Still in the Parque Nacional de la Sierra de Guadarrama, today´s hike is called El Septimo Pico (The Seventh Peak). It´s a pequeño recorrido that starts at the Puerta de Navacerrada and goes to the first mountain peak. (You could add on all six peaks, following a grand recorrido trail, if you are looking for a challenge.)
the snow virgin
We did this walk with another couple, whose son is a few months younger than ours. Both boys rode comfortably in their Stokke carriers (seriously the best "baby stuff" thing we bought!), and enjoyed taking tentative steps in the snow during our picnic at the halfway mark. This walk should have taken about three hours, but with our "scenic detour" (read: men not listening to my directions!) it was nearly four. A lovely way to spend a morning or an afternoon up in the mountains.
checking out the view
The walk starts at the same bar as the Camino Schmidt, but quickly goes off in the opposite direction (AHEM, listen to the visual learner who has the map). There´s a bit of a climb up a ski hill, but the trail then becomes fairly flat for the bulk of the walk. After walking by a chair lift station, we came to a sparse forest area and took a (planned) detour to see the Virgin of the Snow. When you´re hiking in Spain, there are all kinds of little detours that bring culture and nature together. Catholic statues and shrines, Roman ruins, Civil War bunkers... I say get off the beaten path to check them out!
walking and riding
After the flat, fairly clear area, we entered into a pine forest with a steady incline. At this point, the directions changed from "path" to "uphill" - it doesn´t matter how you get to the top, just keep climbing! The trees turn into scrub again, and the final climb is over fairly rocky terrain. There are lots of worn areas where people have obviously walked, and no lose rock, so still safe for carrying the babies. From the top, we had great views of Segovia and Madrid, thanks to the gorgeously clear spring day.