I left my hotel in Puigcerdà at six thirty AM. The García brothers were waiting for me outside my hotel. The task of the day was to hike to Puigmal (2910m) — one of the highest peaks in Catalunya, located in the eastern part of the Pyrenees on the border between Spain and France. Compared to the hike we had done exactly a year earlier, six thirty was a late start. The hope was that it would be late enough to avoid the premature abandoning of the hike that we had had to do a year earlier.
We drove over the border to France and set the course on the ski resort called Puigmal de l’Err where we would start our hike to the mountain Puigmal. In fact, we planned to visit three other peaks called Puigmal on the way — Puigmal de Lló, Puigmal Petit de Segre and Puigmal de Segre.
We started the hike at 7 AM by walking into the valley of Err. It was a nice weather for hiking. Quite different from the snowstorm we encountered a year earlier. We were on the north side of the mountain and the sun had not managed to reach over the mountain-tops. It was rather chilly and I contemplated reaching into my backpack for my fleece. I did however decided to make my contribution toward maintaining the untrue myth that Icelandic people can wear a t-shirt independent of how cold it is.
Mid-way into the valley, we turned westward and hit the slopes of the ridge up to Puigmal de Lló. As we walked up the hill, we recalled our experience from the year before when we had to abandon the hike in the very same slopes due to excessive snowfall. We tried to spot the trees and the stones where we had sought shelter from the summer snowstorm.
This time around the weather did not play any tricks on us. We reached Puigmal de Lló without problems and then headed northeast to Puigmal de Segre, where we sat down and had breakfast and enjoyed the view over Vall de Núria. Having energized we turned south again and set our aim to the real Puigmal, with a stopover on Puigmal Petit.
We reached Puigmal before noon. There was quite some crowd on the top. As we had not met many people on our walk we argued that most of them had hiked from Vall de Núria. After a decent stop on the top — enjoying the view — we decided to take the steep way down. The descent was thus very fast, but rather challenging for the knees.
We were back at the car before one PM — well in time to head for a lunch at the summer house rented by the García family.