So a few weeks ago, some friends and I decided to participate in an annual hike put on by the major bank of La Rioja (CajaRioja). It is called Hoyos de Iregua, and it is a 37.5 km (22 miles for my Americans out there) through the mountains in southern La Rioja. I thought what a perfect way to get to know the new region where I will be living for a year, and I love hiking! What a great combo-perfect!
I really wish I had considered just how far 37.5 kilometers is. Let’s just say it was challenging. I have done some long hikes in my life, but this one was up there. My feet hurt for days afterward, but completing it was extremely gratifying and felt great. It was a huge hike since it was sponsored; I think about 1000 people do it every year, so when we started out, we were surrounded by people which wasn’t fun at first, but then once everyone got their own pace, it was really spread out and we couldn’t see people for the most part. I also got to meet some really interesting people too. Many of the hikers were curious as to why a couple of Americans were participating in something super local, but many people would try to speak in English with us, or even just yell some words of motivation and encouragement as we passed by. It made for some great company and conversations as the say passed by, and I made some new friends that I am still in contact with, which was lovely.
CajaRioja organized a bus out of Logroño to the base of the hike and back at the end of the day, which is great for those of us without cars. The hike was more or less clearly marked, and we passed through some beautiful terrain, woods and forests, streams and fields, up and down many many mountains, past a lot of livestock (cow pies EVERYWHERE!), out in the hot sun, and in the shade; I was pleasantly surprised by the landscape up here. I love how green it was! There were three organized check-points along the way where we could rest and restock up on water and food, which meant we didn’t have to bring too much with us, also a plus. At the lunch stop, they gave us delicious bocadillos and red wine. You know you live in La Rioja when they serve you red wine to refresh you on a 22 mile hike.
10 hours later we crawled back on the bus back to Logroño, muddy, filthy, and completely happy. As a reward for completing the challenge, we received a small poster with our info, a t-shirt, and a box of local milk. Random? All in all it was a great day, and I am really glad I did it!
Have you ever gone hiking in Spain? What is your idea of getting to know your new landscape?
2 Comments on “Hoyos de Iregua Hike”
Oh yeah. I was dead after that hike. it took all my energy left to shower and then wolf down a huuuuuge meal with some tinto of course! good times 🙂
You look so happy/exhausted in the final picture! Also, I think after hiking that much you probably got to eat lots of good food/drink some good wine!