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Valley of Silence circle from Ponferrada or El Acebo

Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#1
@peregrina2000
I plan on walking the Invierno next fall, from camino Madrid to the Frances, through the valley of Silence from El Acebo to Ponferrada, then on the Invierno to Santiago. I look forward to it very much, in spite of challenges. It is significantly shorter, and hopefully cooler, than the VdlP, which I walked last fall. On my latest solitary walk, in August, I had a couple of very close encounters with an enormous bear; I consider an isolated camino as a walk in the park, comparatively. The relative solitude is definitely a plus for me, although I would enjoy meeting a few other solitary walkers. After being off the camino for most of a year, I have made a commitment to walk every year for as long as I am able. Thank you for helping all of us on the Way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#2
@peregrina2000
I plan on walking the Invierno next fall, from camino Madrid to the Frances, through the valley of Silence from El Acebo to Ponferrada, then on the Invierno to Santiago. I look forward to it very much, in spite of challenges. It is significantly shorter, and hopefully cooler, than the VdlP, which I walked last fall. On my latest solitary walk, in August, I had a couple of very close encounters with an enormous bear; I consider an isolated camino as a walk in the park, comparatively. The relative solitude is definitely a plus for me, although I would enjoy meeting a few other solitary walkers. After being off the camino for most of a year, I have made a commitment to walk every year for as long as I am able. Thank you for helping all of us on the Way.
A bear? A bear where?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#4
@peregrina2000
I plan on walking the Invierno next fall, from camino Madrid to the Frances, through the valley of Silence from El Acebo to Ponferrada, then on the Invierno to Santiago. I look forward to it very much, in spite of challenges. It is significantly shorter, and hopefully cooler, than the VdlP, which I walked last fall. On my latest solitary walk, in August, I had a couple of very close encounters with an enormous bear; I consider an isolated camino as a walk in the park, comparatively. The relative solitude is definitely a plus for me, although I would enjoy meeting a few other solitary walkers. After being off the camino for most of a year, I have made a commitment to walk every year for as long as I am able. Thank you for helping all of us on the Way.
I've read about the Valley of Silence before and think it was postings by Laurie as she walked it with Reb. I am intrigued because twice when I've walked the beautiful stretch before arriving in Acebo, on my left, quite far away down in a valley, I can slightly see a tiny village nestled there. It curiously seemed lost in time as I imagined it difficult to get to. Upon further research I assume it is the same beautiful village Laurie posted photos of.(?) And much to my surprise there is both a road going through and a museum, so it's not as isolated as I thought.
@Albertagirl, your combination of VofS and Invierno together is of interest to me, so hope you will be posting about your walk when your time comes!
P.S. Anyone out there know if there is good signage posted on the VoS, or do you need to depend on offline tracking to find your way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#5
Sorry, folks, for lack of clarity about the bear.
As an Albertagirl, I have posted on the forum recently that I am not going on camino this year: getting major dental work done instead. So I have stayed home to walk in the Canadian Rockies. Said bear was met twice on the Cascade Fire trail near the Eastern border of Banff National Park. I was not so disconcerted by meeting the bear, but by its totally casual attitude as it approached about twenty metres from me. But I had no intention of implying that I met the bear on camino. That would be quite a surprise, although tourist information, which I read when planning for my walk through the Somport Pass, suggested that it was possible to meet one there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#6
Sorry, folks, for lack of clarity about the bear.
As an Albertagirl, I have posted on the forum recently that I am not going on camino this year: getting major dental work done instead. So I have stayed home to walk in the Canadian Rockies. Said bear was met twice on the Cascade Fire trail near the Eastern border of Banff National Park. I was not so disconcerted by meeting the bear, but by its totally casual attitude as it approached about twenty metres from me. But I had no intention of implying that I met the bear on camino. That would be quite a surprise, although tourist information, which I read when planning for my walk through the Somport Pass, suggested that it was possible to meet one there.
Lions, and tigers, and bears oh my!

Thanks for clarification. I wish to walk VdlP and thought of bears had me shivering in me boots.
 
#7
I've read about the Valley of Silence before and think it was postings by Laurie as she walked it with Reb. I am intrigued because twice when I've walked the beautiful stretch before arriving in Acebo, on my left, quite far away down in a valley, I can slightly see a tiny village nestled there. It curiously seemed lost in time as I imagined it difficult to get to. Upon further research I assume it is the same beautiful village Laurie posted photos of.(?) And much to my surprise there is both a road going through and a museum, so it's not as isolated as I thought.
@Albertagirl, your combination of VofS and Invierno together is of interest to me, so hope you will be posting about your walk when your time comes!
P.S. Anyone out there know if there is good signage posted on the VoS, or do you need to depend on offline tracking to find your way.
I decided to take these posts out of the Invierno commentary and put them in their own thread. Maybe I should leave them in the Invierno subforum to encourage people who might be interested in an alternative warm-up to Ponferrada!

