Leslie had a handful of days to himself, with Bianca opting for ‘friends’ and ‘running water’ in Barcelona. SAD.
Not wanting to stray too far away, he drove a whole hour from the city to a nice little area of mountains called Montseny. Here’s the trip highlights from life in the van.
First of all, this was Leslie’s debut sleeping in the van alone. He parked in El Brull, a town, no, village, eh...church and football pitch. Thick fog was his only neighbour. It was relatively peaceful. However, it still made for a night of broken sleep with the fear of a break in present.
There was no break-in.
The alarm went off at 6.20am to drive to the first hike up:
Feeling like an idiot, he trudged up in the thick fog, drone in hand. The hike itself is a relatively straight forward quad burner. It is well sign posted and a popular track in the region.
The views were non-existent. All this hike was was a workout (which was well needed). That was Leslie’s mentality until about 3/4 of the way up.
The fog seemed to thin out. Then he realised, it wasn’t fog. It was the cloud line.
The camera bag was dropped immediately and the drone came out to play. It was beautiful. It had that feeling of when on a plane. Peaceful.
The summit was more of the same.
Midweek, the sunrise hike was accompanied by about 3 people in total. Not a bad amount for such a popular hike.
Leslie soaked in the views before returning to the van to cool off in:
Again, being midweek was a bit of a hack. There was parking down by the idyllic river, which was a bit of a miracle.
Togs on. Get involved.
Leslie washed the sweat from his body in the cold river water before heating up again in the early October Spanish sun.
Montseny is the main town in the mountains, but again, there’s not much happening. At all. Bring everything you need with you. There’s no Lidl up here.
With the sweat off his body, but still stinking, Leslie drove to his next campsite:
Turo de l'Home
It was getting well into the evening and the road up was pure punishment on the van.
Unbelievable potholes lined the steep road.
The sweat was worse than the hike due to pure anxiety. But he made it.
Parked in thick fog once again, Leslie felt like an idiot walking up the mountain with his camera in hand.
Fortune favours the ignorant.
The sun was low, beaming through the low lying clouds. It was absolutely stunning.
It was actually very difficult to photograph but sometimes it’s better to put the camera down and take in what’s happening.
It was a calm, blissful evening. A stark contrast to what happened the next night.
It was a very relaxed and slow day. Lidl just outside the reserve supplied some pastries and that was the extent of it.
Leslie was feeling restless, though.
Let’s do a sunset hike back at the Matagalls. With such luck the first time, Leslie brought his tripod to try and capture a stunning timelapse.
Again, trudging through the fog, Leslie had hoped to rise above it.
What lay at the top was dense cloud. It was dark, too. Very dark.
With a notification that his phone had hit 20% battery, he began the long walk back.
No more than a minute later, there was a flash in the sky.
‘Oh.’ Leslie said.
He shrugged it off.
Another flash lit up the sky.
‘No, no, no’ Leslie realised. His walk turned into a light jog.
A third flash, heavier than the prior two, lit up above him.
Leslie yelped like a dog. Alone on the mountain, the only response was his own echo.
Standing on the summit of a mountain with lighting above him was exceptionally scary. To add to it all, he was holding a hefty chunk of metal in the form of his camera tripod.
Now, Leslie did not see any lightning touch the ground where he was. However, the entire 1.5 hour half-jog down the mountain alone, greeted by a lightning strike in the sky every 5 seconds was enough to ‘strike’ fear in any man.
It was both surreal and terrifying. It came to a time where the lightning was welcomed because it actually allowed Leslie to see in front of him. The fact that there was a thunderstorm guiding his way down the mountain was numbing.
It was a complete and utter shitshow. But it was exciting. (Sorry mum)
One Last Dance
Another chill day ensued. There was a lust for more, though.
Matagalls had unfinished business. Leslie grabbed his tripod and began yet another evening hike to try to get a timelapse.
It was better.
Delicate clouds floated below Leslie, with the sun piercing behind them. Once again, it was absolutely gorgeous.
He chill vibed it as the camera went through the process. There was a cold wind that eventually took over from the beauty, but that was alright. Down he went.
Montseny is a great trip away from Barcelona. There’s probably not much point in going if it’s not to hike, we would imagine.
Matagalls hike is certainly a recommendation and even more so to do it at sunrise.
Montseny town had a beautiful river to cool off in. It might get busy on weekends, though, similar to the Matagalls hike.
Otherwise, there didn’t seem to be too much architecture, like Montserrat has. However, Montseny is that little bit wilder.
Always worth a drive-through at the least.
But a hike up here would not go a miss.
Now we see what Italy says.