Monday, August 28, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
Even though i've promised to give my tired legs a rest the urge to explore is just too strong and spend all afternoon just wandering about.
It's spectacular and something totally different from the Pyrenees, I'm jealous of all the people climbing though.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Descend back down to the valley right by the Cascada del Cinca, Monte Perdido still hiding amongst the clouds and then up to Llanos de La Larri before calling it a day, in fact calling it 21 days because this was our last day of hiking in the Pyrenees.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
First stop is Valle de Añisclo and we do a short route here. See the Ermita de San Urbez although we're left wondering about the history behind it because our Spanish isn't up to much.
Camp in the Pineta valley, after hearing cracks of thunder we decide that perhaps guy ropes might be a good idea after all and get safely inside the tent just as the downpour begins, the thunder's not loud enough to stop me sleeping though!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
This one particular chamois was very friendly, although turned out she had an ulterior motive and was actually after my lunch.
Spend a couple of hours before retracing our steps and then continuing along the circuit. Have some fun with echoes and then start the descent. My knees are complaining with every step.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Zig zag up Senda de los Cazadores, quickly need to strip off most of the layers we'd wrapped ourselves in in the cold morning. Enjoy the view from the mirador and then along the Faja de Pelay with great views all the way. Arrive at the Circo de Soaso where we rejoin the crowds, but it's nice to relax enjoy lunch in the sunshine besides the Cascada de Cola de Cabello. And i must have been relaxed because a lizard walked right on over me as I was laying down.
A sign directing to the Refugio de Goriz por clavijas intrigues me and after watching several people make their way up a seemingly un-passable (from a distance) cliff face we decide to go and investigate. Turns out they're sections where pegs and chains allow you to 'climb' the rock. Of course we had to go up. At the top it seemed sensible to do a figure of 8 and return to waterfall via the 'sendero' path. From there it was an easy walk back down the valley back to La Pradera de Ordesa, with plenty of 'cascadas' to see along the way.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Along the Valle d'Estos on the GR11 and then up to Ibón Gran de Batisielles, we're in Aragón now so no more Estany's for us. We complete a survey for some girls working for an Aragonese mountaineering organisation, they were quite excited to be able to put down England & Australia for countries of origin!
It's not a particularly long walk but the days of hiking are starting to take their toll and my feet kill at the end of it. So it's nice to be able to enjoy the scenery on the way to Torla from the comfort of the car.
Camp under a blanket of stars, the first time we've really been able to appreciate them.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Distance hiked: 22km
Ascent: 1,200m (Route)
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Then from Lleida up to Benasque, pick up two Czech boys who are trying to hitch hike to Toulouse, thus my hitch hiking karma is restored. Plus it's nice to have some company aside from Spanish radio.
Reach Benasque and the rain that has been threatening finally arrives. Benasque is a lot bigger than expected and beginning to wonder whether I'll actually be able to find Barry again. Consider staking out the supermarket but there's more than one so probably not much point. Amazingly 30 minutes after I arrive I manage to find him.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
By this time I've had enough of Spanish public transport it's going to take way too much time and effort to get around the Pyrenees without a car. So from Lleida it's a train all the way back to Barcelona.
A quick search on the internet reveals car hire might actually be within my budget, although the stupid people at Hertz won't match their internet rates at their locations so I have to book the car hire for the following day and spend the night in a hostel in Barcelona.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
We'd arranged a taxi to the bus stop which was 8km from Espot on the main road, after being abandoned at the side of the road, there wasn't anything that resembled a bus stop nearby, we waited, and waited some more. An hour later we decided that for some reason or other, the bus wasn't coming. So still waiting for the sun to come up, we started walking towards Llavorsi, just trying to reach civilisation so we could sort out plans.
The first place we reach is Escaló, find a regular bus stop and discover there is a bus that runs to Sort Monday to Friday and it's arriving in 15 minutes. Think we're in luck, but it's another no show, put it down to an error in my translation of the Catalan bus timetable. With the heavens about to open it's time for a quick decision, we get a taxi to Sort in the hope we can continue our journey to Lleida from there.
