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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostSat Apr 17, 2021 6:54 am 
Scenic place to camp on Tour du Canigou trail in Pyrenees-Orientales, France - Day 3 Refuge Pinatell, Col de la Cirera, Refuge Batere

In this trip report we are sharing our third day of Tour du Canigou trail in Eastern-Pyrenees, France when we hiked 17kms from Refuge Pinatell to the Refuge Batere and further down the trail.

Watch the full video here:

The evening before we had a hard time choosing our camp spot because of extremely uneven and hilly terrain with lots of rocks. And at night we realized that it was a pretty bad side hill so we couldn’t sleep really well. Also the temperature dropped down to 5 degrees Celsius and it was quite chilly. We did regret not having our warmer sleeping bags with us as we took our normal light summer ones. It didn’t feel very comfortable already at the end of September at 1700m of elevation. So it was a good lesson for us to always take a heavier warmer bag at this time of the year in the mountains because usually we don’t have much experience hiking in colder times. So we were afraid we would feel sleepy all day long, we just hoped the following night would be much better.

For that day we planned to make 15-17kms more down the trail. It was our norm for the day because we have divided the whole trail in 5 days. We saw that on the weather forecast after that there was a big probability of bad weather coming with rains and cold so we needed to stick to this schedule. Studying the map it didn’t seem to have much elevation difference, we had to do only 700m up and down overall, so we knew it won’t be very challenging day and hoped to enjoy the relaxed pace.

The morning was beautiful and bright with the clear sky and warm sun that was very long expected and needed after having a cold night. So we started moving long before the sunshine came to us and by that time already had breakfast and wrapped everything in the backpacks. We did heat up our food as well to warm ourselves up a bit. The flysheet of the tent was all full of moisture and unfortunately we didn´t really have time to dry it up so had to pack it as it was. We´ve noticed that usually on our hikes the flysheet gets dry only in the evenings when we set it up early enough, it rarely happens in the mornings.

All the first part of the trail was going nicely in the forest shade and on a relatively flat terrain. We did hope that it will continue the same way through the day as we needed chilled out day badly. Our legs and knees were still feeling it after the day before extreme ascension to the peak du Canigou.

So we greatly enjoyed the peaceful forest paths and the marking was very good as we continued to follow the GR10 white and red sign. We´ve noticed that throughout all the Tour when there was a GR10 coinciding with the Tour du Canigou itself there was no separate red and yellow proper marking of this trail assuming that it is understandable. We would prefer to have a double marking though so that we are completely sure about the direction.

The temperature difference of the night and day was quite drastic and closer to the middle of the day we were quite hot with at least 25 degrees Celsius. The trail itself helped us to feel refreshed all day long as it was following the shaded forest paths.

We hiked through several waterfalls and river streams that day and were happy to learn that luckily there was no lack in water sources on this trail. So we didn’t have to overload ourselves with water from the very start knowing that we´ll be able to resupply on the way. Most of the times we did filter the water from the rivers but sometimes we met even the official water sources with faucets and already perfectly clear and drinkable water. It tasted really nice too, much better than a bottled one for sure. So it was very convenient.

Here and there we could still enjoy the seacoast views of the Rousillon region and it was very nice. At one moment we passed by the small refuge house where we were surprised to see several sheep laying inside in a barn room with lots of hay. And from that stage the trail from a relatively flat route began to climb uphill. So we knew we had to do at least several hundred meters up.

After having a little snack we were ready to hit that uphill in front of us. It turned out to be the only major uphill for the day. The trail was going quite steep at parts with lots of huge rocks to go through but mostly was pretty gentle and sometimes went completely flat through the pine forest. In the end we realized that it was just some hill crossing and no extreme mountain climbing. Again it was so magical to walk on the shaded trail and enjoy the fresh air with no direct sunlight.

So in a quiet pace we got to the hill de la Cirera at 1729m. It was quite a wide open plain with lots of trail directions on it and the amazing views on the Pyrenees mountain range and the Spanish side of them further in the distance. It was very windy up there and we were surprised that there was any wind at all that day as up until that moment we didn’t have it at all.

And as most of our trail of that day was going downhill or flat from the Col de la Cirera we did start to move downhill to the Refuge Batere. It was only 2kms away but we had to do 500m down. From that part we started to see the Tour du Canigou sign again and were happy to follow it as it was much easier and didn’t require any map checking.

Downhill turned out to be quite steep at parts with the small rocks coming down which were the most unstable ground of any but fortunately, it wasn’t too long. At that part there were few trees already and we started to feel the hot sun getting on us. There were many red orange side hills on the way and under our feet the ground all of a sudden got red. It was always delightful to see how from one side of the mountain to the other you can get so different terrain depending on the components and minerals contained in it.

So we got to the open fields where we saw lots of sheep pasting and could feel the characteristic smell that only the sheep have. We were amazed to see the people paragliding there also, landing and setting off for a flight. So we did spend half an hour just observing their activity and as we are very interested in it and would like to try one day it was nice to study some small details up close. We would have spent even more time just looking at the peaceful picture of many paraglides floating in the sky but we were sitting in the sun and it was burning us badly so we had to keep going.

Soon we came to the refuge Batere which appeared to be a large grey building that looked like an albergue with lots of rooms and dormitory to stay. We did want to buy some fresh veggies or fruit if possible but unfortunately they didn´t sell it and all we bought was a handful of rice that we wanted to have as a backup in case we didn´t finish the trail in time. It was a common issue with most of such refuge houses that they do not sell anything to take away, they just serve some food in their restaurant or bar. And for us who don´t really enjoy eating restaurant food it was a huge disadvantage.

