´The best views come after the hardest climbs´ (Unknown)
I can see San Pedro from our front window. He stands upright, out of place, in the forefront of the vast Sierra de Gaudarrama to the north of Madrid. He is like a small-ish afterthought of vast tectonic movement from millions of years ago, beckoning you towards the much mightier snow-capped peaks of the Sierra. Alas, San Pedro stands alone between Madrid and his superior peers, at a scalable height of 1450m, and easily accessible on a sky blue sunny afternoon (or not). It was during lockdown that I first become drawn to San Pedro.
As we entered phase one, we jumped into the car together for the first time for almost 3 months and headed towards the mountains, liberated. We soon realised that all the car parks were closed and the national parks were still not accessible to the public, so we decided to head home and contemplate a family movie. My daughter urged us not to though, and reminded us of the King´s Around the World Challenge and that we must do some physical exercise that would extend us beyond our normal routines. At that very moment, whilst cruising down the M-607, San Pedro appeared within our left hand side windows, teasing us to take him on. Two of us were well up for it, one was pretty neutral, and the other two not so keen at all. So I offered the incentive of 5 Euros each on completion of the climb for the school challenge and to support the four school charities. The challenge was on! We parked the car at the foot of the mountain and started our ascent together and in high spirits, relishing the new found freedom of phase one. The positive unity lasted barely five minutes as dissent and abandonment started to be expressed by certain members of the group. Regular false promises of nearly being at the top became the only strategy to get everyone to the summit, very much at the expense of good moods and humour. We made it though and soon realised how worthwhile the long wait, and difficult climb had been, to absorb the amazing 360 degree views together was a reward in itself and a satisfying family accomplishment.
We have now climbed San Pedro a number of times, and revert to him when seeking a closer to home challenge that doesn´t require a full day out and multiple ruck sacks full of sandwiches, snacks and drinks. My daughter has suggested that we climb him every month, seeing as our last ascent was in early January, con snow! A bold idea and challenge – accepted.
Let´s see how we go…