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Arroyos with stepping stones between Tres Cantos and Colmenar Viejo

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Just read in a guidebook that there are a dozen of arroyos to be crossed between Tres Cantos and Colmenar, none of them with a bridge, some of them with steppingstones at the edge of a waterfall.
When I walked Via the la Plata, walking through El Berrocal after a couple of days with heavy rain, balancing on steppingstones over a couple of arryos that had become froading rivers is not one of my most enjoyable memories from my caminos.
Planning my camino de Madrid in early May, I wonder if someone can say something about these arroyos/rivers, might it be a problem to cross them?
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Planning my camino de Madrid in early May, I wonder if someone can say something about these arroyos/rivers, might it be a problem to cross them?
It’s not a problem, as you can walk across all the rivers. The stepping stones were too far apart for us to risk using them (none of us were good at “balance”), as there is a steep drop on one side into the very deep rushing water bit, so we ended up just walking through the knee deep water. It was freezing cold as it was March and the water was icy. We later met a guy who walked the “higher” route and he missed the interminable river crossings, but I never found out which route that was.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Thanks, Jill, so a pair of croqs to wade in will do the job.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Hi Jill
Good pic (of me lol). Looking at that pic ., the stones look awfully close don’t they? But in reality a few of them looked too spaced for me anyway to jump ..with backpack and keep balance. So pointless starting on the rocks if you realise you can’t get over all of them.
Another point to mention is ‘if you take footwear off and walk across; don’t bother drying your feet and putting socks & shoes back on. Just wear sandals or flip flops ., because the crossings continue. Once you reach the final one., about 9? You know they’ve finished. the stones on bare feet hurt - tried it bare foot on first two.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Google maps shows two different walking routes, and the one on the right may be the “higher one” you heard about. The camino is definitely the blue route on the left, because I remember that we did not cross the highway to go into Tres Cantos, but rather stayed on the west side of it.

Another option would be to take the Camino Mendocino, which starts in Guadalajara. That passes through Soto el Real and over to Colmenar. @Nuala walked it this spring, and was apparently the first foreigner to do it. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...rid-information-stages-etc.63411/#post-766684

I walked in early May and did not have to wade through knee deep water, but it just depends on snowfall and runoff in springtime.
 

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jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
This river WAS impassable – between Alcazaren and Valdestillas. One man walking his dog told me not to try and cross, as the current was very very strong. He explained to me (drawing with his stick in the sand) how to walk out to the road, go across the road bridge, then back onto a sand track to get back to the camino (a very long detour). As I thanked him heartily, and set off back the way I had come to find the track to the road, he said Wait! (I think), and indicated to me to get in his car parked nearby. He then drove me all the way around to the other side of the river.
179FloodedRiver.jpg
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
?
I walked the route in mid-April last year, and there were no issues with the arroyos. It obviously could vary from year to year depending on recent rain/snow, but they were not a factor for me. I was pretty much just following yellow arrows and I definitely took the blue route marked on the map in the post above.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
In second half of April 2018 there were 7 arroyos to cross. 3 of them without stepping stones and one stone missing in one crossing. They can be quite wide apart but at my 180cm I had no problems using them.

As far as "the higher route" goes I think I know what this is all about. In 2014 I've made a wrong turn because of overturned mojon and after approx.3-4kms I veered off to my right onto a gravel farm track that ascent through the farm and then connects with tarmaced bici path between TC and CV. Described isn't the same as the one on Laurie's map though!!!

Now I walked both so I can compare. The lower one could be a bit flooded in the spring but it is much more friendly to your soles. The higher one has beautiful vistas over CV and Guadarrama Ridge in the back OTOH.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
In second half of April 2018 there were 7 arroyos to cross. 3 of them without stepping stones and one stone missing in one crossing. They can be quite wide apart but at my 180cm I had no problems using them.
Hi @ranthr
May could be quite different in water flow. Our pics (all above from jsalt) are from mar24 2018 for stepping stones and mar30 for complete cut off before Valdestillas.


