Sierra Nevada: day 1

Set off from Lanjaron at 9,30 and walked through the town, stopped to fill water bottles at local spring and started climbing up the valley at the east end of the village. Steep and hot but very pleasant. Climbed about 1000m by lunchtime, stopped by a river for picnic and then made a traverse over mountain paths before descending back down into the village by about 5,30 with a total of about 29,000 steps, a round trip of around 12k. Beautiful scenery, knackered.

olc: words for Pyrenees

Descending from Refuge Sarradets, I’m reminded once again why I do this; the magnificent views, the dirt under my feet, the feeling of being amongst friends but at the same time remote. I love being able to drift in and out of conversations; I love that a thread can last for days and even weeks. I love the wilderness, in a strange way it’s the only time I feel spiritual. I love the enthusiasm, I love that we’re doing something that scares us the odd time. I love the air, the elements and the company.

Passing down from La Brèche de Roland and on into France, I contemplate the mountains we’ve just left: Le Casque, Mont Perdu, the slog up through the shale, three steps forward, two steps back. I remember the energy-sapping slope up to the top, I remember thinking of my late brother there, like Mont Perdu he’s not lost, he’s just out of sight.

Pain has a short memory and the discomfort of the refuges and the blisters will soon be forgotten. Except for maybe the noises of the night!

We’ll be back.