Big adventures, small adventures… we love them all as long as we get an opportunity to escape into the wild. Like the majority of families with kids, we are limited in the amount of time we can spend on crazy and long holidays. Nevertheless, nature for us is a major source of energy and relaxation so we try to have our little escapes as frequently as we can. Those escapes are usually one day hikes or rides with a bike. Some of them, even though very short, gave us strong emotions and memories. For the moment, we are not writing a blog post for every small adventure we have, but I feel like summing them all up in one yearly blog post is a right thing to do. It gives us an option to look back and just say “what a wonderful year we had”…
We love going wild alone, but in 2018 we hiked a lot with a local hiking club Vereda y Senda. We wanted to get to know local hikers and areas, as well as save a bit of our time on planning the routes… yeah, yeah, we get lazy sometimes too.
So, let’s begin the review!
Sierra del Castillo – Mora
An easy hike for a start of the season, through enormous valleys full of olive trees and some light mountains. Old remains of a fortress highlighted our short hike on this sunny and warm winter (?!?) day.
Rio Cambrones – Pico La Atalaya
When I think about February in my country of origin (Lithuania) I see myself in the sofa wrapped up with two blankets. I was clearly born in a wrong climate zone… Thus, having this amazing weather in February to hike only wearing a fleece equals heaven to me.
It was another fairly easy hike, going slow and enjoying this sunny day. Yet, we had quite a few changes in our original plan of the hike as water in the river was too high and we couldn’t cross it. We love improvisation on the go!
La Acebeda – Colgadizos
OK… I take back everything I said about amazingly warm weather in Spain! I could never believe I would freeze so bad at the end of the March in the sunny South… This was one of the coldest hikes I have ever experienced (and I camped in Estonia in mid February!!!). The humidity and strong wind combined with an altitude of 1845 meters was quite a challenge. Not to mention deep snow and all the falls we had. But exactly because of that it was one of the best day escapes of 2018! The harder – the better!
April still didn’t bring us sunny weather back, but it surely brought a nice route. Fog, rain, snow – a hike only for true nature lovers.
Valle de la Fuenfria – Montón de Trigo
Even though down in the valley everything was already green, the mountains were still covered with snow. It is amazing how much climate in high mountains is different. We were lucky to get a sunny day again and had a lovely hike. The route, as always, wasn’t very long, but ascent was quite significant and the leftovers of snow surely didn’t make it any easier to reach the peak.
Cabeza Lijar – Cruz de los Caidos
This was probably our longest hiking routesof this year, but it was a fairly easy hike. We crossed the forests, met some horses, found some bones, explored old bunkers and got super wet on the way back. We started the hike with the sun, yet in the middle of the walk the sky got so dark that we had to turn back. This was our last short hike before the crazy summer with all its adventures began.
Peña Citores – Peñalara
After all the summer holidays were over, it was time to start a new season. We started with a hike in the mountains together with “Vereda y Senda”. After a hot summer we clearly forgot how the weather can change in the mountains. Even though we checked the forecast for the area, we were highly misled. The forecast was showing +21 or even +24 during the day with a slightly chillier morning, yet warm enough to start with the shorts and t-shirts. It was showing some light rain in the forecast too, so I put a spare set of clothes to change after the hike. But once we arrived, I had to use my spare set before we even started! It was only +11 degrees at the place we were starting and it surely would drop even more up in the mountain. And so it did!!
We have reached the highest point of this hike (2429 m) almost running, leaving the rest of the group behind, because it was too cold to walk slower. We ended up having another very cold and wet hike, but this time we can only blame ourselves for not being prepared. Always expect and be ready for bad weather in the mountains!
During most of our day hikes I was looking from afar to the mountain of 7 peaks, wondering when I would have a chance to climb them. And finally that day came!
We went alone on this one. The weather was more than good – warm enough to hike with a t-shirt, yet fairly fresh compared with +35 at our home village. Climbing the rocky 7 peaks was very fun. I enjoyed every single one of them. Yet, what we didn’t expect was that our way back would be more challenging than the actual peaks!
The trail took us through the southern side of the mountain. It had a big descent and a new climb again, which we didn’t anticipate. We even ran out of water and once we finished the hike – had to sit down in the bar immediately for a couple of non-alcohol beers.
Siete picos with kids
We loved the hike in Siete picos so much, that the following weekend Pedro took two of our girls to enjoy it as well. They did a slightly shorter route with climbing 6 out of 7 peaks and returning through the easier path. Girls absolutely loved it!
Via verde del Tajuña
After the summer heat was off, we decided to take out our rusty bikes for a ride. Spain might not be the best country for biking, but it has some nice biking roads made on top of the old railways, therefore are usually fairly flat and easy to ride. Perfect for warming up after the long break without biking. On the other hand, they are not circular, so if you don’t want to bike on the car roads and don’t have an option to leave cars in both starting and finishing points, then you will have to return using the same path.
Our first ride of the year was around 60 km and I have to admit that it was too much for me! This route had quite a few ups and down in the beginning (and consequently at the end too) and my knee struggled too much… I ended the route in terrible pain.
Nevertheless, I loved the concept of via verde and enjoyed biking a lot.
Via verde de la Jara
In two weeks, after all the pains were gone, we tried another via verde biking route which was even more amazing. It was much flatter, so even extra km didn’t affect my knees and the views on the way were even more impressive than on the previous ride.
We took it easy and enjoyed the nature during every pitstop thus were rewarded with an outstanding experience watching dozens of huge eagles gliding right above our heads.
I can’t wait to get back to this route in spring, when all the fields will be blossoming! Hopefully next time we will note forget to take our lights as crossing those long tunnels in complete darkness was quite a challenge!!!
Rock climbing in Central Portugal
Is there a better way to finish the year than with experiencing something new?
We had our first rock climbing lesson right before Christmas. To be honest, we thought we are going to via ferrata with our kids, so we had a big time surprise when we realized we are going to climb the rocks. With kids. But everything went well, we all managed to overcome the fear and reach the assigned top! What a great way to finish the year!
Yes, we had an amazing 2018!
There was one more very special day in the mountains this year that I didn’t mention yet – April 28. In the central Portugal, surrounded by the mountains and beloved family, we had our very special day. Where else could it be?
What mountains have joined, let no human separate… ❤