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Aigüestortes National Park at the Pyrenees – Spain

Photos from previous tours – please, click on one of the photos to enlarge.

Aigüestortes National Park at the Pyrenees – Spain.

The Park’s correct name is Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park but usually is referred as Aigüestortes because the name is quite long.

Is located in the central area of the Spanish Pyrenees and is the only national park in Catalonia.

Its territory is divided between the municipalities of Vall d’Aran, Pallars Sobirá, Alta Ribagorça and Pallars Jussà, about 200 km West of Andorra.

Was created in 1955 and today covers an area of approximately 40,000 hectares also considering the peripheral protected areas.

Is a natural space of great beauty where both water and granite appears in their maximum splendor and in surprising combinations.

With a high concentration of ridges often around 3,000 m high, as is the Punta Alta (3,015 m) and the Contraix (2,960 m), you will find a high contrast with the deep green valleys where streams flow with crystal clear waters.

The first time I visited this park I didn’t know what to expect, I thought this was another Pyrenees park as beautiful as the others I knew. I was wrong.

In between my circle of friends it was not very known and back then I couldn’t find much information about it so it took me a while to be interested in going there.

I remember to join a group of friends to climb the Vignemale and after that, because I still had a few days to spend so, together with my friend Carlos Queirós we decided to visit the park.

The first two days was quite foggy so I couldn’t really appreciate the place but on the third day it was just amazing, it was like walking in a postcard, I

My company logo was inspired in the mountains of the park and my active tourism entrepreneurial endeavor was begun, important landmarks for me.

Have fun,

David Monteiro

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Walking the Congost de Mont-rebei, halfway to the Pyrenees – Spain

Walking the Congost de Mont-rebei, halfway to the Pyrenees - Spain

Nothing better like a nice walk to stretch your legs during a long van transfer, even better if is the Congost de Mont-rebei.

After a long flight, there is nothing worse than being seated in a car for 4 hours driving to doesn’t matter where. But that is what can happen when you are traveling to the Pyrenees after landing at the Barcelona Airport if you don’t have a backup plan.

Of course, you can fly to a closer airport like Huesca or Zaragoza. However, there are not many flights to those airports and in the end, it can take more time than getting there by car.

So, what to do to, at least to soften the long car ride? The answer is to stop somewhere nice for a walk and enjoy the place and instead of a long drive you just add an extra interesting day.

I was searching for a walk halfway to the Pyrenees because of the above reasons and this place caught my attention, is the Congost de Mont-rebei.

The Congost de Mont-rebei is the narrowest canyon of the river Noguera Ribagorzana, right in between the provinces of Huesca and Lleida, Spain.

Is located in quite remote hills and until the beginning of the XX century there were no roads to connect some local villages or with the existing roads, it was a very long ride. So, in 1912 a walking trail was built in the canyon to connect Corçà to Alsamora and other tinny little villages.

Later a river dam was also built and the first trail was flooded (you can see that in one of the photos) and was needed to build a new trail again but now in a higher altitude. In 1984 the second walking trail was finished allowing the people to cross from one side to the other.

More recently an iron bridge and some catwalks were added.

Map-Congost-Mont-rebei

The trail (red line) is not too far from Tremp, has 13 Km to each side without relevant elevation gain. Obviously, you can do a shorter distance because the most beautiful part of the trail is the canyon and it goes until the first 8 Km.

Allow me to suggest you take a sandwich or something else to bite, you will find a perfect place to do it, like my colleague in the photo.

Have fun.

David Monteiro

Location: Tremp, Spain

 

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Lac Negre, Pyrenees – Spain

Lac Negre, Pyrenees - Spain

A landscape can get stuck in your mind for many reasons not just because is astonishing. Sometimes you just don’t know why but you keep remembering the picture you mentally took or maybe you did it with your camera as well.

The Lac Negre, Black Lake in Catalan, is the case for me, it just pops up in my mind once in a while.

I keep going there on tour and, in between the 200 lakes of Aigüestortes National Park, this is the lake I better remember. I just don’t know why … yet.

Anyway, for your information, the Lac Negre is located here. It’s easy to access if you park your car at the Cavallers Dam parking lot here.

You can take the trail at the right side of the dam face upstream and you will find some signs pointing to the mountain hut Ventosa i Calvell. By the way, a mountain hut in Catalan “refugi”.

It will take you around 2h30m walking to the mountain hut and there you will find the lake.

Although I already did this walk a few times, usually I arrive at Ventosa i Calvell coming from another mountain hut while doing a trekking tour called Carros de Foc.

The water of the lack seems black because of some algae, the dark color of the granite and also because it never gets too much direct sunlight.

The best picture of the lake is during sunrise. Although for a photographer can seem obvious is also to say that during sunset the landscape can be quite flat, it loses the sensation of depth.