Then the trail turned back to the forest again and we decided it was about time to have our lunch. Also being a third day on trail we needed to charge our power bank badly as we did used up all the power already charging our electronics these days. So we did lay our solar panel down on the ground in the sun while we were having our meal. And it was a nice way to charge at least a part of a power bank as this day we hiked mostly in the shade and up until this moment it didn’t charge very well. At the end of the day we did get our power bank all charged.

When we got back on the trail it was obvious that we had to do another downhill to some river. And our ways with GR10 have separated so we did follow only the red and yellow sign of Tour du Canigou that was marked nicely.

That downhill turned out to be the steepest of all, the path was very narrow, sometimes going through the bushes on the sides and lots of pine cones on the ground. So it was a challenge to do it and we had to watch our step in order not to fall backwards. We’ve found that even though the steep trails are hard either way doing it downhill adds up a level of difficulty always. It was only 300m down and maybe 1.5 kms long but it took us some time.

Then we were at the river and faced the last uphill for the day. So we realized that we have to do the same elevation gain we just did down but this time climbing up. It felt always a bit unfair and disappointing to go all the way down only to know that you have to go up all the same distance but it is the character of the mountains and we feel like what develops character in humans too.

We were happy to know that these 300m uphill wasn’t as steep as the downhill and even had some flat parts on it. It all went through the green dense beautiful forest and lots of river streams. On the ground we saw many places with lifted soil which was a definite sign of the presence of wild boars. We have never actually seen them at daylight in summer because their lifestyle is extremely cautious so it would have been an exciting meeting.

So we did our uphill for the day and at that part we decided to cheat a bit and take an easier dirt farm road leading to the same destination. It was partly because we wanted to get quicker to the camp spot and partly because we were afraid that there won´t be any flat spots again if we´d go on the side of the hill. We hoped there were more chances to find it along the car road. It was our last 3 km stretch and at that moment we already felt extremely sleepy and tired.

This road was a bit long and boring just going around the mountain hills and for the long time we didn’t see any flat areas. There were many blackberry bushes on the way that were very tasty and sweet so we could snack a bit on that. The route was very calm with no cars going on it. From time to time the forest was opening to a golden view of the mountain gorge in a magnificent evening light with the trees already getting their colorful leaves.

In the end after collecting some water in the river we were able to find a good spot in between the trees above the dirt car road and it wasn´t seen from it. It looked like a perfect place to camp and we couldn’t believe our eyes that we found it after seeing only deep gorges with deep forest and rocks. It was one of those times when the effort of searching paid off tremendously and one of the scenic camp spots to remember. We had to clean it up a little bit from the branches, rocks and pinecones and it was just enough space to set up a tent then. At that moment we had only around an hour of daylight left and we had to rush cooking our dinner as we don´t like to use flashlight when wild camping. So we did cook one of our fast meals - mashed potatoes with dehydrated tomatoes, shitake mushrooms and spices mix. And we went to bed as soon as we had it thinking about a beautiful peaceful day we had that was one of our favorites so far and also the day ahead that might be more challenging.


What beautiful camp spots you remember from the last season?

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We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostSat Apr 24, 2021 1:14 pm 
BRS Gas Stove from Aliexpress VS Camping Stove Bleuet from Decathlon - Full Test and Comparison

Watch the full video here: 

In this video we are going to compare two different gas stove systems. One would be our old compact camping stove Bleuet from Decathlon store we’ve used for the last couple of years and the other is our brand new BRS gas stove from Aliexpress store that we discovered just recently. We think it is going to be quite an epic comparison because of how different they are and we hope it will be useful for some of you in a search for a new gas stove exploring different options.

What gas stove do you like to use?

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We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostSat May 01, 2021 2:11 pm 
The most beautiful old beech forests on Tour du Canigou in Pyrenees-Orientales, France - Day 4-Refuge Saint Guillem- Ravin Comail

It was our 4th day of Tour du Canigou trail in Eastern-Pyrenees, France when we hiked 16 kms from Riuferrera, walked by refuge Devesa and refuge Saint Guillem, climbed to Serre Vernet and arrived to Ravin Comail.

Watch the full video here:

The start of the day was peaceful and calm and so was the previous night. We had a great sleep and rested well in the quiet idyllic spot we found the day before. It was quite flat, full of beech trees protecting from the wind and soft dry leaves on the ground creating a nice base for the tent. Also there was no wind and no sounds at night so we had the best rest we could find. We even had the desire to stay in the same spot for a night more to enjoy this serenity but had a lack of food supplies already so couldn’t really risk it.

We took our time eating the breakfast inside the tent body without flysheet so we could enjoy the nature surroundings and birds coming close. Then we packed our tent and things, did a bit of yoga warm up for the body and we were ready to hit the trail.

We had a plan to get back to Casteil- village where we started initially the next day and so for that day had to do no less than another 16kms. On the way we saw quite a bit of ups and downs again, we just hoped they wouldn’t be too tedious.

So we said good bye to our favorite camp spot so far on the trail with the thoughts of getting back to it sometime in the future. And we were out on the trail that first crossed the river Riuferrera where we washed our T shirts and socks a bit so that they could dry out while we are hiking hanging on the backpacks. And the path continued to go through the forest. It was a mixed forest with some pine trees, many beech trees and others.

It felt so nice to finally get a good sleep, have a clear fresh head, and be full of energy. As during last days we were a bit worn out by the uncomfortable camp spots and cold weather. So that day we were enjoying a lot this kind of mood and state. That idyllic camp spot and quiet night reminded us how important it is to keep going even when you are having some bad days in a row and not feel at your best. Every day is different and eventually arrives a day when everything goes smoothly and you enjoy yourself and those happy moments and truly amazing discoveries make it all worth it in the end and it´s then when you get to really appreciate the trail.

