Step 4. Araia - Alda (22 km)

Nothing resists the truth for long: it may be assailed, but never overcome

Cyclists will find this section extremely difficult. The ascent is steep but the muddy terrain makes it even harder going.  It’s not possible to cycle on the paths to   Puerto Opakua: you have to dismount and on occasions find other, unmarked alternatives. It’s better to take an alternative path to reach the summit of the Opakua High and from there to Iturrieta High. So, first follow the A-3138, then take the A-2128 , thereby reaching Opakua and Iturrieta.  The descent from Puerto Nuevo can be a bit difficult for the bike, so it may be advisable to follow the asphalt road in order to go through Kontrasta and then reach Ullibarri. Walkers are strongly recommended to take every precaution in winter and not to venture along this route in snow or fog.

Araia: Km 0. Albeniz: 2.2 km San Roman: 4.3 Km. (Bicuña) Entzia Port: 11.9 Km. Puerto Nuevo: Km 18.5. Ullíbarri: Km 20.5. Alda: Km 22.

We leave Araia by Presalde street and once we meet Santsarreka Street, we take a street on our left that heads towards the school and cultural center of the village. We arrive to a crossroads and we take the one on our right. We keep always the same road and on the next crossroads we take to the left. Another crossroads: we turn to our right and we go towards Albeniz. We can see the town in front of us and we go to it without loss.

We cross the road and we walk behind the church. We head to the train station, across the village and to our left. The station is at 500 m from the village of Albeniz.

We cross the railroad tracks and we turn right to find a paved road that leads to a bridge over the road A-1 highway. We cross it and we head to the town of San Román. We enter San Román and follow the main street which leads to a fountain at the end of the village. At this point we turn left and after 70 metres we turn right, arriving at a wooden cattle gate with signposts marking the GR-25 which leads us to Bikuña.

From here the road we are walking forks twice: the first after approximately 250 metres and there we take the left path; the second fork is after another 150 meters and once again we take the path leading left. Here we stop following the GR-25 and we take the road that leads to the Bikuña Mountain Pass. We always follow the same road which sometimes becomes difficult to walk along because of the thick layer of accumulated mud on the surface. We go through a cattle gate that we close behind us and continue our ascent. We come to a crossroads and we see a GR-282 signpost in front of us. We turn right and here the path levels out. We follow the GR-282, arriving at another chained gate which we have to close behind us. A signpost says "San Vicente de Arana. 17 km". We follow the red and white signs, but proceed cautiously, especially on foggy days, because we are walking near a ravine. There is no road, only an indistinct trail in the woods, so we are constantly alert, looking  for GR signs on trees and stones.

We arrive at the plain of Zezama. Here we stop following the GR-282 and we make a 90 degree turn to the left in order to pass very close to a cattle barn with wooden fence on our left. We follow the traces of tractor tracks. We cross the Zezama meadow and we head to a sheep barn that has a small wall by the door and that appears behind some trees. After this barn we turn right and head for a white, dirt road in good condition, some 150 metres above us. We follow it and cross a paved road. In front of us we see some cattle fences and behind them there is a trail which we take.We are in the Parzonería of Entzia and Iturrieta. We always follow the tracks of tractors. There are some arrows indicating the way but we have to go ahead carefully. The path is eventually lost in a field in which you turn right, climbing up to a white dirt road, which we take to our right. We reach the asphalt A-2128 road.We take it to our left and in 50 m, next to a weather station, we take the path that starts on the right. We walk down some paths trails and we try to maintain the same direction. After 1 km we come to a grassland where we turn to our left about 90 degrees and so we head down a road well drawn that leads us to the road of the Alto de Iturrieta.

Arrived at the A-3114, we take on our right 500 m to go up until we reach the Iturrieta High and a wide and well- defined road which goes off to the left. We take it and thus leave the A-3114.  We go straight ahead without leaving the road and after 1.8 kilometres, arrive at Puerto Nuevo (New Mountain Pass).

Please note here: there are no signposts in the Alto of Puerto Nuevo, so we have to look out for when the road bears left sharply and we take the path going down pretty sharp. At this point we must continue straight on towards the Valle de Arana by means of path that is directly in front of us. A gate to livestock and white and yellow signs on it help us to identify the place. After 1.2 kilometres we come to cultivated fields and to a reservoir of water which we leave on our right. We walk straight on without taking any of the side roads, and reach the village of UllĂ­barri. At the entrance to the village, on our left, we find the Hermitage of Santa MarĂ­a.