Chris, that little village you see off to the left and down from El Acebo is not on the Circle, at least not on the version of it Reb and I walked. It goes down to the Roman mine at Compludo and then starts up. Here is the post in which I describe it

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...n-splendor-from-ponferrada-or-el-acebo.27697/

I would not rely on signage for this walk, especially since there are several iterations of it. Tracks on wikiloc are good, that´s what I used, and I uploaded my own on my return

https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/ponferrada-a-el-acebo-las-puentes-de-malpaso-7544208
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/el-acebo-to-penalba-de-santiago-7544511
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/penalba-de-santiago-montes-de-valdueza-ponferrada-7544531

And the gobsmackingly beautiful little village you remember is Peñalba de Santiago. Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#8
I decided to take these posts out of the Invierno commentary and put them in their own thread. Maybe I should leave them in the Invierno subforum to encourage people who might be interested in an alternative warm-up to Ponferrada!

Chris, that little village you see off to the left and down from El Acebo is not on the Circle, at least not on the version of it Reb and I walked. It goes down to the Roman mine at Compludo and then starts up. Here is the post in which I describe it

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...n-splendor-from-ponferrada-or-el-acebo.27697/

I would not rely on signage for this walk, especially since there are several iterations of it. Tracks on wikiloc are good, that´s what I used, and I uploaded my own on my return

https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/ponferrada-a-el-acebo-las-puentes-de-malpaso-7544208
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/el-acebo-to-penalba-de-santiago-7544511
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/penalba-de-santiago-montes-de-valdueza-ponferrada-7544531

And the gobsmackingly beautiful little village you remember is Peñalba de Santiago. Buen camino, Laurie
@peregrina2000
When I last passed through El Acebo on the Frances a couple of years ago, I remember stopping at the intersection leaving the village, where an alternate route went left. It seemed to me to be better marked than the Frances, so it took me a moment to decide where I should be going. I am pretty sure that I have since read a posting on this forum about the route. It seems to me that the focus of the route through that region, as posted there, was an attempt by a local tourism authority to encourage tourism in the region. Apparently, it was not so successful. If anyone can help locate this posting, I should like to read it again. I do not use GPS, except what is available as an overlay on camino maps; I found the marked route as available for maps.me to be very helpful in waking the VdlP last fall. I would be very grateful for any further information for the walk through the Valley of Silence (I have bookmarked your walk with Reb through here, which was my initial impetus in considering this route). Thanks again for all help and encouragement. Mary Louise
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#9
I decided to take these posts out of the Invierno commentary and put them in their own thread. Maybe I should leave them in the Invierno subforum to encourage people who might be interested in an alternative warm-up to Ponferrada!

Chris, that little village you see off to the left and down from El Acebo is not on the Circle, at least not on the version of it Reb and I walked. It goes down to the Roman mine at Compludo and then starts up. Here is the post in which I describe it

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...n-splendor-from-ponferrada-or-el-acebo.27697/

I would not rely on signage for this walk, especially since there are several iterations of it. Tracks on wikiloc are good, that´s what I used, and I uploaded my own on my return

https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/ponferrada-a-el-acebo-las-puentes-de-malpaso-7544208
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/el-acebo-to-penalba-de-santiago-7544511
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/penalba-de-santiago-montes-de-valdueza-ponferrada-7544531

And the gobsmackingly beautiful little village you remember is Peñalba de Santiago. Buen camino, Laurie
Yes, Laurie, now I do remember when I researched the village, that it was Penalba! Thank you for adding clarity...as you always do!
 
#10
@peregrina2000
When I last passed through El Acebo on the Frances a couple of years ago, I remember stopping at the intersection leaving the village, where an alternate route went left. It seemed to me to be better marked than the Frances, so it took me a moment to decide where I should be going. I am pretty sure that I have since read a posting on this forum about the route. It seems to me that the focus of the route through that region, as posted there, was an attempt by a local tourism authority to encourage tourism in the region. Apparently, it was not so successful. If anyone can help locate this posting, I should like to read it again. I do not use GPS, except what is available as an overlay on camino maps; I found the marked route as available for maps.me to be very helpful in waking the VdlP last fall. I would be very grateful for any further information for the walk through the Valley of Silence (I have bookmarked your walk with Reb through here, which was my initial impetus in considering this route). Thanks again for all help and encouragement. Mary Louise
The route to Peñalba from El Acebo leaves directly in front of the B and B La Trucha (off the main street on the left coming into town before you hit the mesón and the “center”), so I am not sure which trail you saw, albergagirl. But there may be alternate ways.