Meanwhile the trail followed the nice shaded forest full of huge beech trees, some trunks were of immense sizes. We actually saw such big beech trees for the first time and we absolutely fell in love with them. They looked so beautiful and glorious in a low autumn sun and their wide huge branches and roots coming out far to their sides. And as always when we are meeting such old trees we felt fascinated but at the same time humbled being at their side. We could almost feel hugging these trunks the infinite flow of energy coming from them and the source of wisdom and balance that always helped us to keep grounded.

We also realized that this forest was full of life and very rich in fauna. We have spotted some ibex, roe deer, signs of wild boars, and we were sure there might be some predators too like foxes for example. The birds variety was fascinating too, as we heard some owls at night, saw jackdaws, jays and woodpeckers among others. So it made this place amazing for all the animal and bird watchers.

From time to time here and there we still could see the valley down below and the seacoast far away in the haze. We saw a cover of white clouds laying over the lowest parts of the valley and it was a beautiful sight. It has always amazed us how we still could enjoy the sun being higher up in the mountains while at the same time it was cloudy somewhere lower at the altitude.

So following such idyllic route climbing gently uphill we did our first several kilometers and 300m up. We still had around 400m up to do. We saw that the trail came out to the mountain plane with lots of cows pasturing on it, the forest cleared up a bit, and there were less trees in front of us probably because of higher elevation. So we passed by the refuge Devesa-small unguarded rocky house, crossed a river and were out on the hot sun following the dirt car road.

The weather was nice and warm with little clouds on the sky but we couldn’t check the exact forecast because we didn’t have an internet access there, only the cellphone signal. And already familiar with the mountains character we knew that the weather could change very quickly. So we tried to keep up the pace so that we won’t be stuck in a storm later in the day.

The trail followed the farm car road all the way up to the hill and it was partly in the shade created by the small pine trees. Lots of cows and horses were walking alongside us in different directions and in one moment it seemed that the group of cows changed their direction when seeing us and started to walk in front of us. We thought that it was funny because they might have been confused us for the shepherds with their sticks (the trekking poles in our case).

Soon we were on the top of the hill overlooking the amazing views on the blue mountain ranges dominating the horizon. We knew that somewhere in the distance lays the Spanish border and we could possibly see the Spanish side too from that point which was quite cool.

Then the path turned back to the forest and for some time was following quite a steep downhill that was the first challenging part for that day as before the route was easy enough. Fortunately it wasn´t going like that for a long time and a zig zagging style path helped a lot too.

The yellow and red marking was very good all that day long and we could see that the paint was fresh so we enjoyed not having to check the map constantly.

Soon we were on a more or less flat trail again. We collected and filtered some water from the river as we had to resupply already and not long after we saw several rocky buildings down the trail and it was the Refuge and Ermitage Saint Guillem where we were heading to.

When we arrived there it was already 2pm in the afternoon and we felt very hungry so we needed to have our lunch as soon as possible. So we went to check out the Refuge Saint Guillem and the possibility to buy some fresh fruit and veggies there. Fortunately they sold some local tomatoes as well as nuts, chocolate and ice-cream that we ended up buying. Because of that we had a feast of meal and everything tasted amazing, especially the local ice-cream made of real sheep and coconut milk.

The place around the Refuge where we stopped for a break was a very beautiful one with fantastic views over the high mountain peaks in front and the dense forests turning yellow on the sides. There were many meadows to rest as well as picnic tables. So we had a nice rest there eating and stretching out the muscles a bit by laying on the ground.

Then with the fresh boost of energy, we were back on the trail to do another last uphill for the day. We saw that we have to do at least the same elevation gain as we did going down, so around 500m up.

The trail was following the dirt car road again so it wasn´t hard nor challenging to hike. It was going in the shade of the pine forest first and then we came back to the beech forest again. We enjoyed this part thoroughly, the atmosphere was so calm and peaceful and the surroundings of the green forest with big trees were very beautiful. We crossed several water streams and sometimes it was difficult because the ground was full of dry leaves and was soft and bouncing so it was easy to fall through and wet the shoes. But it was such a cool and different feeling walking on a soft ground.

On the sky at that time there were several big clouds but we still hoped it wouldn´t turn into anything serious. Meanwhile we didn’t notice following the easy uphill how we arrived to the top of the hill Serre Vernet. And at that point we had left to do only 200m down to the river and there we hoped to find our place to camp for that night.

So quite soon we got to the Ravin Comail gorge close to the river and started to look for the camp spot. The terrain was quite hilly and uneven and we had a hard time to find at least some acceptable ground for the tent. So we did set up our tent, had a quick shower heating up the water on a woodstove previously and then it was time to start cooking our dinner.

This time because we had some powers still and  several hours of daylight left we wanted to try out our small wood stove that we brought in addition to the traditional gas stove. This one was very similar to the big one we already tested on GR11 and so we were sure it would work just fine. But in the end it turned out as almost complete fail. We tried to put up a stable fire on the ground then when it didn’t work we set it up on the rock hoping that the wind will help but it still didn’t work as it should. The fire power was too weak for our pot to boil properly and thus to cook our meal fast and efficiently. It required a constant supervision and fuel adding. We made a conclusion that this stove may be too small for our needs and having a small fuel opening clearly not enough for the proper fire. Also it might be a good idea to try it with an alternative alcohol fuel. But this was a test for the next time.

Finally after at least two hours of cooking our meal was ready to eat. We had our mix of wheat, buckwheat, lentils, with spices, dry mushrooms and fresh tomatoes. The weather was nice and the rain didn’t start in the end. After such an extended cooking and lots of smoke that the woodstove created our things were smelling nasty and basically were full of smoke. As the wind direction was changing all the time installing the woodstove on a distance from a tent didn´t help. So we tried hard to air out at least some of it before we went to sleep. We knew that on the next day we´ll have a more challenging trail to come and we´ll have to cover more distance as it was our final stretch getting back to the village Casteil where we started. So we didn´t have much to rest in the tent and after having dinner we went to sleep.

