Monday, August 25, 2014

GVX2= glacial valley and great views. A Gruner Vietliner would have been okay too, but no such thing in this neighborhood!

Another sunny and wonderful day in the Pyrenees in Andorra. Sure we had to walk uphill for 2 hours, but we assented to ascent, so there you have it.

We started near the capital city of Andorra in national park and walked up a cobblestone way that reminded me of old Roman roads. Lots of really beautiful views all day of the valley cut by glaciers. This national park is a UNESCO heritage site predominantly because of the unique conifers on it. We also saw an abundance of wild flowers. This area is theoretically full of marmots and such critters, but wildlife was low except for the insects and lots of lizards. 

We hiked for about 4.5 hours total, gained 600 meters in elevation and descended about 300 meters. Except for the loose rocks on scree, it was pretty pleasurable hike with easy going for the last two hours.

We enjoyed dinner with our newfound British, Irish and Dutch friends at a local snackbar which served  authentic cuisine from three continents (NOT). I had a Balti bowl which appeared to have no spice whatsoever. But it tasted good. On a more positive note, a bottle of wine shared between four people called LOS SENORES cost 8 Euros!

Mountain Stream View on the trail

Abandoned village on the hike up

More of the village

More of the village

More of the village

 More of the village

More of the village

Very cold water near the top of the trail
Lunch was at this refuge -- lunch as in the plowman's version we carried in

Lunch was here -- Refuge De Font Verd -- a shelter with some actual running water and not much else

A view down the valley

A view back up the valley 

On the way back down

Rocky scree we hiked across from an old avalanche (looking uphill)

Back Up the Valley

Nearby mountains on the trail down

A view of the capital Andorra La Vella (from trail end )

Interior of the ancient church of Saint Miguel d'Engolasters (1200 AD)

Exterior of the church -- unique styling and if you look close, you'll see a head near the top

Paul's Ponderings:  Overall, for me, today was a better hike than yesterday.   It was still a tough uphill hike.   But, it was mostly in the shade going up, albeit for 1200 meters or so overall.   Coming down, we had a lot of rocky scree to cross with big boulders.    The views up the valley were spectacular.    This is as good as it gets as far as a day out hiking -- great scenery, beautiful weather, a trek that's tough but not too much so, varied scenery, mountain streams, incredible mountains.   Finish the day with cold beer and good company. What more could you ask for?

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