Hiking through the snow on our summer vacation
Trip Start Apr 26, 2010
169Trip End Dec 02, 2010
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Today I woke up rather cold. You really underestimate how chilly it is up in the mountains, even though its summer. After a lazy start to the morning – we decided not to run since we were going walking, we heading to the tourist information centre in La Massana, as our guidebook suggested they were quite good. And they were right. We got a whole lot of brochures on walking routes and a few maps which were really handy. The information people spoke a bit of English and they suggested a route that took in a few lakes. Although they said that there may be some snow getting past the first lake. The picture in the brochure looked pretty so we headed off.
We drove up and up and up into the mountains and it was so beautiful
The last town we headed through was called El Serrat and then it was into the skifields. We could see quite a bit of snow in the mountains and the skifields still had some snow too. Absolutely crazy to think that we were camping by the beach yesterday and now we were seeing snow. Well there was a heap of snow, so much so that the road was blocked in one section so we had to park up. We got out to have a look around and it was bloody freezing. I wasn't exactly well dressed for the situation really.
So we were stuck – do we see if we can walk to the walking track or go and find another walk. Originally I tried to find another walk I wanted to do, but the lakes just looked so pretty and were definitely winning the scenic battle compared to pretty grassy countryside. So we found some thermals and jackets and headed around the snow and up the road. Just around a few corners the road was completely covered in snow, so had we manoeuvred around the first road block, we wouldn't have been able to drive far after that
I had a few giggles to myself at this stage that we were trekking through snow at this stage. It still amuses me that I was in a singlet yesterday and today I was traipsing through the white stuff. Very funny.
So we made it to the walking track, and most of it was covered in snow. I took us a while to actually find the track, which was a series of rocks with yellow dots painted on it. So we headed down to the river, crossed it and headed up the hill to find this first lake. There was less snow heading up the hill so it was all about climbing the rocks really. There was a single hiker in front of us a wee way, but he had poles, which would have been mighty handy about now. We reached the top and the lake was really beautiful. It was surrounded in snow and most of it was actually frozen. I'd never really been up to the mountains before and it was absolutely magic. Really glad we decided to tough out the snow and walk.
From here I wanted to carry on and since it was a circular route we had two options. Go up the hill to the left, or walk around to the right of the lake in the snow. So we headed up the hill first, only to find most of it was covered in snow too, and we soon lost the yellow dots on the rocks as they had been buried in snow. We tried to avoid walking straight up in the knee deep snow so headed around the side between the trees and ended up climbing somewhat of a cliff face. Going up is okay, looking down, not so much fun. After clambering our way up, clinging on to the tree roots, we managed to find the path again to the top of the hill where we could see the middle lake
We decided, since we could see the rest was all covered in snow, and our suitable hiking boots were merely running shoes, that we would head back. Fortunately we found another track down to one of the skifields that wasn't so covered in snow and meant we didn’t have to return down the steep tracks, thank goodness.
We made some lunch on some picnic tables at the skifield restaurant – which again I found funny, since we were the only people there then headed back to the car. In the rest of the afternoon we headed into Andorra la Vella and went shopping since it was a cheap place to shop. There were some good deals on things like handbags etc, but the main deals were on the big branded items, like you would have in duty free. So good deals if you could afford those brands, but not for me. I didn’t buy a single thing.
Alcohol was cheap though. You could buy a large bottle of Smirnoff for 6.50 euros and a bottle of Malibu for 8.50, so that was pretty good. We also saw a bottle of limited edition water for 76 euros – not from anywhere flash – Tennessee in America – so how bout that huh?
And that was about our day really. Tomorrow we are going to go for another walk and then head into France somewhere – knackered and off to bed!