http://latruchadelarcoiris.com/

I am not at my home computer right now, but I will have a look when i get back to see if I can find anything else. Those maps I photographed at the place in Peñalba (which are in that original thread) show some of the alternatives.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#11
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#12
I have walked/climbed several sections of the Mirada Circular, including the section that connects the Camino in El Acebo to Las Medullas on the Camino Invierno.
This is very challenging mountain country, the walks are long and tough, the waymarking is minimal, services are often few and far between. These are trails for experienced mountaineers with tents, maps, and orienteering skills... I thought I was one of those, but this series of trails took me to my limits!
It is spectacular country, Spain at her finest and most pure.
That said, the bit from El Acebo to Penalba is delightfully do-able for a Camino trekker who is in good form and has useable Spanish language skills. It is not well marked, you MUST prepare yourself with good directions/and or a map, and water and food in your pack. Depending on the tourism season, you will want to reserve in advance a place in Penalba for the night, as it's heavily touristed in season, and rather scant (sometimes downright gruff) off-season.... it is also very high-altitude. Do not try this early or late in the year. Laurie and I walked this in June, during cherry season, and it was idyllic, truly unforgettable!
We walked back down to Ponferrada the following day, on a trail blazed by traders and monks, through the woods and along a river. Tough going, a wonderful break from the Camino racket. Recommended for those who can handle steep ups and downs, and Deep-Spain conditions.

For the stout of heart: I walked on from Penalba to Las Medullas on the Mirada Circular on my own way back in 2010, before the waymarking was firmed-up. That was the toughest day of camino hiking I have ever done in my life as a pilgrim.
It is also one of the most splendid. It is 32 kilometers of mountain, and I should never have tried it on my own. I left at sunup, and made it to Las Medullas as the sun set. It was May, when the days are long, and I am a good, fast walker. (unless you're comparing me to Laurie!)
You get the picture.
Laurie wants to walk this with me again, but I am 8 years older and I'm not sure I am up to it any more.
I love this trail. It is the perfect dovetail onto the Camino Invierno, which opened itself to me from there on in 2010.
>>> But I don't hesitate to warn people that any tramo of the Mirada Circular is NOT to be taken lightly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#13
Maybe @Albertagirl saw this sign in El Acebo:

View attachment 47355

I took it in 2014 but it was placed exactly where Laurie explained. Just to add that it wasn't visible when I came on the Camino down the street but only if going back/up.

Two videos and official web site for this on Google search link:
https://www.google.si/search?source...19k1j0i22i30k1j33i160k1j33i21k1.0.Ayh8N29Od14
@KinkyOne
It may well have been a sign directing to the Mirada Circular which I saw when I was leaving El Acebo in 2016, but whatever I saw was as I was leaving the town along the Frances and not on the way in. Thank you very much for the links, which offer massive amounts of information on this route, to add to the posting by peregrina2000 and Rebekah. This is a first exploration of a possible route for me, so I shall not be risking anything until I know where I am going and where I shall be staying. It looks like a wonderful way to move towards the Invierno on a more solitary route. Thanks again for the information.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#14
I have walked/climbed several sections of the Mirada Circular, including the section that connects the Camino in El Acebo to Las Medullas on the Camino Invierno.
This is very challenging mountain country, the walks are long and tough, the waymarking is minimal, services are often few and far between. These are trails for experienced mountaineers with tents, maps, and orienteering skills... I thought I was one of those, but this series of trails took me to my limits!
It is spectacular country, Spain at her finest and most pure.
That said, the bit from El Acebo to Penalba is delightfully do-able for a Camino trekker who is in good form and has useable Spanish language skills. It is not well marked, you MUST prepare yourself with good directions/and or a map, and water and food in your pack. Depending on the tourism season, you will want to reserve in advance a place in Penalba for the night, as it's heavily touristed in season, and rather scant (sometimes downright gruff) off-season.... it is also very high-altitude. Do not try this early or late in the year. Laurie and I walked this in June, during cherry season, and it was idyllic, truly unforgettable!
We walked back down to Ponferrada the following day, on a trail blazed by traders and monks, through the woods and along a river. Tough going, a wonderful break from the Camino racket. Recommended for those who can handle steep ups and downs, and Deep-Spain conditions.

For the stout of heart: I walked on from Penalba to Las Medullas on the Mirada Circular on my own way back in 2010, before the waymarking was firmed-up. That was the toughest day of camino hiking I have ever done in my life as a pilgrim.
It is also one of the most splendid. It is 32 kilometers of mountain, and I should never have tried it on my own. I left at sunup, and made it to Las Medullas as the sun set. It was May, when the days are long, and I am a good, fast walker. (unless you're comparing me to Laurie!)
You get the picture.
Laurie wants to walk this with me again, but I am 8 years older and I'm not sure I am up to it any more.
I love this trail. It is the perfect dovetail onto the Camino Invierno, which opened itself to me from there on in 2010.
>>> But I don't hesitate to warn people that any tramo of the Mirada Circular is NOT to be taken lightly.
Thank you, Rebekah, for your honesty and admonition about the level of difficulty of portions of this particular circular route. This info has me shaking in my boots:oops: ...I mean my trailrunners;).
I think I recall in some of my research a year ago that there are tours offered to Penalba from Ponferrada. Maybe that will be the best way for me to experience this little gem, especially if bringing a tent is recommended. Then walking the Invierno afterward.
 

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