One of the best things in Montserrat, other than climbing, was the people I met; and one of the friendships I did there was with Juan, a climber and “Trekker” if that word exists, that came with me in my next adventure: Trekk the Pyrenees.
The trip to the base of one of the mountains lasted about 2 hours by car, and I confess I slept most of the way, but the few times I woke up, I could see how beautiful the landscape is. Spain is really a very beautiful country.
But let’s talk about the trekks, the first item worth mentioning is that there are no hotels or hostels on the way, but refuges, which are usually a cabin in the middle of the mountain where you can spend the night. It has electricity for about an hour and has no bathroom, but it is free and protects you from the cold. And I HATE cold, so it’s already more than fine for me.
The first day we started a little late, about 14 hours. And the walk to the cabin was around 4 hours. The trek is wonderful, among trees and rocks, but what killed me was the altitude. This was the first time I was making a trek on a high mountain. And there I understood the concept of rarefied air. Guys, there is no air, I’m not a sedentary person, I practice a lot of sports, but there, every step made me tired and out of breath. It was a very strange bad feeling. And worse, the first mountain was not that high, the Mulieres mount is only 2928 meters and the cabin is not even at the top.
But it was a delight path anyway, and good trekking has to be tiring. The problem was that it was getting dark and we still hadn’t found the cabin, and worse, we were not sure if we were on the right path and we hadn’t brought a tent or anything to camp in the open air. That means, if we did not find the cabin we would die of cold (I’m really dramatic, but then I do not know if it was drama or real). But then imagine, not finding the cabin was not an option. We needed to find this damn thing!
So we continued along the path that we thought was right. Juan, with more experience and more knowledge of the area, took a few walks around to see if we were in the right path, and everything indicated that it was, but the absence of the cabin indicated that it was not. My stomach became more and more tight with anxiety and agitation, even more, because it was already dark and we were already using the headlamp.
At every corner in the trek, turning by stone, or after a tree, I asked Juan if he could see the cabin. It was not in my itinerary to die frozen on a mountain in Spain. Guys, I’m extremely systematic, if it’s not on my list of things to do, then I can’t do it! Unless it’s very cool, then I’ll make an exception because life is made of improvisation, but lovers, in that case, improvisation would be the end of life, and I do not approve that. So I wanted to find that damn cabin more than anything in this world.
And, the time was passing, it was already super dark, I was super tired, and nothing of the damn cabin! DAMN CABIN!!!!
We arrive in a part of the trek that we had to go around a huge rock through a sneaky path, fall there, in the dark, would be a great s***. As I was walking around, the only thing going on in my head was how awful it would be if we had to go all the way back because we took the wrong path, and that damn cabin never appear, how I hated that cabin like I hated that stone, a miserable cabin, a stone big as hell, a cabin from hell, just finishing rounding the stone, look what a beautiful cabin right there! Good lord, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life, I love you beautiful little cabin of my dreams!!
We made the Mulieres and Puigmal hills. All with wonderful trekks, beautiful landscapes, and everything. The presence of these places is really inspiring. But for me, the most special part was one of the ways back.
Let me make a point here, I always had the greatest respect for nature. But it was always respect based on information and beauty. But after these trekkings, this respect became something touchable and based on power and glory, like a beautiful and deadly thing.
The night before the trek back, I was super tired, so I decided to not take off my socks. I was very tired and very cold, so I arrived in the cabin, dined and slept. The plan for the next day was simple: wake up, climb to the top of the mountain, go back, pick up our backpacks at the cabin and go down the mountain to the parking lot.
The climb up was wonderful, and I was already more used to the air, also, in the morning the air is so fresh that it is invigorating. Of course, do not overestimate me, I was still the weakest link in the group, but at least I was keeping pace. But things got difficult in the way down. We were in 3 in that part, and I was the last one in the “queue”
You see, when I was younger I hurt my knees fighting Judo, but with a lot of physiotherapies, my doctor said that I would be okay as long as I did gym for the rest of my life. This was not a problem when I was in Brazil, with my daily routine at the gym. But while I’m traveling, the gym became a complicated thing, and, in the way down, I began to feel all that on my knee.
Lord, every step is a pain. My knees are hurting! But it gets worse, after a while I realize there’s something here is hurting more than my knees: My feet, it feels like I’m stepping in sandpaper. My feet hurt so much, my toes feel like they’re going to explode.
Man, I’m so tired. I do not know if I can keep it anymore.
The boys turn back and look at me:
I smile and say how beautiful the landscape is and that I’m ok.
My god, I think I’m going to die !! I can not keep it anymore, seriously! My knees are hurting so much, my feet no longer want to touch the floor !!
Okay, okay, okay. Let’s walk until that rock, after that rock we sit. Arriving at the rock, okay, I can get to that tree, to that part of the river, to that other river and so I continue.
And every time the boys take a look at me I smile and say I’m ok.
I will not be the soft one that asks to stop, but my God how I want to stop. I want to stop more than anything.
As I continued, I sang Nemo’s song in my head: Keep swimming, keep walking. Just one more step. One step after another. That’s it, just one more step. One. More. Step.
But every step was torture, I wanted to cry, I wanted to sit, I wanted so so much to stop. But then? Will I get here and give up on the finish line? No. I could not. I have to finish this.
Why the hell am I doing this? I could be in the comfort of a hotel, sleeping in a bed, with my feet in the sand. I will never do that again in my life. I hate trekking, I hate this mountain.
When we were finally arriving, the boys decided to make a stop. They do not understand, I can not stop now if I stop I stop forever. I need to finish this now because I have already gotten used to the pain if I start to feel any better, as I’ll get back to walk I do not know if I can get used to it again.
So I continue, not that it makes much difference, in less than 5 minutes they already met me and pass me. haha
But finally, I got in the car. I think it was the most real sense of relief I’ve ever felt in my life.
The first thing I did was take out the sneakers, and then try to take off my socks. But it was not that simple, the socks did not want to leave, it was glued to the skin of my foot with so much pus blister and dry blood. Lord, how it hurts. I threw water to make it easier. But even so, the sole of my foot, which was already a crust of pus and blood, came out with the sock.
I look at the mountains from the car.
First of all, I do not know how I’m feeling. But gradually I understand. It’s a feeling of respect, it’s a fear of the power it has. And not only that, strangely, I also feel love.
Love for these mountains. By the knowledge that living there requires strength. That getting there is not for free. That there, beauty is only a detail. The power, the sacrifice to come and walk through that place is what makes them so special.
And this love for the mountains includes me, after all, I did, I finished the trek, I f****** did it. I went to the top and came back, I walked there, and from there, I came out stronger, knowing that I can. Those mountains gave me that.
Contribute to the environment
- Take your trash
- Collect rubbish if possible
- ALWAYS PRESERVE THE NATURE