For several years I crossed this place during the first week of June when the mountain huts were starting their season and the scenery was always different. Sometimes it was all white from the snow/ice and some other years the snow/ice was long gone and everything was green under a deep blue sky.

I’m leaving you with some pictures of the lake, the mountain hut and where you can see also a mountain range on the background called Bessiberri.

Would you like to visit this lake?

David Monteiro

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Climbing “via ferrata” a wonderful adventure

A via ferrata (iron way) is a climbing route where you will find metallic structures installed on the rock walls.

According to some sources, this kind of climbing routes had their origin in Italy, where the alpine guides of Madonna di Campiglios (Dolomites) started to place some support metallic structures to facilitated their tours with customers.

This idea was than very well received by the Italian army that came to develop the concept between 1915 and 1918 allowing their soldiers to progress on apparently inaccessible mountain terrain and getting some advantage towards the enemy that couldn’t imagine such structures.

After the world wars, from a military use the “via ferratas” started to have only a touristic use and to be spread out to other countries.

More recently there was a great effort by the Spanish authorities in the direction of installing many “via ferratas” of excellent quality that allow an excellent sensation of adventure tothose that are more experienced climbers as well to those that are not so experienced.

In the area of the Spanish Pyrenees there are has a dispersed set of excellent examples of “via ferratas” and that gives the possibility of fantastic vacations.

Although the “via ferratas” allow an easier progression than climbing on the plain rock, the use of these structures respect a set of security rules that, in case you are not familiarized such techniques is preferable to use the services of a guide.

The via ferratas are graded in many ways. There are some difficulty level grading that can go from an easy level of 1, also referred as A, or an extremely difficult level or 5, also referred as E. You can find other kinds of grading that involve other criterias suchs as a psychological factor of the “via ferrata”.

During the tours I promote to climb via ferratas, concerning the lodging terms I opt to present possibilities of reasonable economic lodging but with the basic comforts as privative bath. However, is always possible to find lodgings in accordance with one needs and pocket..

A memorable adventure.

David Monteiro

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Trekking Tours – what are

trekking04Trekking tours are tours where the participants will walk several days autonomously in mountain environment. By autonomously I mean having in one’s backpack all that will be needed for the tours days.

Well, in my trekking tours I usually use mountain huts to spend the night and is also where we can have our meals. I do not usually camp unless when the guests expressively ask for that.trekking05

The mountain huts are constructions, houses type, that can be found n isolated places in mountains as it is the case of the photo that if it sees here to the side.

trekking02

In these huts you can sleep in huge rooms that can hold 20, 30, or more persons, depending of the capacity of each hut. In some huts you will find bunks and in others you will find wooden decks with mattresses and blankets where you and sleep.

In each tour day you will have a certain trail to accomplish, usually until the next hut.

trekking03

The use of huts will prevent you from carrying all the gear and all the food, allowing you to enjoy more the landscape and the trail itself. In these huts you also have the possibility to meet other people that come from other countries and these sort of moments are something that always makes part of the stories we will tell later.

trekking01

The trails we will accomplish are adjusted to the difficulty level announced in the tours brochures.

Only for being a mountain trekking tour does not mean that will be d
emanding. If in the brochure is referred to be an easy level tour so it will be easy (for a common person) however if the tour is classified as strenuous so you can also count on that as well.

I will be waiting for you.Are you ready to join me for a trekking adventure?

David Monteiro

 

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Active vacations in the Pyrenees

We look at the Pyrenees as a great natural border between Spain and France, a border with about 400 km of mountains that frequent exceeds 2000m of height.

It is in this mountainous chain that you can find the highest peak of mainland Spain, is the Aneto peak with 3.404m high. This peak is located in Natural park Posets-Maladeta near the Benasque, a small village of the province of Huesca, autonomous community of Aragón.

The landscapes that we can find in the Pyrenees very are diversified and, if you consider the great differences of scenes between the stations of the year, the diversity will be even wider.

With more than 400Km’ extension and with such diversity of landscapes, I find always quite odd when someone tells me that knows the Pyrenees having been there once or twice … that is, at least, very strange… is the same as to know the Museum of the Louvre in one hour.

I do not intend to cover all the diversity and extension of the Pyrenees in this post, such task was ridicule, but only to awake your curiosity concerning these mountains.

In this mountainous chain you will be able to find several Parks, National and another type of protected Natural areas where each one of these areas has its proper beauty and you will easily find many reasons for a visit.

Between those protected areas, I will write more frequently about the following:

– National Park of Aigüestortes;

– National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido;

– Natural Park of “Sierra y Cañones de Guara” (Pre-Pyrenees);

– Natural Park of Posests and Maladeta

Also I do not intend to all cover the type of activities that you can do around here but only to tell a few stories and some curious things that happened during my tours.

I will be writing about walking, trekking, via ferratas, wine, gastronomy, History and culture in general.

I will also waiting to guide you in the Pyrenees to live some adventure.

David Monteiro