Carros de Foc A Multi-day hike in the Catalan Pyrenees

In September 2014 we visited the amazing Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park in Cataluyna to do some day hikes. While there we discovered that it was possible to do a multi-day circular hike using the wonderful refugis as overnight accommodation - this hike takes on the name Carros de Foc (Chariots of Fire) but I think that is really for those crazy folks who manage to complete it in under 24 hours. Yes that is something people do.

We decided that we would prefer to savour our time in the mountains and make use of the refugis which also allows you to meet like minded people from all over the world. Fast forward one year to September 2015 and we returned for a fantastic week of hiking in the clean crisp air of the Catalonian Pyrenees. We started from Espot with our first stop being at Refugi d’Amitges which is shown in both the title image (above) as we approach it from the south and in the below image as we prepared to leave the following morning.

In the below image, the horizon above the trees in the centre of the image is where we would return from a few days hence to complete the circle.

Refugi Amitges.
Lac de Naut, near Refugi Saboredo which was a lunchtime stop on the second day

The second night was spent at Refugi Collomers after a longer day - I don't have a good image of this refugi but the views from just outside early morning more than make up for that oversight on my part.

Early morning view from Refugi Colomers
Early morning view from Refugi Colomers
On the way to Refugi Ventosa i Calvell with some early morning snow lingering in the shadows.
Perfect walking conditions
Refugi Ventosa i Calvell

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Looking toward the Col de Contraix (2700m) our highest point on the hike which you can see as a small notch in the skyline about 2/3 rds to right of frame. It got steep enough to require both hands and with some ice and snow added a bit of a hit to the adrenalin levels to this non-climber.
Early morning view from Refugi Ventosa i Calvell
Hidden valley

Looking back this time. You can just make out Refugi Ventosa i Calvell nestling among the wall to wall rock.

Barranc de Contraix
Hidden gems in the Barranc de Contraix
Onward to Refugi Colomina
Refugi Colomina
Mirror Mirror who is the fairest Refugi of all

Amazing mirror like conditions at Refugi JM Blanc.

At each refugi they will stamp your "passport" which you pre-arrange via the park web site.
The Carros de Foc route. This particular sign was outside a shop in Espot.

Credits:

Scott Cable

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