Refuge high in the Pyrenees
AS I stood and gazed in awe at the legendary Pyrenees soaring into the sky directly ahead, the soulful words of Marvin Gaye began playing in my mind.
Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
A year ago I tentatively dipped my toe into the water with my first overnight hike (NZ's spectacular Kepler Track) and from there my partner and I decided there was only one way to go - onwards and upwards.
So fast-forward to central Spain's World Heritage-listed Ordesa National Park and the latest challenge - a picturesque five-hour hike along the Ordesa Valley and up the Pyrenees to a height of 2195m and our evening accommodation at the 80-bunk Refugio Goriz.
For many the refuge serves as base camp for the more challenging climb to the 3355m summit of Spain's third-highest peak, Monte Perdido, but for us it was the perfect challenge in itself.
It's hard to describe the scale of the Pyrenees. You actually have to be standing there yourself, looking up at the towering wall of rock, to fully appreciate their enormity.
Hopefully the accompanying photographs give at least some idea of their ability to make mere mortals feel somewhat insignificant.
The walk to Goriz gives ample opportunity to stand and stare in amazement and we found ourselves stopping regularly and doing just that.
The route is dotted with waterfalls and we timed our departure to ensure there was no great rush to reach the night's lodgings. There's too much beauty on offer to be in a hurry.
The refuge is comfortable, but its facilities aren't quite Hilton or Hyatt, so much of the relaxation instead comes via nature's own serene beauty.
Life's real or imagined problems simply fade away as you sit in silence, looking and listening to the water tumbling over well-worn rocks to the valley below.
Yes, I could definitely get used to this hiking life.
Next stop, the French Pyrenees.
Getting there: The beautiful village of Torla is a 9km drive from the carpark at the Goriz walk's departure point in the national park. Torla is a four-hour drive northwest of Barcelona.