I just hope this year is kind to you and the fuenfria pass is safe to pass. We missed that section of walk. It might be something I’ll do one day if I’ve got free days in Madrid in the future.

Buen camino
Annie
 

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Davie Blisters

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
maps.me generally gives the choice of at least 3 alternative routes to avoid obstacles and a pair of crocs will also save you the extra kms. The previous villages will advise you on what to expect on the trail.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
May I remind people that if you are crossing a body of water, or are near water where there is even a remote possibility of a spill, that you unstrap your backpack; that way if you do go into the water you can easily slip off your pack. If your backpack is strapped to you and you end up in the water I hate to think of the possible consequences.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
May I remind people that if you are crossing a body of water, or are near water where there is even a remote possibility of a spill, that you unstrap your backpack; that way if you do go into the water you can easily slip off your pack. If your backpack is strapped to you and you end up in the water I hate to think of the possible consequences.
I have been told this before and have tried it once or twice, when crossing a river in Banff or Jasper National Parks, where I have tramped for the last 45 or so years. I find that to unstrap my backpack puts me off balance and is an excellent way to tip me off into the river. I suppose that it may work for some persons. To stay on my feet in high water, I use a sturdy wooden walking stick pressed into the stream bed upstream of me to help me keep my balance and I also wear my boots rather than my light running shoes. The boots help me stay on my feet when there are large and slippery rocks to be walked around/over, although it is a nuisance to have to walk in wet boots for the next couple of days. And of course I do not want to find myself without a backpack when I am a week or so's walk from the nearest road, but this is not an issue on the camino routes. I suggest that if the stepping stones may be too far apart on the camino it would be wise to wade through, upstream if there is deeper water downstream of the stepping stones. And, of course, a lengthy detour is much safer than taking any risks with high water.
I walked the Camino Madrid route in September of 2019 and it was very dry. I have no memory of stepping stones or high water after Tres Cantos, but I generally prefer autumn caminos as I have heard of serious high water on camino routes only in the spring. There was more than enough water on the Invierno in the fall. but no problems with stream crossings.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Just read in a guidebook that there are a dozen of arroyos to be crossed between Tres Cantos and Colmenar, none of them with a bridge, some of them with steppingstones at the edge of a waterfall.
When I walked Via the la Plata, walking through El Berrocal after a couple of days with heavy rain, balancing on steppingstones over a couple of arryos that had become froading rivers is not one of my most enjoyable memories from my caminos.
Planning my camino de Madrid in early May, I wonder if someone can say something about these arroyos/rivers, might it be a problem to cross them?
I did this a few years a bit risky but manageable, personally I found the route very lonely and eventually abandoned it after four days and went to Camino Frances. I would probably do this Camino with a companion.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Geez, I must have walked another Camino de Madrid as I don't remember this at all but then again it was at the beginning of June. Although come to think of it all the townspeople told me that it had been a very wet spring and that's why there were wildflowers everywhere.

