Hiking to Casamanya

Yesterday we ascended Casamanya, a 2,740m giant that we see every time we do groceries but that we had never climbed over its southern face. It was sunny, but chilly breezes that seemed to know when it became too hot, regularly washed over us making the climb a joy. We have had a warm winter, and a trail that would normally be covered with snow, only had sparse patches. And even though the conditions were perfect, we came across so few people that it felt like the mountain was ours.

The surrounding mountains did have more snow and that, alongside the crisper air, gave the day a quality of stillness and tranquility that isn’t there in other seasons.

The first part of the hike was quite steep, and our attention went to the breath while the body became used to today’s demands. Later, with a gentler incline and our bodies used to the increased demand, we chatted and brainstormed. And during the final stretch, when we were already looking over birds and the tree line, we focused again on the physicality of the increased steepness. Feeling comfortable with silence is a superpower, you see things that otherwise pass you by. Luckily I have a companion that shares this value.

Picture of the way up to Casamanya.
Picture of the way up to Casamanya.

When we reached the top we rested for a long time, we ate hummus with toasted bread, and we immersed ourselves in the rewarding experience. It felt so good that it seemed out of proportion with the work we did: we simply put one step in front of the other. It made me think of the importance of positioning yourself so that you love what you do. When you love the process, not the outcome, life feels like constant play. Negative emotions and tensions don’t grow in that environment.

The summit at 2,740m.
The summit at 2,740m.

I noticed something else. I experienced the profound and nearly complete mental stillness that I’ve felt before during some hikes. After seconds of being one with the sky, of imagining the mountains around us taking form and changing over the timelessness of millions of years, of listening to the deep hum of the massive amount of wind slowly drifting around us, I heard the voice of my inner Gollum and Mr. Scrooge mind: “What’s this? We didn’t gain money or possessions. This didn’t feel like sex or like solving a hard problem. We just stood here. Why does it feel so good and right?”

View of the Pyrenees.
View of the Pyrenees.

Feeling part of the vast sky.
Feeling part of the vast sky.

I didn’t engage. I went back to the senses and to the stillness, and I enjoyed a few more moments of intense peace and vastness. Contentment, or santosha as it’s called in yoga, means not to desire anything other than what you already possess. In moments like this, when I feel so complete, I try hard to pay attention. Even when we know we have the most valuable gems of all already inside ourselves, gems that nobody can take away, we still sometimes forget them.

Loes lost in the immensity that surrounded us.
Loes lost in the immensity that surrounded us.

This entry is part of the series Andorra (2020 - Present):

  1. Hiking to Étangs De Fontargente
  2. Hiking to Coll d'Arenes
  3. Hiking to Casamanya (This entry)