We go through the village and we pass UllĂ­barri church to our right. At the end of the Main Street (Calle Mayor) is the Hermitage of San Cristobal. At this point, the road divides and we take a right to go directly to Alda, our final destination today.

Altimetria foto: 
Cartography: 

Lodging

Alda

Casa Rural Biltegi Etxea . Carretera, 3. Tel. 945 406 042 / 656 762 793. Phone first to make a reservation. Another option is to approach San Vicente where there is shelter for pilgrims or from there take a taxi to Santa Cruz de Campezo (see next stage). Some may choose to sleep under the stars. Each pilgrim will know what suits him or her best.
City Hall . Tel.: 945 406 006
Taxi y Autobus Juan PĂ©rez (San Vicente) . Tel: 659 641 183 // 686 391 355

Araia

Taxi Elizondo (Agurain) . Tel: 608 871 820
Taxi Juan Francisco Gonzalez Flores (Agurain) . Tel: 945 301 113

Comments

Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con el comentario de jose Luis Iribe, en relacion al tramo de la carretera A2128, relacionado con alguna carencia de señales en este sendero.. Mi GPS. no lo suelo ver asiduamente, pero en este tramo lo tuve que abrir, para poder seguirlo lo mas rapido posible,, De todas maneras tampoco es muy problematico, se puede ir marcha atras i seguir por la carretera. Yo pasé por este tramo la primera semana de diciembre del 2015. Saludos de Iñaki Zuri BAkea,. desde Barcelona.

I am following the suggestion in the web. All went well except the second day. From Zumarraga to Arantzazu it was raining the whole day. That was really a great challenge climbing so high. Then the next two days were also climbing high. It is not for those who are afraid of mountains and the silence. I am in Alda right now. A very tiny village. Lucky that the casa rural is empty. I am the only guest. Without booking I got a room to stay. In fact I didn't make any advance booking except for Loyola and Manresa. Perhaps I should do for Montserrat.

De acuerdo con Anónimo el Mar. Luego de la estación meteo y la valla entré en el bosque y un poco por suerte, otro porque encendí el gps google maps, encontré el camino que me llevaba al Alto de Iturrieta. Pero pasé un buen rato buscando, perdida. Luego, al llegar a Puerto Nuevo, no vi el camino con la puerta de ganado y seguí....subiendo hasta una estación de antenas repetidoras...unos 2 km más. Fui regresando y finalmente detecté una piedra plana a mi izquierda, apoyada en el suelo, con una flecha naranja pintada en aerosol, poco visible. Creo que en este punto cambiaría la redacción de las indicaciones. La pondría así (las mayúsculas son mi agregado): "...una vuelta muy cerrada a la izquierda. NO TOMAR LA CURVA. ANTES DE ELLA, VEREMOS A NUESTRA DERECHA UNA PIEDRA PLANA, PINTADA CON FLECHA NARANJA, QUE APUNTA AL SENDERO. HEMOS DE TOMARLO, EN LUGAR DE TOMAR LA CURVA.". La expresión "seguir de frente" me confundió mucho, ya que en América Latina esa expresión significa "seguir por el camino donde estamos". Definitivamente, sería bueno que todo el tramo Araia-Alda estuviera más señalado. Espero que sirva.

The section between the A-2128 and the High of Iturrieta is not well signposted. No trouble finding the weather station across the road, but once you step on the way, after the fence for cattle, there disappear all the orange signs and there you enter a beautiful forest without any indication. Not recommended if you do not bring the map of Google Maps on your smartphone and you don't follow it with your GPS on. As it is not well signposted, the safest option is to continue down the road to the turnoff on the A-3114 to the High of Iturrieta.

El tramo entre la carretera A-2128 y el alto de Iturrieta no está bien señalizado. No cuesta encontrar la estación meteorológica al otro lado de la carretera, pero una vez entras en el camino, después de la valla para el ganado, allí desaparecen las señales naranja y poco más allí entras en un hermoso bosque de hayas sin indicación ninguna. No es recomendable si no llevas el mapa de Google Maps en tu Smartphone y lo sigues con tu GPS. Si no se señaliza bien, lo más seguro es la opción de seguir por la carretera hasta el desvío en la A-3114 hacia el Alto de Iturrieta.

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