Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 43 - Monday 6 September 2004 - Stage 35
Postcard Summary (on tomorrow's card)
Empty Hotel to D’Incles Valley
Another good but hard day’s walk – 9.0 hours, 17 km, 1300m ascent
Best weather for a few days for a long but very well graded 1100 metre ascent to the
des Miners (2713m). Good views and very few people, then a
scrambly traverse and thrutchy climb to a peak (2505m) before descending to the
D’Incles valley where it took some time to find the campsite. Then we walked into Soldeu for a nice meal
beside a coach load of Germans. Col
Diary Entry (by Martin)
Hotel Tristaina's breakfast - continental as always - was good, and included delicious kiwi fruit. I felt rejuvenated after two short days and lots of food since reaching
discovered that we were the sole guests at the hotel - other people seen had
just been using the bar, etc in passing. Amazing how high season quickly evaporates
to no custom for these places - apart from coach parties if you can get them. Andorra
The sky was clear again, though we expected high cloud again later.
Hotel Tristaina - 1600 metres - 8.45 departure up to a hairpin bend recced by me last night. Nice ascent east in shade and trees (initially). 16°C. Very pleasant. We reached the end of a dirt road (luckily we only had to walk on it a little) after passing some Botanical Gardens - very quaint.
We soon reached the unmanned Sorteny Refuge at 1980 metres. (10 am) This had water outside and a toilet inside what otherwise was just a huge room with metal bunks, tables and benches. A strange selection of left over foods graced the shelves. We decided wild camping would be preferable here.
Suntan cream was applied and we continued the well graded ascent to Collada dels Meners (2713 metres), past Leopardsbane, Rockroses, Harebells and Dog Daisies, which are not yet 'over'.
Lots of flowers now are in their final throes - Pasque flowers and Willowherbs waving their seed heads merrily in the wind, and other plants taking on a very desiccated appearance.
We reached the col at 12.05, 10 minutes ahead of Georges Véron's timing.
But Sue was struggling, still being very tired and feeling unwell today. Knackered and needs a rest. So we ducked out of an easy walk up to Pic de Serrera (2912 metres), and headed down to a convenient lake for lunch. Very few people (7) seen today, but four of those were English! They were on day walks up to the col or the Pic.
12.45 to 1.20 - lunch with grasshoppers, soon left us with a short debate about which of three possible routes to take. We chose Georges Véron's old HRP route - the middle course - to Cabana Coms de Jan. A new 'GRP1' route seems to have been introduced (per latest map) which is better marked but may not be as much 'fun'. We enjoyed the scrambly bits and reached the Coms de Jan cabin (2 to 2.15), where we discovered it has been split into two - one section (locked) for a shepherd, and a small section for 2-3 people. Not very homely.
We tried to follow Véron's route to Collada del Clot Sord (2458 metres) and found a reasonable way (no real path), with a thrutch up the mountain at the end. A vague path led us across a scree slope to the west of the 2505 metre summit, at which we arrived at 3.40 pm. (We could alternatively have gone to the col / saddle, and would probably have easily scrambled to the summit.)
Then a 700 metre descent, pathless at first then marked with frequent yellow arrows and blobs.
This took us down to 2050 metres before a junction sent us off up Vall d'Incles, contouring past a balancing rock (Roca del Home Dret) before finally dumping us down a concrete road into the D'Incles valley.
We walked to the edge of Soldeu and asked in a bar ("where campsite?") The bemused man pointed up the road we had just come down ("1 km"). We then spotted two signposts within 100 metres of the bar, both pointing to 'Camping Font Dels Ferrosins', which we duly found at 5.40 pm, 1 km up the road we had just come down. Virtually empty, office shut, but hot showers working and a man arrived to be paid (€7.50) before we walked the half hour into Soldeu for a good meal surrounded by a coach load of overweight old German tourists, at Hotel Nandi, before a pleasant walk back to camp under the stars.
Stats and route (Viewranger):
17 km, 1500 metres ascent, 9 hours