After nerve wracking adventures in Part II of our weekend in the Pyrenees we were glad to be able to sit back and relax in the train up to the Núria valley. Vall de Núria lies south of the border between France and Catalunya. The floor of the valley is at about 2000m above sea level and all around it are mountains reaching up to 2900m. No roads lead to the valley and is only accessible by birds and trains — and helicopters, and parachutes, and by walking, or cycling, or … Well, I hope you get my point.
The valley was chilly. A slightly frosted morning dew covered the grass. The mountains east of the valley blocked the morning sun and I was tempted to reach for my fleece. However, due to some silly claims of being a descendant of the vikings I marched on in my t-shirt.
We left the Núria valley at about 9.30 AM and hiked to the north-east along the river Torrent de Noufonts — and the GR 11 long distance path — toward the French border. On the way I tried — in vain — to convince Mike of my latest theories about there being only two functional forms of government — military dictatorship and total anarchy — and if people want something less extreme, they would have to settle for a dysfunctional government. The hike went on and so did the discussion. We went from extreme politics to mainstream politics, to ethics, to education, to …
Before reaching a concrete conclusion of our discussion and short of finding the solution to the World’s problems, we reached the French border at Coll de Noufonts (2661m). Despite of having stepped out of the shadow and into the sun, it was not warm enough for a t-shirt and I reached for my fleece that was well hidden at the bottom of my backpack.
We continued our hike to the west-north-west along the French-Catalan border, up to the peak Pic de Noufonts (2861m). At the top I was welcomed to France by an SMS from Orange. It is always nice to feel welcome — even if it means expensive roaming charges.
At the Pic de Noufonts we had reach our goal for the day. Our plans did not reach further. We had merely hiked for about two hours and were full of energy. We decided thus to continue our hike along the border. Our next stop was at Pic d’Eina (2789m) where we celebrated lunch by preparing pa amb tomàquet — without the garlic though.
After lunch we continued down to Coll d’Eina, where we planned to follow a path back down to Vall de Núria. Despite stomachs full of bread and tomato we had not satisfied our appetite for mountain peaks. We decided to continue and ascend to Pic del Coll d’Eina (2771m) and Pic de Núria (2794m). At the latter one, we agreed that we had done enough peaks for the day and returned down to Coll d’Eina and followed the TRF path down into the Núria valley.
We reached the Santuari de Núria shortly before 3 PM. It was time for a quick beer before heading for the train back to Barcelona. A very nice weekend in the Pyrenees had come to an end. Despite being tired, we were energized for the upcoming working week.