One day The Bear Winnie the Pooh had been in the mountains. When he came back down he said “I did not know that we were creating so many great memories, I just thought we had a lot of fun.” And that is exactly what the Scouts and Explorers did on this beautiful February day in the mountains of Guadarrama and Cotos
We started by meeting up at Chamartin train station at 07.30AM on Saturday morning. This so that we could catch the 08.15AM train to Cercedilla and from there by train again to Cotos.
Once on the train everybody got a seat and could relax a little bit before what was awaiting them up in the snowy mountains.
Even the leaders had some time for some socializing and discussing future events.
At 09.35AM we changed train in Cercedilla, the train we were now taking was a very nice experience. The train from Cercedilla is following the road leading up in the mountains and the views and the landscape is very beautiful when passing by in slow speed on this somewhat antique train, but part of the history of the area.
At 10.20 we finally arrived to Cotos train station where our Mountain Guides were waiting for us. The weather was absolutely fantastic. We met with our guides and got our equipment sorted out and started walking towards the forest area where we would start our walk up the mountain. Everybody was still a little bit sleepy but excited.
We reached our Starting point after a half kilometer walk through the Cotos area. Everybody was warmed up after this and now it was time to go through the equipment we were going to use. Learning how to put the snowshoes on and safety instructions. We started our second warm up, putting on the Snowshoes.
Once everybody had managed to get the snowshoes fitted and working we could start our journey up the mountain. We were walking through the forest with its unique flora and beautiful pine trees. We were hoping to see the Iberian Wolf, but no luck.
The Scouts was doing very well walking up the mountain it was a lot of smiling faces despite the quiet tuff uphill we had in front of us, and for many a new experience walking with snowshoes. It is not always very easy, and there were a few obstacles on the way that everybody managed to pass without any problems. Working together we found the solutions and helped each other.
It was a bit tiring climbing uphill in the snow, so it was needed to take a small break.
After a break and a nap it was time to keep moving uphill again.
Once we reached our destination just below the highest point in Madrid we had a well deserved break for lunch. Now it was time to reflect over what we had achieved and enjoy the breathtaking landscape below and around us.
During lunch there was also time to explore the surroundings and play for a while in the snow.
After having had a well-deserved break with some hot beverages and food it was time to learn some mountain and snow survival skills. We learned how to build a snow shelter and an igloo. We also learned how to check how many hours of sunlight you would have left before it gets dark.
All the scouts were very focused and interested in what our guides had to teach them. We started making some blocks for an Igloo, perhaps next time we can complete one.
Everybody had a great time up in the mountains but we were running out of time. Using our three fingers to check how much sunlight we had left and knowing that we had a train to catch we had to clean up, pack our things and start walking down the mountain.
Walking down the mountain requires a different technique than walking up. But as we could do some sliding, willingly or unwillingly we had a lot of fun walking down.
On the way down we also learned about the Norwegian Slope, the Belgians who were working in the forest in the area and how the first pair of skies came to Spain.
The troop kept moving down the mountain sliding in the snow and having fun. Once back in Cotos we returned the snow shoes to the guides and said thank you. And we had to walk back to our train that was waiting. Our journey back to St George’s School started. Once we got back to the school the scouts who did not join us in the mountains had prepared some hot chocolate for us.
We all enjoyed the day in the mountains and Winnie was right we had created a lot of memories while having fun. Once we returned to St Georges school and had received some nice hot chocolate, all scouts took a moment in the library to reflect and write down their memories from the day.
And here are some of the comments the Scouts wrote down:
“It made me happy getting stuck in the snow. It also made me sad that we didn’t have more time to throw snowballs.”
“I loved snowshoeing in the snow. I also enjoyed building an igloo and having a snowball fight with friends.”
“One of my favorite things was the journey up the mountain on the small train and seeing more and more snow as we got higher.”
“Walking up was hard, but the view at the top was worth it.”
“Walking back down the mountain was fun as you could just slide.”
“It was fun. I think the guide was very nice. There were some beautiful views. And I would do it again. I liked it when we went the way down, and also the way up.”
“I enjoyed it a lot because I love the snow and trekking.”
“We learned a lot of survival skills, and lots of fun.”