One of the hardest questions I could ask myself is “Why do I walk?” By walk I mean, of course, hike.
The funny thing is, when I started walking, I pretty much hated it. By the time my brother took this shot, his first ever camera shot, I was 10, and about a month into my initiation in the Alps, and I think I had the bug, unbeknownst to myself.
The honest answer is I don’t know why I hike, I’ve been doing it now for so long. What I do know is I am drawn to high places and the people I meet while walking, and are drawn to hike also, have a similar want inside. The phenomenon that is the Camino de Santiago has re-inforced the idea that hiking is compelling, once you get started.
I’d been dreaming of the Picos long before I got there for the first time, having seen images in a book of the Naranjo de Bulnes, a huge Tor-shaped or rhino horn rock dominating the Alp-like surroundings.
I don’t want to climb the Naranjo. That’s another sport entirely. I just want to be stand beside it. When I look back at my smile in this picture, usually camera shy, I know I made some right decisions.
We all dream. When I started Far and Wild my dream was to bring people to places that I felt inspired to be myself, in the sure knowledge that there were other people that thought in a similar way.
The Picos have been all I could have imaged and more. Having led three tours there, 2017 offers the opportunity for you to taste what is so inspiring to me and many others.
The places we walk through on our tour have been preserved by the Spanish National Park system so that the environment has endured, rare species of plants and animals still thrive. The Iberian Bear, a species of European mammal unique to Spain, holds on here.
The people I have met in Spain have been so friendly they remind me of home, with just the added vitamin D! The culture is rural, and family oriented.
While people move to cities and the coast for work, a small but bijou tourism economy brings life to the region every year. A Spanish woman we met last year says she has been coming to the Picos for 30 years, as it is the most unspoiled part of her country.
We slept beside this lake last year. I woke in the morning and swam across it. I remember feeling fully alive and blessed. When I think about why I walk, or hike- when you think about why you walk, or hike- think of the places waiting to welcome us and our kind- to marvel at, enjoy and help preserve them.
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