What beautiful camp spots you remember from the last season?

--------------
We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostSun May 09, 2021 9:45 am 
Our Real Morning and Night Wilderness Camping Routine when Hiking - Detailed Showcase

Watch the full video here:

In today’s post we are going to share with you our updated camping morning and night routine. Last time we shared our campground routine on the Camino de Santiago but as we figured it is quite different from the times we hike and camp in the wild, this time we are going to show our real wilderness camp morning and evening time with the detailed showcase of everything we do in the order of appearance. We hope you find it interesting and amusing to watch.

Disclaimer: we don't have any affiliation with the brands and all items mentioned in the video were purchased by our own money.

What is your morning and night routine when camping and what you do differently?

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We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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Cyclopath
Faster than light



Joined: 20 Mar 2012
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Location: Seattle
Cyclopath
Faster than light
PostTue May 11, 2021 10:23 am 
I wouldn't go AliExpress for something with the potential to explode.   eek.gif

mosey
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hikermike
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Joined: 24 Jun 2003
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PostTue May 11, 2021 11:40 pm 
A lot more organized than I am!

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InFlight
coated in DEET



Joined: 20 May 2015
Posts: 762 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle area
InFlight
coated in DEET
PostWed May 12, 2021 10:54 am 
Cyclopath wrote:
I wouldn't go AliExpress for something with the potential to explode.   eek.gif

  up.gif  up.gif

There''s the classic MRS PocketRocket, and the Snowpeak GigaPower canister stoves that will provide years of trouble free operation.  Or you can try your luck on the on various cheap knockoffs.  I'm sure a video about which cheap knockoff is less worse is of interest to someone.

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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...”  ― Henry David Thoreau
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the1mitch
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PostWed May 12, 2021 12:28 pm 
I just have to have a hot morning meal and or drink. I like your comments on spices and use of bread as a pot ingredient.

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illegitimi non carborundum!
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostThu May 13, 2021 1:46 am 
hikermike wrote:
A lot more organized than I am!

Well, every day is different and sometimes we are not able to do all of this but when we do we feel a lot better.

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We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostThu May 13, 2021 1:48 am 
the1mitch wrote:
I just have to have a hot morning meal and or drink. I like your comments on spices and use of bread as a pot ingredient.

For us it is so important to have a hot meal too and we like using our dry bread made in home, it makes the meal more complete in our opinion.

--------------
We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostSat May 15, 2021 11:56 am 
Final Day of Tour du Canigou – Our Final Thoughts and Tips |Day 5 -Pla Guillem - Refuge Marialles

It was the final 5th day of the Tour du Canigou trail for us when we made 18kms and 1700m of elevation change from the Refuge Devesa to Pla Guillem, passed Refuge Marialles and then finally arrived to the village Casteil.

Watch the full video here:

The morning of that day at Ravin Comail was a bit cloudy and foggy but the sky was clearing up and it was promising to be a bright day. We didn’t have a good night sleep because the place where we set up the tent wasn’t very flat and had lots of uneven ground and also it was quite chilly and even our warm clothes didn’t help. We thought it was because of the proximity of the river down the gorge we could feel a lot of humidity in the air and on the skin and the wind was blowing from that direction. Also the smell of the smoke we had in all our things after the evening before cooking didn’t air out that much and so we had quite heavy heads in the morning.

Nevertheless we woke up early to be able to do most of the uphill distance in the first half of the day. We had a plan to do 18kms back to the village Casteil and had to do 700m of uphill elevation and 1000m of downhill. So we knew it is going to be a challenging day. Also on the forecast we saw the probability of rain later in the afternoon after2 or 3 pm so we wanted to finish most of our trail before that.

So we packed our things as quickly as we could, had our fast breakfast- food left from the evening’s meal and were out on the trail. The first kilometers were relatively easy going gently uphill and following the farmer’s road in the forest shade. The forest air in the early morning was very refreshing and smelling very good of the wet ground, grass, pine cones, and needles all together.

Then we came out onto the mountain plain where many cows were pasturing scattered to all sides. From there the beautiful mountain range views of the valley below were opening to our eyes. It was only the start of the day but as the sun was coming higher and higher on the horizon the temperature was raising and it was getting warmer.

We passed by the refuge Devesa part of which was closed as we understood for the exclusive use of the shepherds or foresters. It was very nice and quite big rocky house and had everything for the off grid living in it like several solar panels and clean water source.

There in the rocks for the first time on this trail we´ve spotted the little marmot hiding and standing still the second it noticed us. But we were still glad to observe it for some time. From that moment the forest car road ended and we suddenly saw the direction leading us to climb a steep hill. On the direction pillars we saw the GRP yellow and red sign but since then on the trees there was only the white and red GR mark left to follow. It was perfectly fine because it was following the same direction and we think sometimes they just don’t want to double it when it goes the same way.

The uphill was quite straightforward, rocky and steep at times so we had to slow down the tempo quite a bit. Also it was going mostly in the open sun which didn’t help and we constantly felt overheated. The trees on the sides were very low and small and mostly there were bushes so it couldn’t provide enough shade. We had to stop several times when we stumbled across more or less deep shade just to cool down a bit.

But that steep path was accompanied by the amazing panoramic views on all sides and it was a joy to look around. In the hard times it always keeps us motivated to move forward to discover more such incredible sights.

