Spanish Explore 2nd-4th August

We bought a small hiking tent 2 years ago with the aim of heading off into the hills exploring and being self sufficient as such. We had been busy looking at maps to do a 3 day loop from the barn into Spain and back again and had come up with a plan. Forecast looked great for the first 2 days and overcast for the 3rd day so we thought lets just go.

Heavily ladened with tent, stove, sleeping kit, Westlers ration packs etc etc we headed off from the old mine area just above Salau and up to Coldu Crusous and up again to Cap Rhuos. We have done this walk before but with a heavy pack it was much harder going especially in the scorchio heat. Great views at the top into Spain and the lakes where we were heading.

Terrain at first for the descent was fine but then the path vanished, route finding became more tricky and the ground became super steep so it took us quite a while to get down to the main path below by which time we were well and truly ready for lunch. The Spanish Lake Estany del Port was busy with families doing a gentle walk up from the car park and swimming in the lake.

We found a great campsite spot just below the lakes right next to a water source area which made life easy. We got there about 4pm so quite a long day after starting at 830am but fun.

Had a lovely night wild camping, eating Westler Ration Packs and supping te. Nobody about and lovely views and a good nights sleep. A nice swimming hole 2 seconds from the tent so I could have a dip in the river and Al even got his feet wet!!!

Woke up to the alarm as we knew we had a big day ahead…..but had no idea just how BIG a day it was going to be. Porridge and tea and packed up and away by 8am and off we set. My feet had recovered so we were full steam ahead! What a stunning walk up to Mt Rouch refugio at 2300m, following a very picturesque river all the way up with stunning waterfalls. Had a snack break at the first lake just below the refuge before climbing up and up to all the different lakes, magical. Lunch at the top lake before climbing up to a Col. We  dipped down to a small lake where we had lunch and tried to work out where we were adn realised we still had another monster climb to go. hey ho best foot forward and actually the climb up was fine it was the descent which was a total killer. 1200m boulder hopping, scree slopes and steep terrain. I was fading rapidly and by the time we got to a river I plunged into it in the hope it would re charge me for the final descent. Some small route finding issue added an extra 30 mins to they day. We were very happy to get to the tiny road and see a sign saying refugio 1.7km when on the map it looked like 4km which was doubtful I would have made it! Anyway off we trundled and got to the Refugio Del Fornet at 745pm and can honestly say was very happy to be there. 15 mins later the heavens opened, thunder and lightning how lucky we did not get caught in that!

What a superb refugio warm welcome, took one look at me and gave us our own room which was a real bonus and then a suprb meal, mushroom soup, goat, sausage and patatas bravas casserole and apple strudle. A large glass of wine and asleep by 930pm!

Forecast did not look great for the final day but the gods were on our side. 6am hail and then thunder and rain by 930am when we left sunshine and glorious. Wonderful brekky of cheeses, hams, salamis, croissants and rolls plus lots of coffee for Al and we were off again. We were told about 2.5 horus up to Port de Salau from the refugio so when we made it in 1.5 hours we were chuffed. A warm climb up but stunning and very different from the French side. Got to the col in sunshine and 5 mins later the clouds came in. Not a problem as we know the route back to the barn quite well but after 30 mins we came out of the cloud and steadily climbed back to the barn.

Lots of fun except the last 3 hours of day 2!
Rest of the pm was sorting out kit, a dip in the river, hot shower for Al under the tree after he very kindly said he would cycle to the mine to get Billy. It is quite a long climb up after 3 hard days!

Had Keith and Lyn’s Christmas pressie for an early supper which can best be described as a pork shank. Already pre cooked so we raosted it for 30 mins in white wine and wild mushrooms and it was truly scrummy with herby rosemary roasties and veggies from the garden. An early night.

 

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