The Magic of the Mountains

This Summer we have spent several nights out in the mountains, camping wild at various spots around the freshly designated National Park of Guadarrama. But perhaps ironically the most beautiful place that we slept in, not too far from Cotos in the upper Lozoya valley, was not within the capricious limits of the Park.

Night falls on the Lozoya valley, Cabezas de Hierro and Valdemartín

Night falls on the Lozoya valley, Cabezas de Hierro and Valdemartín

This spot, a short walk from the delightful Sillada de Garcisancho, is on top of a small hill which goes by the rather unlovely name of Cerrito Sarnoso*. Located almost right in the center of the valley, it offers spectacular views of the North-East of Cabezas de Hierro on one side and the magnificent East face of Peñalara on the other.

Pre-dawn light on Peñalara's East face

Pre-dawn light on Peñalara’s East face

While the subtle shades of dusk are undeniably wonderful, there is little that can compare to the light of a Summer dawn in the mountains. Both the pre-dawn glow and the spectacle of sunrise itself are worth getting out of your sleeping bag to witness.

The early sun making orographic magic in the Lozoya valley

The early sun making orographic magic in the Lozoya valley

As i mentioned earlier, this area of the upper Lozoya valley lies – inexplicably you might think – outside the Parque Nacional limits. Of course the explanation is concern for exploitation and not this case the continued exploitation of the valley’s timber resources. I have suggested before that the National Park is a bit of a farce..we want to have the Park but we don’t want to give it its logical extension. Human designations and dithering aside, what is unquestionable is the beauty of the Lozoya valley and the mountains that rise above it.

On the way back towards Cotos, beneath Peñalara's rocky East face

On the way back towards Cotos, beneath Peñalara’s rocky East face

Can humans be trusted to conserve the natural beauty of the planet? Of course we saw nobody in the area all evening or during the following morning, in the middle of August, little over an hour from Cotos. As expected. From here it’s a small step to consider the argument that in order to protect Nature we need to get people out into it, to know it, to experience the “magic of the mountains”..  But i’ll leave that for another post!

*Cerrito Sarnoso translates literally as “Mangy Little Hill”..!

About coldspringdays

Éireannach is ea mé, i mo chonaí insan Spáinn. Rugadh mé i lár na tuaithe, ar feadh blianta bhí mé ag teitheadh uaithi, i bhfad as an tuath, ach sa deireadh d'fhill mé, ar ais go dtí an tuath.. An Irishman am I, settled in Spain. Born was I in the middle of the country, for years I ran from it, far from the country, but in the end I returned, back to the country..
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