While you read this post we are in our adventure trip in Namibia. During these days it is difficult for us to connect to answer comments and share thoughts. However, don’t stop doing them. We will read them asap! Today we should be around Swakopmund where we had planned a 4×4 excursion to the Skeleton Coast, a jet flight above Namib desert and a horse riding through a Moon landscape. Soon you’ll read about this! See you soon!
Alps? Andes? Himalaya? No, Pyrenees!
Pyrenees are unknown for many people around the world. This mountain range that separates Spain and France has many places that don’t envy the greatest ranges in the world. One of the most beautiful landscapes is Aigüestortes in the National Park with the same name. It is located in Lleida province, Catalonia, and offers peaks higher than 3000m, frozen lakes and old glacier valleys. We organized a family trip with snow rackets in one spring day.
It was early in the morning near Sort, in the lowest part of the valley. We got up in a typical mountain house that we rented. Wood, stone and a sunbeam crossing the window towards the table full of things to eat for breakfast. We needed to take energy to climb with snow rackets to the Amitges Refuge.
We left the house and we headed towards Espot, the last village before crossing the border of the National Park. In Espot we rented the snow rackets and bought the tickets for the 4×4 taxi that took us to Estany de Sant Maurici (St Mauritius Lake). This is the starting point of many excursions through the Park and it is situated just under Els Encantats! (The haunted).
The legend says…
Once upon a time, in Espot village, two haunters were in the mass in the Holy Thursday. However, they didn’t believe in God, neither in saints and they start laughing and making fun of those people praying to a sculpture made of stone, their patron. “While you loose time praying to a stone, we are going to hunt the best prey you have ever seen” they said, and left towards the mountains looking for that prey.
At some point they cross the look with a magnificent deer. Both with their dog started to chase the deer while a storm started to form above their heads.
And then they found a good location to prepare themselves for the perfect shot that should kill the deer. Behind some brushes they pointed the guns at the deer. Three, two, one… and when they were almost pulling the trigger a lightning hit them, turning them into two giants made of stone, Els Encantats.
We started our excursion through the north face of Sant Maurici valley. It is a steep walk, quite easy in summer but difficult when there is snow in the path. And this was the case, more than 2 metres of snow depth in the highest point of the excursion. However, the views are stunning along the trip. Frozen lakes, mountain rivers with the first melted snow of the year…
We did this trip during the Holy Week like the two hunters and also like them we had a thunderstorm forming above our heads. As we were heading towards the refuge it started to snow. It was a light snow first, something beautiful and nice to photograph. But slowly intensity started to increase and it made difficult for us to do every new step. We were around 2,300 metres above sea level.
But there were just 80 climbing metres left. The last part before reaching the Amitges refuge is the steepest part. 80 metres dip to be done in just 80 metres. We were exhausted and it was heavily snowing. But an adventure mindset never lets you give up when you are so close to your goal. And also for those that you are guiding, because you know the kind of feeling they will have when reaching the top after a final and difficult ascension.
And we did it! We reached the Amitges Refuge while the heavy snow outside looked more beautiful from a warm place. We had lunch there and waited for a better weather to start our descent.
The descent was easier and faster as it has to be. We were happy to have had a nice family adventure with all the ingredients that make you have an unforgettable memory.