Hiking in Etxauri – Spain

Navarra, Spain, December 2019.

Etxauri is a Basque village near Pamplona in Spain and the mountain is popular with rock climbers.

We drove half way up the mountain, parked up, and simply followed a path to the top of the mountain. It was steep and a bit slippery since it had been raining in the night.

The trees were Portuguese Oak. The leaves were similar to the oak trees that I am familiar with, but much smaller. They are also evergreen.

We followed the white and red symbols. Here is a touchstone about half way up where people have engraved their names with penknives.

The path became increasingly narrow and precarious and we clambered up using our hands as well.

We all felt the urge to add a stone to the little monument.

A few times we brought up the subject about some of our friends being unable to join us because they are in relationships where they have little to no time to themselves. We don’t know the real reasons or what was said behind close doors, but nonetheless it’s important to have time with positive and active freinds.

We talk a lot of nonsense and make jokes but we also offer advice to help a friend find the best way of resolving a situation. That was definitely the case when we were stood at the bar having a post-hike beer.

It reminded me of something I read recently.

According to John Gray in his book, ‘Conscious Men’, men and women approach problems in different ways. Women will express her feelings with her friends who will show interest and compassion. This releases oxytocin and women can reingage with her intuition and find the best solution. Men, will say the problem and other men will offer solutions until the information is distilled, and a potential optimal solution found. This releases dopamine.

A lot of men don’t talk about their problems, however. It’s lucky the topic did come up with a friend, but only after we had walked up a mountain and back down again. And even then, the topic only came up by chance.

I wonder, if in future, I’ll endevour to actively ‘check in’ with friends to make sure that there is definitely a safe time slot allocated to saying anything that is on your mind – and so we don’t leave it to chance, or miss the opportunity.