Laciana (León) with Kids I: Muxiven (2027m)

Pretty impressive, the guajes, nodded the ruddy Asturian mountaineer on meeting the three of us on the top of Peña Orniz, in Babia (León).

Guaje – that’s kid in Asturian.

And impressive it was. Not only Orniz, but Muxiven two days before, and Cueto Arbás, the day after. Three of the major peaks of the region – all in excess of 2000m in altitude – with only a “slower” day in which we explored a local forest. 

Water refill in Lumajo

It was my children’s first serious peakbagging holiday, and one they allegedly enjoyed. And, I’ll be honest with you. These were hikes I would have hiked on a solo holiday, too. 

The bigger picture. Western part of the Cordillera Cantábrica

Our base was a modest mountain inn in Caboalles, in the Laciana county. We had a simple room with three single beds and views, access to a  restaurant serving hearty meals, and a corner store nearby where we could stop for bread before the hike and snacks after.

Caboalles de abajo. Photo credit:

Day one we targeted Muxiven. Be careful, we were warned at the hostel, there was a heli rescue there yesterday. Hmm, I thought. I wonder. Is the ridgeline THAT exposed? I started worrying, trying to find as many reassuring trip reports as possible. Exposed ridgeline, I read. Well, whatever. We’ll get there, then we’ll make a call. 

Turned out the ridgeline had OK exposure- actually, it was a glorious walk

The walk from North to Central Muxiven
Enjoying the walk

And no other hikers on the summit, or anywhere else. That’s the thing with these mountains, as I had found out dring my rambles around Riaño. Lots of flies, making lunch more a quick pitstop than an actual delight. 

Views of Lumajo, the trailhead, from the summit

Still, it was a tough day. Most walking was offtrail (pretty common in the Cordillera Cantábrica, as I found out in Riaño), with  some route finding involved. On the way down we took a shortcut, for the sake of variety, and God oh God did I get to regret it. 

Thornbush, steep talus, no cellphone signal. I wondered, whatever will I do if someone sprains an ankle. Not like it hasn’t happened to me before. It was long, it was challenging. I was aware that the slghtest mishap could turn the day into a huge ordeal.

Negotiating the talus

Luckily we made it back to the normal route, eventually. 

Sorry guys – made a mistake. I’ll be more careful next time, I apologized while munching on another supermarket waffle. A true celebration.

No worries, daddy. 

Back in our village, we parked by the convience store.

What do you guys want? I asked. Sodas? Candy? Grab two of those, please!

My kids were reluctant. Where’s the catch? they thought. Is this the same guy who serves us whole grain pasta and rice and bans sugar from the table?

They were beginning to get acquainted with their dad’s mountain version.

Call it hiker trash, if you will. 


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