At the Roc Descargues which was one of the direction points we saw that our ways with yellow and red GRP are separating. It was going in the direction of Las Conques which we weren´t sure where it was exactly and we had a plan to continue our uphill to Pla Guillem. Then we realized that these were just the different options to take depending on your goals, difficulty or length of the trail you want to do. But as we had to make it to Casteil, we chose the shorter way, also we had our GPS map inintially following this way to Pla Guillem.

The uphill continued following quite steep slope all the way to the highest point so were out of breath most of the time. Part of the reason was the fear of rain or storm coming after midday so we were moving faster than usual to do the uphill part as early as possible. Fortunately, there was still no sign of bad weather as we were getting close to midday and the sky was blue and clear.

There was less and less vegetation as we were getting higher up and in the end we were walking in the open fields in direct sun. It was a quite enjoyable walk as the views around us were fascinating and it was nice to see the blue horizon line right in front of us and endless mountain ranges in the blue haze disappearing in the distance. There were not so many people on the trail maybe because it is not popular or it wasn’t the right time of the day.

This way we got to the highest point of Pla Guillem (2300m). We made our uphill faster than normal only in around 2 hours and it was still only 11.30am. It may be one of our personal records for the uphill. We had our snack sitting on one of the rocks and could enjoy the wonderful pictures around us.

We thought this place was pretty incredible and unique because you can see both the Spanish and French side of the Pyrenees and you have a great view on every side. We regretted not having enough time to spend at the top just walking around this huge plain and taking photos. It would be nice to do this hike without backpack and just taking your photo camera make a lot of beautiful pictures of every side. It just needs time and maybe better to do in the golden hours of the early morning and late evening. It is quite a convenient spot though because it is mostly flat and so it is easy to move around. Also we found great that there were several refuge houses on top so that if you are caught in a bad weather you can always take a shelter. Not every mountain pass has such on top and we think it would be nice if every place had it.

Then we started to descend down in a slower pace as we realized that the forecast may not come true and we wanted to enjoy the down part more. We had to do more than 1000m down and at least 8kms more. We still had amazing 360 degree views around us almost all the way.

The downhill part wasn´t that steep, at first it was a bit rocky but not extreme at all. At that part we started to see huge big white rocks looking like marble to us and the sight of them was pretty impressive.

Then our way crossed with the dirt car road again and we decided to follow it. The official trail was going steeper down in the gorge closer to the river but as we already felt a bit tired and the direction of both was the same we decided to go with the easier one. It is a nice thing about this region that there are a lot of such farmer´s roads that you can take as an alternative to more steep paths and still enjoy the mountain views and forest shade.

At one point we saw the mountain peaks quite close in front of us and recognized the Peak du Canigou that we´ve climbed only 3 days ago. It looked a bit different from that perspective but we couldn´t confuse its rugged edges with any else. It was a definite sign that we had almost completed the circuit of Tour du Canigou at that point and were coming to the same side where we started.

So following this easy gentle car road we didn’t notice how we arrived to the Refuge Marialles that was our last point on Tour du Canigou trail from where it begins the circuit again. And we turned to the village Casteil direction descending 700m more to the valley.

The first part of the downhill surprised us a lot with how scenic the trail was going. It was following the deep shaded forest along the river channels going alongside the trail for at least several kilometers. It reminded us a lot of the Berkwaal Sentiero del Sole trail we did in Val Venosta, South Tyrol, Italy and it ended up being one of our most favorite trails there. So it brought back many nice memories.

At times the path was going quite steep descending down the rocky trail but as we were getting lower it was becoming more gentle. It took us around 4 hours to do the whole downhill part and it turned out to be longer and more tiring than the uphill. But at around 5pm we arrived to the village Casteil and caught our bus back home.

So this is how we finished our 5 day trail on Tour du Canigou. Here we would like to share with you our final thoughts and tips that we found useful and important when planning and doing this trail.

- This trail is 69 kms long. And it can be completed in 4 or 5 days depending on the option you choose. But keep in mind that you always have to count an extra day in order to get to the trail. Normally the villages are located at the bottom of the mountains at low altitude and you’ll have to go up at least 1000-1500m.
- If you want to start from the village of Casteil as we did start your hiking up in direction of the Refuge Marialles. Instead of how we did it, climbing to the Abbey of Saint Martin du Canigou from where we had to go 1.500 m up on the steepest uphill we’ve ever faced.
- We highly recommend you to start climbing in direction of the Refuge Marialles because we found that the trail is much more scenic and less tedious.
- You can start the trail at the refuge Marialles, refuge Cortalets or refuge Saint Guillem depending where for you it’s easier to get to. This whole area is very well connected to the city Perpignan which is one of the biggest cities in the Languedoc region so it shouldn’t be a problem.
- The direction of doing the circuit is irrelevant in our opinion. It will depend on your preferences and whether you want to climb the peak at the start or finish of the Tour or you don’t plan the ascension at all.
- The trail overall is a moderate difficulty and anybody with more or less good physical shape and some mountain experience can do this trail. The only real difficulty is the ascension to the peak du Canigou itself.
- If you are planning to climb to the peak we would strongly recommend you to do it from the side of refuge Cortalets because we found that the climb is much more gentle and possible to do even with a backpack. If you choose to climb form the side of refuge Marialles be ready to climb with your hands the last 200m or so as the way is very steep. In our opinion, it is too dangerous to do with the heavy backpack.
- The marking of the trail is quite good all the way through. But it’s always better to study your map beforehand and have your navigation or classic map always ready. Normally you have to follow the GR marks that can be white and red or yellow and red. Also there may be some alternatives if you want to take them.
- The best season to hike is summer or early autumn, we did this hike in the middle of September and found that the weather was great. It was sunny and warm and not too cold and rainy. But the nights are quite chilly and if you are going to camp you have to take your warm sleeping bags.
- Also you have to always keep in mind the afternoon storms that they can happen quite often. So you want to start your trail as early as possible and finish it in the afternoon ideally. This is the rule that applies to all the mountain trails.
- Take some spare warm clothes like fleece shorts, raincoats and warm pants for sleeping especially if you’re hiking in autumn. But in the mountains spare warm clothes never become useless. Also wear good hiking boots or trail running shoes.
- The bivouac or a night stay in your tent is allowed in any place close to the trail and also close to the refugees as well. And we didn’t face any particular difficulties with it rather than just steep slopes and difficult rocky terrains.
- If you prefer you can also stay at the refugee houses. There are 4 or 5 major refugee houses that are payable where you need to reserve your accommodation in advance. And also there are many shelters on the way where you can just spend the night if it’s your thing or you don’t want to carry your tent and more camping gear.