Just a word about crossing arroyos which I had to do on numerous occasions when I walked the Vía de la Plata one winter: I never took off my shoes or socks, I just wadded through and in all cases within 15 minutes the water seeped back out. I guess that might not work if wearing leather boots but it worked great wearing my Goretex low walking shoes and I never got a blister.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés five times, Madrid two days, Ingles once.
On 20 April 2016 at the first arroyo crossing after leaving Trés Cantos the water was almost at the top of the "stepping" stones due to snow melt and heavy rain. It was impossible to tell the depth of the water and what the river bottom was like - cement, sand, rocky - due to the silt. And the rio was running fast. Stupidly, I tried to cross on the stones. Half-way across, the force of the water pushed me over. The water was over my head, but somehow I was able to get out - with 15 lb pack firmly strapped to my back. I was alone, I wasn't hurt, I'm alive, and I'm much wiser about a lot of things. Be careful! If you can't see the bottom of the arroyo on the upstream side, don't assume it's walkable/wade-able. Don't assume the stepping stones are secure and unbroken. Don't try it alone. ;)
Buen Camino!
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
In El Berrocal the water was over the top of the steppingstones with a steep fall on the right. Would not have come over without my poles, and I would never try it again. Was quite shaky afterwards. Now being 10 years older I guess it will be a turn around and walk back to Tres Cantos to take the train to Colmenar.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés five times, Madrid two days, Ingles once.
In my situation, the water was not over the top of the stones -- maybe 6-8 cm from the tops. However the water was rushing from my right, and I couldn't tell how steep or deep the left side was. I was using my poles. Why did I attempt to do this - I'm NOT a risk taker. I was not hurt, I didn't lose anything, everything in my pack was dry (I'd packed all in large plastic bags (forecast of rain for the day) - providing buoyancy??).
I would, again, urge people to pay attention to their surroundings, and don't risk high, rushing water! Seems elementary - but...
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
It is not elementary when you are out there alone in unknown areas, even at home I am a bit scared crossing creeks in areas not far from home when they are flowing. I was very happy to see that the unknown peregrinos ahead of me in the Parque Nationl El Berrocal in 2011 stopped to see if I managed to get through the stream. Thankful to that.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Hi @ranthr
May could be quite different in water flow. Our pics (all above from jsalt) are from mar24 2018 for stepping stones and mar30 for complete cut off before Valdestillas.


I just hope this year is kind to you and the fuenfria pass is safe to pass. We missed that section of walk. It might be something I’ll do one day if I’ve got free days in Madrid in the future.

Buen camino
Annie
the first photo is what it was like when I did this Camino, with my walking stick was able to cross safely
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Just read in a guidebook that there are a dozen of arroyos to be crossed between Tres Cantos and Colmenar, none of them with a bridge, some of them with steppingstones at the edge of a waterfall.
When I walked Via the la Plata, walking through El Berrocal after a couple of days with heavy rain, balancing on steppingstones over a couple of arryos that had become froading rivers is not one of my most enjoyable memories from my caminos.
Planning my camino de Madrid in early May, I wonder if someone can say something about these arroyos/rivers, might it be a problem to cross them?
I remember the stepping stones, and yes they were a bit apart but as I have stated in a previous reply I did I had to jump to them but nevertheless I did it and am not athletic and I was at the time 71 years old.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
May I remind people that if you are crossing a body of water, or are near water where there is even a remote possibility of a spill, that you unstrap your backpack; that way if you do go into the water you can easily slip off your pack. If your backpack is strapped to you and you end up in the water I hate to think of the possible consequences.
This is not good advice. Safety training for river crossings emphasises that backpacks provide buoyancy and should be left buckled on. Of course you need to be aware that the buoyancy is on your back and so will tend to push your head down into the water unless you keep your feet down.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
This is not good advice. Safety training for river crossings emphasises that backpacks provide buoyancy and should be left buckled on. Of course you need to be aware that the buoyancy is on your back and so will tend to push your head down into the water unless you keep your feet down.
If you have not trained to safely cross rivers while tramping then you should not enter running water that is higher than half way from your feet to your knees.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
This is not good advice. Safety training for river crossings emphasises that backpacks provide buoyancy and should be left buckled on....
Unless the backpack is tightly packed and contains close to no air to provide buoyancy. I always unbuckle for exactly that reason...
BC SY
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Those creeks between TC and CV are not really white water rivers, their beds are quite shallow so the worst that can happen to you is to get completely wet or to hit something while falling into the water. But of course if you try to wade through them immediatelly after few days of rain it can get worse. In this case the whole valley would be flooded (see the pics with the debris after the flooding in spring of 2018) and not passable. No need to worry I'd say or simply take the higher path which is equally nice although mostly on tarmac..
 

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