Having fun at the mountains (Os Ancares) (I)
For the past two days I've been in Os Ancares, a mountain range in north-west Spain located between Lugo and León. I went there with dolo and some friends (included emereci) and it was the perfect excuse for a meeting and have some fun.
The plan was to go for some hiking during the day and stay in cabins at night, just talking, drinking and having a good time.
We woke up early on Thursday and we arrived at the cabins place before noon (it is a bit less than a 1-hour drive from Lugo). We put everything inside two of the cabins (food, drinks, clothes, sleeping bags, table games, etc) and we started to get ready for hiking.
The cabins were really good. There were made of wood, really comfortable and with plenty of space. I think one is ok for about 10-12 people. We were 11, but we had a reservation for 2 cabins (just in case). They were really cheap (75 euro per cabin/night) so we could afford it and we thought it would be even more comfortable.
Once everything was ready, we picked up two of the cars and we drive another hour and a half until we reach Puerto de Ancares, where our scheduled route started.
Puerto de Ancares is 1648m high, and we were going to one of the peaks that is 1975m high. Probably not too much meters to go up, but the path we choose was quite larger than that (about 4-5 Km).
As soon as we went out of the cars, we realized ourselves that the weather was quite different up there. Back in the cabins place it was warm, the sun was shining, and we were fine wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Up there, at Puerto de Ancares it was dammed freezing cold.
Now, guess what? Everybody was carrying over some long pants and hiking clothes and stuff. I had only my shorts, a t-shirt, a sweater and (lucky me) something to put on my head and face. I looked exactly like this:
I swear it was freezing cold at first, when we got out of the cars. Obviously everyone was laughing at me because of my lack of thinking when adding stuff to my bag. Luckily, it turned out later that wearing shorts wasn't a bad choice after all ;D.
And so our little hiking adventure started. Everyone was excited and even if it was really cold, we started to walk over a small path, one by one.
Of course we are no professionals, and we did stop a lot of times to take pictures or just talk about things that happened in our lives since the last time we met (which was some time ago). But even with interruptions, we went through the path in a good pace.
I took that picture because at that point, we started to do some jokes about the Lord Of The Rings movies, as we looked exactly like on of those groups in LOTR, The Dragonlance series or any other D&D-like universe. Too bad we weren't wearing elf/dwarf/warrior/etc costumes.
At the beginning it wasn't a difficult route at all. You only had to keep walking through the path, which was clean and easy. I kept myself at the back of the group because emereci and her younger sister were walking slower than the rest of the group, and I don't like people to get alone.
As I've said, we did some stops to take pictures. Let me show you one of those pictures. Later on (back at the cabins) we decided that, if one day we start a rock band, this picture will be the cover of our first album:
Hahahahaha, we didn't decide the title of the album, but it would be something like The Galicians - Rocking the mountains!.
At one point the path started to be a little bit more difficult. There were more rocks, some big ones that required that we did use our hands and do some climbing (nothing serious/difficult BTW).
As I've said, it was an easy walk... until we lost the path.
We didn't expect snow on our way to the peak (not at least during this part of the year) but there was snow in the path, and the people that were leading the group decided to go around the snow and try to reach the other side.
The problem was that they decided to go around the snow, avoiding it, but on the wrong side. They decided to go left, and the path was going under the snow for some meters and then to the right.
That was when the fun started. I decided not to go with them, and I didn't avoid the snow at all.
You can't imagine how fun it was. I jumped on the snow, I ran and, obviously, I slipped and I fell down (2 times at least). As I've said before, I was wearing shorts so they were shouting at me that I was crazy and that I was going to catch a cold, but that was part of the fun too ;). I even had some trouble due to parts where the snow was not so solid and there were holes below it (then I realized it could be dangerous and I was a bit more careful).
After trying to avoid the snow for a while, they realized that it was a better idea to go over it (just like I was doing). I took some pictures of them crossing the snow path.
As you can see in the pictures, it was really slippery.
I find it amazing to compare this picture with the one I've shown you before, when we were at the cabins place. In one it seems like summer time, in the other one it seems to be the opposite, totally winter time.
When we reached the other side of that small snow lake, we realized that the path went on the opposite side, but crossing the snow we ended in a lower part of the mountain, so we had to climb up (and this time it was more difficult) to get back to the path we were supposed to follow.
After finding the path again, we kept ourselves walking for some time and then we started to go up, just to reach the 1975m peak:
It took us some time, but we finally were near the peak, we stopped once again to take some pictures and (more important) to take some deep breath before the final step.
This was a good point to take a picture of (almost) the whole path we had followed:
We were close to the peak, and I think Xurxo already knew it!
The final part of the ascension was, by far, the most difficult one. Some people didn't make it to the top and those of us that did were exhausted when the peak was reached.
But, you know, it was worth it. The view from there was beautiful and I felt myself quite good, it was like that sensation you've when you finish some pending stuff, and when you are so sure you did it well.
We took a group picture of the people that were there:
I'm sure that we will remember this picture for quite a long time.
Obviously, we had to go back. It would be nice to be there some more time, but it was late, the clouds were getting down and visibility was reduced by, let's say, 60%. We went back to the cars following the same path (this time without visiting the snow) and we reached the cars safe (no injuries were suffered during this adventure!).
We went back to the cabins and we had a good dinner, we drank a lot of beer and we played some games (including a very good Risk game). We went to bed, preparing ourselves for our adventure next day (you will have to wait for another post about that ;D).