Our first stop at the tourist information provides the explanation for the lack of buses, it's the 15th August - La Asunción de la Virgen and a spanish public holiday = no buses. Nice of the lady at the campsite who told us the bus times and booked the taxi and the taxi driver to inform us of this fact!
Resigned to the fact we're not going to get anywhere that day and the weather being atrocious we find a cheap hostal. Have a little wander round Sort but the rest of the day is spent catching up on some sleep and watching (not understanding mind you) Spanish TV.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Not the GR11 today but the GR11-20. A lot less busy in this section of the park, which was good, probably because it was pretty much a constant uphill climb. But the lakes at the end were spectacular, Estany Trullo and Estany Negre which is the deepest lake in the park at 117m. It was our third "Estany Negre" but none of them looked very black to me. No way of doing a loop trail today so it's back the way we came.
Total ascent 1,022 metres (Route Map)
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Well, after 5 days of pretty much solid walking it all
seemed like a bit too much! Ive got a nice infected
wound on my ankle (i have pretty pictures) and i spent
a day being sick so the gr11 has been put on hold. It
was getting to be too much like an endurance test.
Were still in Espot, doing lots of day walks round the
national park. We met some other people who started
the same time as us. They gave up after day 1! Well
probably stay here until monday and then make our way
to Benasque and do some multi day trips from there. So
as i said, not exactly going to plan, but the timings
in the book were ridiculously optimistic so we get to
see more of the best bits this way.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Total Descent 1,214m (Route Map)
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Decided to have a day of rest in Llavorsi and work out a plan.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Reach Vall Ferrera and so thumbs out we start walking towards Areu. Ten minutes later we're in luck and we're out the rain in a van with the heaters blowing and it's so nice! They dropped us at the main road and we walk another 2k before we manage to get a lift the rest of the way to Llavorsi.
Find ourselves a nice little campsite with friendly neighbours, they gave us some red wine when we first arrived, we must have looked like we needed it.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Walked down to the Refugi de Vall Ferrera and then up the Sotllo valley and Estany de Sotllo, so far so good.
Following red and white signs without too much thinking we eventually reach to the top of a coll after a very steep scree slope (this turned out to be Port de Sotllo at 2894m). At the top we're a little confused about the route but if you've climbed up one side of a coll the only correct way is to go down the other side - surely? Well, turns out that logic only works if you've gone up the right coll in the first place. Unfortunately for us we hadn't. By this time though it was getting late and we only had about an hour of light left. We just about manage to find somewhere where we can pitch the tent. So we spend a delightful night in France, trying to sleep on a 30 degree slope, there's some nice big rocks amongst the grass as well, just for good measure!
Sunday, August 06, 2006
The relief at being at the top is surpassed by the realisation of what we have to go down, a very steep scree slope. It's not as bad as it looks though and when you can just slide a lot of the way it makes it a bit quicker. Eventually start the more gentle descent down to Vall Ferrera.
Lots of cows around, but we eventually manage to find a few square metres free of cow pats to pitch the tent.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Going down the other side is almost as tiring as going up and we decide to call it a day when we reach Arinsal. We decide to head for a campsite recommended in the book, supposedly 4km down the road which you can catch a bus to. We get off the bus only to find the campsite is another 1.3km away - probably explains why the driver was confused and I just thought it was my bad Spanish. Head back to Arinsal and get a cheap room in a Hostal.
We're starting to realise that the timings in the book are ridiculously optimistic, actually pure fantasy would be a better way of describing them and there's lots of other little inaccuracies.
Friday, August 04, 2006
After getting some fuel (for us and the stove) it's straight into the hiking.
So far so good, we reach the Planell de les Basses and in the excitement of spotting the first red and white GR11 markers take a left instead of a right - doh! Luckily we realise before too long and after lunch get back on track. Manage to walk up the steep hill to the Coll d'Ordino twice after a bit of dithering about the route - doh 2!
Pass a couple who have been walking for 30 days, they tell us this is the worst part of the GR11 they have done so far, nothing like jumping in at the deep end.
We had a late start so push on until it starts to get dark, and then find the first available spot to pitch the tent.