Trail Running near Bassa d’Oles (Spain)

View from 2,000 m near Cabana de Gèles. Photo © Siena Anstis.

I started this run from Era Bassa D’Oles, using to navigate a circulate route from the lake, up into the valley and a mountain pass at 2,000 m, and then down for a total of 9 km. After running through the forest on bike tracks and then over a gravel road, I ended up at a picnic area at the bottom of a mountain and followed the shape of the mountain parallel to the Barranc de Gèles up to Cabana de Gèles at around 1,900m and finally a little further up to 2,000m. After that, the most glorious running unfolded as I made my way around and back to the lake where I started. A narrow path cutting across the mountain side towards the blue green shadows in the distance. A herd of horses grazed and slept in the sunshine. I was alone–and, so it felt, on top–of the world. Over the years, I have started to find running utterly boring, but this is just the opposite. Far outside my comfort zone, navigating by map, but also much more by feeling and instinct, staying upright over unexpected roots and rocks, alone and mostly in control without cars, people, or bikes. The sense of exhilaration transforms running from a routine chore to fend off old demons, to a way to connect with the world around you. The ground under your feet, the cold of mud sucking at shoes, a herd of startled animals, the sun pushing down over the mountain, the threat of a storm in the changing patterns of the clouds, and the sheer unpredictability of each step.