Overall we enjoyed this hike very much, we found that it can be very relaxed hiking and escape to beautiful natural world, many peaceful forest paths, passing through lots of rivers. And also of course many incredible mountain views and panoramic views of the seacoast which is the specialty of this hike. So on this hike you can enjoy the proximity of the Mediterranean seacoast and hiking in the Pyrenees mountains with its beautiful flora and fauna, breathing the fresh air and enjoying the incredible panoramic mountain views.

We really hope these tips will help you to plan your own hike and inspire you to come and visit this beautiful region of Eastern Pyrenees.

Would you like to do the Tour du Canigou trail?

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We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostSun May 23, 2021 4:01 am 
3F UL Gear LANSHAN 2 PRO TENT First Impressions Review + Seam Sealing - Lightest Budget Tent available?

Watch the full video here:

In this video we will share with you our first impressions of the new tent – from brand 3F UL GEAR and it is a LANSHAN 2 Pro tent. We have upgraded to a new tent last year - MSR Elixir 2 that is a self-standing model we’d never tried before. And we’ve done several reviews on that including the detailed one. And we were and still are very happy about it after using it during the last summer season, as we think it is a great quality tent. But in the comments below the video reviews we made and in the social media groups it was recommended to us several times to try this Lanshan 2 Pro tent. Mentioning that it is pretty lightweight and at the same time very budget friendly and basically is a budget alternative to the epic ZPacks Duplex that costs 5 times more than this guy. And we are all about exploring different options especially budget friendly ones and test if they are any good. It will be a first impressions video and not a full review that we are going to do after a season of hiking and testing it for some period of time. Hope you find it useful in some way.

What is you experience with this tent and what do you think of it?

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We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostSat May 29, 2021 9:35 am 
These hike report series is going to feature our long distance section hike of GR11 trail. We started doing it in the very end of July 2020 and were very excited to discover what this trail would bring us. The GR trails in Europe are very similar to the popular AT or PCT trails you can find in US and can extend for many miles in the distance crossing pretty much all the European countries. So there is plenty of choice depending on the direction you want to take. The term GR itself stands for the Grand Randonee or the Great Trail. We had been willing to do this trail for a while but before we always had other hiking plans for the summer season far away from where we live and that year it was a wonderful opportunity to finally tackle it. We were sure that it would be a fascinating trip that will allow us to discover the unknown high mountain part of Pyrenees where we have never been before. Of course we were carrying all the necessary camping gear in our wilderness backpack and planned to do the bivouac or stealth camping all the way through.

Watch the full video here:

For that first day we started from Cerdanya valley in Spain and were planning to move closer to Andorra. We wanted to do just 12 kms for that day, as we knew from experience that the less is more with the long distance hiking especially in the mountains. Studying the map beforehand, we saw that the trail would probably be quite tedious as the elevation change each day is big enough. But we hoped that the slow approach we planned to tackle it with will help us to advance steadily every day without getting too exhausted.

We started our day quite late at 10am at the outskirts of La Tour de Carol village where the bus left us. So first we had to cross several fields with little farms and pastures with little shade and then the trail turned to a more forest path. We felt quite hot right from the start as the sun was already high on the horizon. We were moving relatively slowly also because we were fully loaded with food supplies. As we planned to hike as independent as possible and knew that we won’t meet many grocery shops to resupply we needed to carry the food for at least 3 days ahead. So Dima’s backpack ended up weighing more than normal at around 16kg as he was carrying most of the supplies. The aim was to decrease the weight down to 12-14kg as the days go by and we still hoped we could handle it.

So soon we arrived at the small rocky village Guils de Cerdanya where we had a little refreshment by washing our faces with the cold source water. And then we moved towards the 900m uphill we needed to tackle that day. We were pleasantly surprised to see the fresh painted red and white signs of GR right from the start as it meant we could relax and go with the flow without checking our maps constantly. Luckily there was only one GR passing by this area so we couldn’t confuse it for the other as there were typically no numbers on such universal signs.

The trail went quite steep from the very beginning and was quite rocky too. It was a definite challenge to walk on it in the bright hot sun with no shade around. We definitely decided to start the following days very early in order to avoid walking in the hottest part of the day. But as this day we had to get to the starting point first we had no choice really. Also we were glad that the warm weather has established finally because the start of the summer was very unstable and quite cold.

Then we came out to a more open mountain plains with river stream and started to see the single trees appearing here and there as well as the fresh breeze started to blow towards us and it felt very nice. As we were getting higher the wide angle views of the Cerdanya valley were opening to our eyes and it was nice to see it from a different angle where we hadn’t been before. There was a lot of haze though so the picture wasn’t as clear as we wished.

This way we came to the Guils Fontanera area which was basically a mountain plain surrounded by the pine forest and made as a pasture for lots of cows and horses. There was a parking lot nearby so we met quite a lot of people having their picnics there and there was probably a restaurant bar serving the food. We felt like having a siesta time too as we already made half of the distance for that day and were very hungry. So we did find the quiet place in the forest shade and had around an hour for having our lunch and some rest.

