When Jorge and I first started getting into hiking, we wanted to be instant mountaineers. We were trying to be alpinists with no experience. No experience in reading maps, planning treks, choosing appropriate gear. We didn’t know ourselves well enough at high altitudes after long, exhaustive hikes <– this is important for decision making. You have to make important decisions if you are going to mess with winter. And then we realized that Mountain is to be respected during all seasons. ALL. YEAR. LONG.
Ignorance is bliss they say, and I’ve finally taken that expression to heart. (you get lost a few times and end up with a few too may blisters, you make the conscious decision to learn more and be less ignorant.)
Last winter we signed up for a winter alpinism course; the basics in hiking at high altitudes in winter. We learned basic knot tying (with winter gloves on and our eyes closed), how to harness & tie up with ropes when walking on glaciers, how to get someone up or down a mountain in dangerous situations, how to find someone buried by an avalanche etc etc etc. Gnarly stuff that stripped my ignorance away and now that I sorta know how to read snow patterns and avalanche tendencies, I’m terrified. OK that’s an exaggeration, but still, after the course I never really got a chance to get back out there in the snow and test myself and my newly acquired (now forgotten) skills. I slept so much better with my blissful ignorance. But, honestly, it’s a good thing to be weary of Mountain whenever you’re leaving home and will be incommunicated. It’s good practice to plan for the unforeseen. The best decision you can make when you’re out there is to turn around whenever you feel weary, unsure or unsafe.
Anyways, my point is, we started with grand objectives of super tall peaks and summits and pushed all the easier hikes aside. Turns out we have a lot of trekking options in terrains completely different from the Pyrenees. And some closer to home. This post is dedicated to a peak we always talked about but never got around to until recently.
PICO URBIÓN – 2228 meters
We have visited this lake numerous time but never the summit, hiding majestically behind the mysterious lagoon. It’s called la Laguna Negra, and it’s green in the summer:
and white in the winter:
And it’s beautiful. And so is the hike. We will be back in the winter (I know I say this about all hikes, but like, why not?)
***BE WARNED: In winter you need a 4×4 or chains to park at, or closer to the lagoon. Otherwise you’ll need to count on walking a couple extra KMs. And don’t expect to be able to turn the car around once the tires won’t grip anymore. The snow and ice are slippery and the road up to the parking is narrow and hella curvy***
On this particular day we encountered a lady from California, also an expat, doing what any Spaniard or honorary-Spaniard would do mid morning: snacking on charcuterie, cheese, olives and sippin on some a sweet red out of the bota bag. Yes, we really use these. No they aren’t for dress up.
Here are the pics from our hike!
And then as a special treat we got to see where a very important river is sourced from! The beginning of the river: el Río Duero