When asked by one of my intercambios if I wanted to go hiking on a Saturday morning, I excitedly agreed without looking at the forecast for the weekend, my mistake! Haha! Well, being a good sport, I was up at 9am and ready to hit the mountain even though as I looked out the window while waiting to be picked up, I knew it was going to be a cold one…but I don’t think I could have ever been prepared for how cold or how much snow we would encounter. Javi and his friends picked me up from the house and we were off to what they told me was called the ‘Sierra Codes’. Meaning nothing to me at the time, I thought, “Ok, sounds fun.”…but boy did I have a lot to learn! On our way up, we had some very interesting discussions, as one of the others in the car was also a teacher, we were talking about the differences between the education systems here in Spain and back in the States, the good, the bad, and the ugly, from both sides of the Atlantic. Quite interesting, I will have to say.

So we finally get to the mountain and as we park, I’m starting to think, “How far up this thing are we actually planning on going?”, considering the whole entire mountain is COVERED with snow. But being with three young guys and a very eager golden retriever…I should have know we were headed for the highest point possible, the tip-top of the mountain. 

As we began we were treading through ice patches and small puddles of melting snow, not so bad, right? But as we headed straight up the side of the mountain (supposedly on some sort of trail, which I am still not sure I believe), knee deep in snow for the rest of the hike. Luckily I was not guiding the group and so I could use the footsteps of the person in front of me to plant my legs down into the snow holes to keep from having to create my own and falling knee deep in snow with every step. As we reached the halfway point, there was a bit of relief, and we could look down and see how far up we had already climbed and how beautiful the view was from way up there. 

As we trudged on, we found ourselves in a kind of winter wonderland, which was actually quite stunning. All of the trees were gently frosted with snow and all you could see was white. This part of the journey was totally worth the outrageous climb up to the top. As we found our way through the white, sparkling forest, we of course had to stop and throw a few snowballs and make some snow angels. When we finally made it up to the top, completely exhausted and gasping for air, we were so excited to finally look down to see what we had conquered. Yet, it was a bit hard to see because we were above the cloud cover. Yeah, I would say that is pretty high!!

Very worth the effort, but I was so glad to be back to the car, cozy and warm with dry socks and shoes!! Now, just hoping for spring to finally come so we can do a lot more hiking in a bit more enjoyable weather conditions!!