Then we collected some water from the source and were ready to tackle our last 5 kms of the uphill that promised to be quite gentle looking at the elevation levels.

So first the trail continued to go through the open fields accompanied by the magnificent views of the mountain ranges in front and behind us. At that point Angelina felt like getting out the trekking poles and start walking with them. And it was the first time for us when we took the poles for a long distance hike. Previous year doing the Tour du Mont Blanc hike showed us the necessity of having the extra support on the steep mountain trails especially descends. And this time we hoped it would give us the needed help and be a life saver at some parts.

It felt like the hottest time of the day finally is left behind and thus we were hiking more refreshed and energized the last part of the trail. Soon it turned to the forest path and it was a joy to finally walk in the shade. As we were getting close to our final destination – Estany Sec, we were already looking for the potential camp spots around and hoped to find a good secluded spot in the forest. We saw several houses looking like shelters on the way but as we were going to wild camp we just passed by them.

We almost got to the Refugi Malniu when we found our place to camp on a relatively flat terrain on the mountain plain. We had to wander away from the trail a bit but luckily not to far. The place got quite a bit of unevenness to it but we couldn’t really complain hiking in the high mountains, as any more or less flat spot was a happy encounter.

Then we were going to try our wood stove for the first time in real trail conditions and first we wanted to take our warm shower so we needed to heat half liter of water for it. We collected some dry wood and twigs as well as dry moss and it seemed to work the best out of all for putting up a fire. Then we poured the water in our 2 liter water container mixing it with the cold and could set up our shower structure using the flysheet of the tent. Even though it was a nice warm weather and we could have the shower under the sky we still preferred the comfortable option using the shelter as it blocked the cold wind often blowing in the mountains. It felt so nice and fresh after taking the shower as if half of the tiredness and soreness went away from the body.

Then we had to put up a fire again to cook our dinner. It was much easier as there was still some heat left in the wood stove. Our water boiled in 10 minutes and in 15 minutes more we were able to cook our grains. One of our concerns for the wood stove was how easy it would be to spot us from the side. As we knew that it may give a lot of smoke and fumes. But it actually wasn’t the case at all as the fumes it was giving weren’t going a long way and then simply dissolved in the air. So we thought that it was all thanks to its small sizes and so we appreciated it even more.

Initially our idea for taking this wood stove was that by using it we could save up our gas fuel and didn’t have to worry much about not finding a refill which can be quite a problem in rural areas. We still took our gas container and the gas stove with us as we knew that in a bad rainy weather the wood stove may not work as great. And also for the cases when we come late to camp and don’t have much time to set up a fire and collect fuel. But luckily as it didn’t add much weight to the pack at all we were happy to have this little helper with us.

While our meal was cooking we set up our tent at its place and then had our dinner inside. We had the delicious combination of different kind of wheat, including buckwheat, our cherry tomatoes and dry bread. Then we had a little time to rest and went to sleep.

It was quite tedious day for us because of the heavy weight carried on the shoulders and also the hot weather and no shaded trails. The 900m uphill wasn’t extreme and was climbing gently and the marking was great. We met no people on the trail itself hiking alongside us and we thought it was a bit unusual for the high summer season. So if it wasn’t for the hot sun it would be a nice easy going day and we definitely planned to get up at 6am the next day and start the trail at around 8am, not later. We wanted to keep up with this habit the following days and enjoy the trail more as the weight carried decreases. Overall it was a successful day for us and a good start of this trail.

Do you prefer to wild camp or stay in the refuges while hiking GR trails?

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We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostSat Jun 19, 2021 2:17 pm 
Watch the full video here: 

In this post we are going to share with you the gear review of the Trekking Poles Arpenaz 100 from Decathlon. We just started to use the trekking poles this year and it was our first test of them in the field. We hiked more than 300kms with them and we think we are ready to share our honest review and opinion about this product. So here we are going to talk about the technical specs, durability, its benefits and drawbacks and our personal experience with them.

What is you experience with the trekking poles? What kind do you use?

--------------
We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 217 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spain
walkingnatureworld
Walking Nature World
PostSun Jun 27, 2021 12:29 pm 
Epic border crossing arriving to Andorra on GR11 and the Tour of a Typical Refuge - Day 3 – Vallcivera, Refugi de l’Illa, Refugi Fontverd

On our third day of hiking GR11 in Catalonia we did around 16kms from the Cabana dels Espravers, crossed the border from Spain to Andorra and arrived to the Refugi Fontverd.

Watch the full video here:

We slept in for half an hour because the sound of the river we camped by was quite loud and thus we didn’t hear the alarm. So we woke up at 7am instead of 6am but tried to move quickly and get out on the trail in time and escape extreme hot hours. Also we wanted to do our uphill until 12am. On the map we saw that we’ll have to conquer a 6km 800m uphill that seemed to be quite gentle and then we planned to descend down as far as we possibly could. So the day was promising to be very interesting and exciting.

We camped in a nice secluded place away from the trail and the night was quiet so we could rest very well. In the morning, we started to hear the cow’s bells getting closer and when we got out of the tent we saw many of them pasturing surrounding our tent as if trying to chase us away from this place.
The third morning in the row we were glad to see that there was no condensation forming on the flysheet nor on the tent body itself. Maybe it was because of the good ventilation system with quite a lot of mesh around or maybe it was because of the weather conditions. In any case we were happy that we didn’t have to deal with it.

So we had our breakfast that was a leftover from the previous dinner, collected the water from the river that turned out to be very clean and tasty and wrapped up our tent and all the camping gear.

