Since I was leaving for the Pyrenees bright and early Tuesday morning, Fermín asked me if I would be up for going to the mountains on Monday to get in one more adventure before I was off!

We left at 9 am and were off the the Picos de Urbión, about an hour outside of Logroño. When we got to our hiking spot, the thermometer said it was -1 degree C (about 30 degrees F). Yikes! Fermín assured me that as we got moving and hiking we would warm up quickly…and he was right! It was a beautiful day, sun shining, the river flowing alongside of us the whole way, and I can’t forget all of the wild animals. We saw cows, horses, deer, and even the herding dogs that live up in the mountains to take care of the flocks of sheep. Fermín explained on our hike in that all of the animals wearing bells, mostly cows and horses, were all owned by people that lived in the town below and they let the animals run free and graze all winter and then they come and get them to sell in the spring. How do they find their own animals after they have been wandering around the mountains for 6-8 months, you ask?! Oh easy, right?! No! Each bell has a distinct sound and the owners know exactly which one is theirs. Once they get close, they put a block of salt down to attract the animal in and capture them.

As we walked further in, the views got even more dynamic and the snow got thicker. I figured it was good practice for what I would be getting myself into in the Pyrenees. Haha! Fermín had told me the day prior that we may run into a man named Sergio on the path. He explained that this man from Madrid, after volunteering and helping with an oil spill in Galicia, could not bear to go back to city life and decided to make a life for himself out in the middle of the Picos de Urbión, which Sergio now calls his ‘Urbión Paradise’. Well, we came upon Sergio’s house, an old dilapidated shepherd’s refuge, and what an experience he was!

He greeted us with open arms and within the first minute was urging us to prepare for the end of the world as we know it. He believes it will be sometime within the next month, in accordance with the Mayan calendar. He invited us into his home to show us his ‘decorating’. He has no heat, no water, he bathes in the freezing cold river, and lives off of what people bring him as they stop in when hiking. As we were leaving, he graciously gave us each a piece of quartz that he had found on a hike and told us that it will bring positive energy to our lives. He, on the other hand, has a ‘magic circle’ that he has created with his quartz dedicated to send his positive energy to Palestine. Good luck with that, Sergio! I can safely say, it is a life I would never want to live, but if he is happy, more power to him! An interesting little intermission on our hike, I suppose! Haha!

We headed out, seeing some more amazing views and luckily right as we had made it to the ‘lookout’, the clouds had lifted and we were able to see the tip tops of the peaks! Absolutely beautiful! This trip was a nice breath of fresh air!! Thank you Fermín for another wonderful adventure!!