Thursday, January 23, 2014

1/21/14 Day 5

8 a.m. Sure came early this morning, but it is time to go to the mountain so at least it is for a good cause. Alberto, Javi, Kevin and I packed up the car finished our breakfast and headed for the mountain range northeast of Madrid and halfway between Segovia, Parque Nacional de la Sierra de Guadarrama. After an hour drive we arrived at the lodge and Alberto dropped the three of us while he we back to a lower village to pick up two more of his friends. 
After a delicious cafĂ© con leche the rest of the group arrived and we began our ascent. There are no amenities, or ski lifts in this park just beautiful natural scenery. At the bottom of the hill many skiers were hiking up the short slopes to learn how to glide down, as well as many mountaineer heading up to practice their skills for bigger climbs in their futures. It was a beautiful area for people to practice all sorts of different alpine sports. 

The snow is so much different than home, so light and dry and with a fresh coat overnight still only ankle deep on the single track trail up, luckily I was able to borrow some good waterproof hiking boots or I would have been so cold. The scenery was so beautiful, blue skies as far as we could see with stunning views. 
After about an hour of hiking up though the clouds starting to roll in, the snow was getting deeper, knee high in some areas and getting colder, definitely time for lunch. Our lunch stop was in view a small radio tower with a small shelter built into it. We could either hike over and around, the easier, but longer way or straight up the steeper shorter way. Four of us decide to huff it up the harder steep side and two of our group went the other way. 
It really wasn't that difficult although the snow was getting to be thigh or hip depth in some areas and there were some large rocks we had to climb over that were making it easier and harder. We made it up to the top, unfortunately our view had been eaten up by the clouds but at least we were rewarded with a fantastic lunch of bread, cheese,tomato, an apple, and of course some well deserved vino! 
After lunch we decided we would head back down and not tempt the storms by trying to make it to the peak. On the way down we saw an ice climber practicing and also a kite skier in action, a great day for it, although the visibility was poor.
 We took a more well groomed path back down to the lodge which made for a quick and easy decent and of course ended the hike with more cafe and tea to warm us up.  
After, we were dropped off at home so Alberto could return the car I almost immediately curled up into a ball in front of the heater and took a fantastic siesta for a few hours. Waking up around 7 to the boys talking we all conversed for a while before deciding it was time for food around 9. Alberto wanted to show us to the best vegetarian burger in the city, luckily it was only 20 meters away. We split a huge burger and a barbecue vegetarian pizza between the three of us along with wine, beers and coffee for dessert. I'm still not ready to give up on meat just yet...but the vegetarian fare was definitely a tasty change in pace. Leaving the restaurant after 10 pm the stores close by were no longer selling beers so we had to resort to mix drinks with the whiskey back at the apartment for our night cap. 

No comments:

Post a Comment