- Mobile phone – Despite being way out in the mountains I found I was able to get signal in the most unlikely places. pack yours just in case.
- Refelctive, Bright Coloured Clothes – Make it easy for rescue workers to find you in an emergency. Yes, you might look like a dick in them but at least you’ll be a safe dick.
Finally, always tell someone where you’re going, even the staff at your campsite, fellow campers or whoever. If you go missing someone will know where to start looking.
Common sense rules in these situations. The Cares Gorge is a long and occasionally demanding walk and fatigue can set in quickly if you’re not fit. Be sensible, know your limits and make sure you prepare well.
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