At 6am on August 20th 2011, together with Pepe Badaje, Jesús Labajo Yuste of Campo Base and muleteers, Toni and Jonni (not forgetting Pepito the mule!), we met at the Ventura trailhead above Lanjarón. We accessed the Rio Lanjarón via the Acequia Alta above the Ventura refugio. Getting a mule along parts of the old acequia was trying at times and took a long time. Once in the river valley we climbed up to the refuge and arrived there by 1pm.
Then it was down to work. Jesus and myself cleaned litter and stones from the building whilst Pepe started on the window. By the end of the day the hut was clean, the ancient wooden replacement window in place and the door frame cemented in. All the accumulated litter was taken back down to Lanjarón which we reached at 8pm, after a 5am start.
Next day was another incredible 7 hour round trip commute to work! Toni, Jonni and Pepito had slept at the Ventura trailhead. They still had another carry of paint and cement to perform. This time we accessed the refuge via the southern ridge. Some pathless terrain, but better for Pepito than the acequia of the previous day. Kiersten Rowland came along to assist with the painting.
The interior painting went well and the window was completed, but there were some problems with the door frame. It moved! Pepe used his ingenuity and managed to strengthen the frame using counter pressure. Not perfect, but the best we could do given the circumstances. We retired back downhill for the night.
We had a day of rest before we ventured uphill again on the Thursday. The most important task was to ensure the door was ok. In addition we had to clear the front and back of the refuge of stones and create a doorstep. We left cleaning materials in the refuge and a spade hung up outside to clear the snow away. When we departed the refuge looked great. But will the door last? Personally, I think not. I think a return trip just may be required. Vamos a Ver!
The plaque we left hanging up says it all.....
"With the humble effort of a mule, 2 drovers and 4 mountaineers. If all who use the refuge care and respect it. Keep it, the lake and the environment clean. Take our garbage and leave the window and door locked when we leave. We will continue to have shelter for many years to come"
Says it all really!