WATER, water everywhere….. which comes from the melting snow.
A walk in the Aigüestortes national park in the Pyrenees of Cataluña means never having to be out of earshot of the magical sound of running water.
It comes principally from the abundant streams that plunge from peaks which soar over 3,000 metres. The waterways feed the glacial lakes, of which more than 200 can be seen in this area.
The rocky nature of the terrain means that waterfalls are ten a penny, but – although commonplace – each new example that appears around the next bend still has the power to take the viewer’s breath away.
And then there is the snow which, even at the beginning of July, still covers large swathes of the upper reaches of the mountains. There have been many heavy falls over the autumn, winter and spring and although the white stuff does present an obstruction on some of the higher paths and passes, the sheer joy of seeing – and rolling in the snow in high summer is something to savour.
The ubiquitous water means that flowers abound – pinks, purples and yellows which connive to create a rainbow of colours. And perhaps most captivating of all is the deep green of the highmountain grasslands. This pasture is enjoyed by the freeroaming cattle – and ramblers who love to feel springy turf beneath their feet.
Not surprisingly, the Parque Nacional de Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici (to give it its full title) enjoys the highest level of protection status in the country. It covers some 14,119 hectares of land in the province of Lleida.
A good way to approach the western side of the park – and some of the highest peaks – is via the Vall de Boí. By staying in the villages in the upper reaches of this valley, the walker is able to launch a daily assault on the numerous footpaths which are waiting to be explored in the national park.
Read about our routes in next week’s Costa Blanca News.
The Estany Negre glacial lake, with the Besiberri peaks which reach over 3,000 metres in the background
Estany Xic glacial lake