When we got out on the trail the sun was still low on the horizon hiding over the mountain ridge and so we could enjoy having these first hours walking in the shade and breathing the fresh morning air. We actually managed to begin our day at 8am as planned which was a good start. We met our first GR mark stating that the town Encamp is in 20kms so we knew we won’t get there that day. Also we noticed there the other GR mark of GR 107 – Cami dels Bonnes Hommes leading to the other direction.

So the first few kilometers the trail went quite gently up following the course of the river and there wasn’t any particular difficulty in it. We crossed several river streams and walked in the shaded forest.
There on the riverbanks we met quite a lot of nice flat plains where it would be nice to camp at and if we knew that there are such idyllic spots we probably would stretch further up the trail the day before in order to stop there.

The day was going to be clear and sunny, third day in the row with the stable weather and we were glad to know that there were no rains or storms expected. But the hot weather in the middle of the day was a real killer so we continued to move forward keeping up a steady pace.

At one point we came out of the forest and started to go in the direct sun following the steeper uphill.  It seemed like day after day we were repeating the pattern of hiking in the shaded forest at the start and then coming out to the clear terrain closer to midday. But this was how the trail went and we could do little about it.

The landscapes around us turned to the quite rugged ones with high mountain rocks in front of us. We faced the steep ascend in few kilometers until the mountain pass and the border crossing to Andorra. That last uphill was certainly more challenging than the previous easy and gentle part but wasn’t too extreme nor long. And we actually didn’t notice how we came to the lake d’Illa which was already on the Andorra side. So it turned out easier than we expected looking at the map the day before and getting ready for the hard trail. The time on the clock was only 10am which was great to conquer the uphill till this hour and we had still a lot of powers left.

The lake d’Illa was a medium sized mountain lake surrounded by the rugged rocky and deserted landscapes. When we did a semi-circle around it we saw an interesting looking building below on the trail and it turned out to be the guarded Refugi de l’Illa. From the outside it looked like a big building made of metal sheets and we haven’t seen such a unique refuge before.

The pictures around and panoramic views were truly beautiful and breathtaking. The morning sunlight was enhancing its beauty even more. The mountains were shining in front of us in all their glory as if demonstrating how massive and monumental they truly are.

While hiking the third day around we’ve noticed that the tiredness was accumulating all over the body as the days go by. Especially we could feel the aches in the shoulders and back after carrying much weight. But when we read about other people’s experiences before getting on the trail most of them agreed that after 5 to 7 days of hiking the GR11 your body won’t get recovered fully no matter how many hours you rest. So we were mentally prepared for that and knew that this is the challenge of this hike.

As we crossed to Andorra – an interesting country located between Spain and France surrounded by high mountain ranges from all sides we think it is appropriate to mention here several facts this small kingdom is famous for. It has 3 official languages spoken there – Catalan, Spanish and French with the Catalan being the most popular. This country is famous for its commercial business and a lot of people prefer to open their shops here because of the free or low tax politics. And most of locals living in Spain and France prefer to go shopping there buying lots of things in bulk which turns out to be very economical because of the low prices on most stuff. But of course there are limits for every product of how much you can take and cross the border with. Also the excellent ski resorts are another specialty of this region.

So we got through several lakes walking quite easily down the trail and enjoying magnificent views. We did filter some more water in the clear river we met to resupply. And on the way we encountered several rocky shelters which were free of charge and non-payable ones. There are quite a lot of them along the trail so it is good to know for someone who is looking to stay at the refugees. To us these buildings were serving more for the winter cold times when it is not that comfortable to sleep outside. In summer though we believe it is better to enjoy outdoors and stay in the tent, this is our opinion anyway.

The trail continued to go flat and easy with a gentle downhill and soon the path started to go in the shade of the forest which was even more enjoyable giving us a break from the hot sun. Then at the wide open field close to the river we decided to have our lunch break as it was just about time at 12am. We had a bit of a rest in a shade of the tree there and continued down the trail.

At some parts, the trail turned to the rocky steps and bricked route as if specially made by humans and it was a nice change of different terrain. There were some clouds on the sky appeared out of nowhere but it was fine as it gave more bearable conditions to walk in in the middle of the day. Also the cool wind was helping a lot too. The path was twisting along the river and felt like a peaceful walk in the forest. So at that moment we could say it was a perfect weather for hiking.

When we arrived to the refuge Fontverd it was already 14pm and we felt like stopping there and searching for the place to camp. Because we knew that to continue hiking in such hot period of time could have the bad consequences even though we didn’t make our planned distance for the day. So we ended up doing 15kms and stopping in around 8kms until the village Encamp. We could have stretched a bit further but we already felt we did enough for that day.

So we did find the spot in between the trees and rocks in the nearby forest. We had a nice chill out time there, doing yoga stretching to release the sore muscles, taking a shower, cooking and eating our delicious dinner. Then we studied our hiking map and plan for the next day using the combination of Maps.Me, Mapy.cz and Google Earth apps on the phone. We planned to get to Encamp and go shopping there as we needed to resupply some food. And then continue further up the mountain depending on the weather and time restrictions. After that it was already time to go to sleep.

We enjoyed that hiking day very much and it ended up being our most favorite our of 3 days we had been on the trail. The weather conditions were nice and the landscapes were very beautiful. The trail wasn’t too challenging at all. We would even recommend this hike to do if some of you happen to stop in the town Encamp and will be searching for the day hike to do. It is a perfect walk in our opinion, apt for all levels and accompanied by postcard looking pictures all the way through.

Have you ever been to Andorra? What do you know about it?

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We are a young couple who loves hiking, nature walking and camping. We choose walking over driving and other types of transportation whenever we can. Also we have a Youtube channel where we're showcasing all our hikes.
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