The Route

Having visited the Pyrenees 4 times already, including 2 complete traverses of the GR11 and HRP, my trip in 2013 was all about filling in a few blanks, and bagging a few summits along the way. The 15-day route covered about 400km from Eyne-Bolquere train station to Gavarnie, with 25,000 metres of ascent. The route largely followed the GR11 once I'd reached Andorra, but also climbed the following 7 summits:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 3 - Across Andorra from Upper Madriu Valley to Arinsal

Distance: 27km, Ascent: 1900m, Descent: 2680m

View Pyrenees 2013 - Day 3 in a larger map

Day 3 started out with a long descent to Encamp that took longer than I expected, so it was around 11am and scorching hot when I dropped into the town, and was struggling to remember where the supermarket was.  I felt a bit time-pressured since I had originally planned to reach the Coma Pedrosa Refuge today, but that was already looking unlikely, so I decided to have a proper early lunch stop in the park at Encamp.

It's always difficult seeing people lazing around a swimming pool when you've set yourself a challenging hike.  I didn't want to dilly dally too long in Encamp but found it hard to get going again in the full mid-day heat, with a 900m climb to Coll d'Ordino.

The section through to Arans was all quite hot and tiring, and the col over to Arinsal has a steep rough trail on both sides that lacks any nice graded zig-zags, making it feel hard work.  So I felt fairly jaded when I reached Arinsal, and was disappointed but not entirely surprised to find the supermarket shut on a Sunday evening.  I needed food pretty much straight away, so dived into the bar next door to order burger and chips.  It was about to get dark and the options for camping did not look great, so I booked into a hotel on the main street with the plan of a super-early start tomorrow to make up the time on not reaching the Coma Pedrosa hut this evening.

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