Spend a day in the snow as if we were Inuits, but without having to go to the North Pole and without enduring temperatures of -30ºC... That is what Amadablam Aventura proposes in Puerto de Navacerrada: enjoy a family day in the mountains with the aim of showing, especially to the little ones, the way of life of this indigenous people from the Arctic (Alaska, Canada and Greenland), learning some of their techniques, and at the same time discovering the characteristics environmental conditions of the Sierra de Guadarrama in a fun way.
"The children will learn to walk with snowshoes and basic tips to go out into nature safely, such as how to orient themselves by following the signs of a trail, they will build an igloo, the traditional house of the Inuits or Eskimos that protects them from extreme freezing temperatures, or to identify a Scots pine”, Pedro González, head of Amadablam, tells us.
And by the way, these practices will also come in handy for adults, because knowing how to make a shelter in the snow can save our lives in a critical survival situation (hypothermia is the main cause of death in nature).
The meeting point for our Inuit day is the headquarters that Amadablam has at the Spanish Alpine Ski School, in the same Puerto de Navacerrada. There the guides distribute to the group of daring explorers the snowshoes, sticks and other material necessary for the activity. We have to carry the rest of the equipment: warm clothes, mountain boots and waterproof gloves (essential, and also take spare ones), backpack, water bottle, food and, lastly, sunglasses and sun protection cream.
The route that is taken is simple and beautiful, a route of about 4 kilometers round trip to the Tres Cogorros, which has some of the best panoramic views of the Sierra de Guadarrama, and that leaves from the military residence of El Cogorro, at the end of the road that leads to the mythical slopes of El Telégrafo and El Escaparate, where many of us from Madrid have learned to ski.
The guide teaches us to put on our snowshoes, one of the most efficient methods of movement for walking in recently fallen or deep snow. They have a toe and a heel that is worn loose when going up (leaving the ankle free for the natural movement of flexion) and when going down, it is attached to the heel.
The trail passes by the weather station of the port and heads towards the first Cogorro, where the Gallarza viewpoint is located (it bears the name of the pilot who made the first Madrid-Manila flight), with excellent views of the peaks of Peñalara and the north faces of the Bola del Mundo and Siete Picos.
When we have gotten used to walking with the snowshoes and we want to realize we are halfway there, and the guides are looking for our snow quarry (not only does it have to be a lot, it has to be compacted so that it can be cut into blocks) to build igloos.
Cutting exactly cubic blocks is not possible, the important thing is that they are as compact and large as possible. To create the structure, you have to place a first row of blocks forming a hexagon-shaped perimeter, and then successive rows of blocks are formed in a spiral and each time a little further inwards, forming a vault. Openings must be left to prevent condensation inside the igloo and snow melting.
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Lastly, the entrance and exit tunnel is built, which has to be deeper than the door to prevent the hot air that we have managed to trap inside from escaping.
After a well-deserved snack, we continue the march to the third Cogorro, also known as the Mirador de las Maravillas, where obviously, the panorama is wonderful: now we can also see the silhouette of the Dead Woman, Pile of Wheat, La Fuenfría and in the valley the thick green mantle of Valsaín pine forests...
We return by the same path to Puerto de Navacerrada after four hours working as Inuits. oh! To access the Port of Navacerrada in winter and not have to get up early, there is a shuttle bus that leaves the Cercedilla train station every half hour. Much more comfortable and sustainable.
Technical data sheet
Distance: 4 kilometers round trip.
Duration: 4 hours.
Age: From 4 years old.
Price: 27 euros adults / 22 euros children.
According to the criteria ofThe Trust Project