We set off early on a Saturday morning from Barcelona. 5 in a small car, 5 ready to spend a great weekend away from the concrete, the noise and the rush of the city. The park of Aigüestortes, in the north-west of Catalunya, is one of the most beautiful places in this region of Spain. Lakes, trees and tons of trails to explore.
From Barcelona you are at around 3h drive and the car is the only way to get to this remote place. There are however no less than 12 cabins in the park for you to spend the night. Wild camping is forbidden but you wont regret spending the evening in the common room with the locals, where card games and laughter mingle with the smells of wood and cooking diner.
Starting from the small village of Espot, we made our way to the start of the climb. The path quickly becomes steeper and you start to gain some elevation, between the oaks and pine trees. Streams criss-cross the path in various places makes this section a wet but enjoyable experience.
The river slowly carving the valley is almost always hidden from the trail. You know it is there from the slow rumble of its many hidden waterfalls. Wander off, let you steps be guided by your instinct of exploration. Do not disturb the surrounding nature in your search and you might be greeted by some spectacular views.
The last part of the ascent is very peaceful. We barely saw anyone else until reaching the plateau where the refuge awaits. By that time the sun was passing behind the surrounding mountains and it was getting cold. The wind, making the trees dance since we started from the village, died progressively. Everything was still when we got our first glimpse of the refuge and the view was quite spectacular.
We set off early the following morning from the refuge, perched on a small island right in the middle of the lake. The first part of the hike towards the Pic de Peguera is steep but the views it offers of the valley is simply amazing.
The Pic de Peguera rises at 2983m above sea level and offers a 360 view of the whole park. The last hundred or so meters of the ascent is far from easy and requires both climbing skills and a good head for heights. You can see in the distance the Pico Aneto and its glacier, highest mountain in the Pyrenees, culminating at 3,404 meters.