HRP The Pyrenees 2023

Dag 1: August 13th: From Gavarnie to Vallée d’Estaube

It was raining when we left Tarbes with the bus to Gavarnie. But as further up we came the clouds slowly disappeared. I was super excited, finally I was back where I left off last year and so glad Christer could come along for the first 10 days of my last part of HRP.

We did some last shopping in Gavarnie of some bread and cheese, at about 12.30 we were ready to leave.

We had a really hot first climb, still enjoyable and beautiful with several good opportunities to stop for a short break to enjoy the views, for instance looking back at Gavarnie and Breacha de Roland.

Christer at the Hourquette d’Alans, taking a last look at Breacha de Roland and before descending down to Vallée d’Estaubé.

We found a nice campsite close to a stream in the Vallée d’Estaubé.

Day 2: August 14th: From Vallée d’Estaube to Lac de Barroude

Early morning in the valley Vallée d’Estaubé.

As yesterday was a bit to warm for hiking we decided to get an early start to enable the ability to be slower in the afternoon. The early morning are the best, to see the sunrise, enjoy the stillness, the light and see how life in the mountains slowly wakes up.

A beautiful and rather long and hot day. We miss calculated the water, the water sources before the lakes had dried out (Ruisseau d’Aguillous). So the last part was a bit tough as it was damned hot and we had nearly no water left for the last hour.

Amazing view just before arriving to the lakes, Lacs de Barroude (2373m).
Finally water! Christer heading down to the Lacs de Barroude (2373m). Popular place for fishing and pitching a tent. We found a free spot just at the lake, windy but nice.

Day 3: August 15th: From Lac de Barroude to Urdiceto power station

We went up with the sunrise, on the otherside of the lake there was already some people fishing.

Early morning, Christer at Lac de Barroude
Early cold morning at Lac de Barroude. Christer packing down the tent.
Port de Barroude
Up at the Port de Barroude (2549 m) there is a flat plateau, even more windy
The village Parzan
Entering the village Parzan to do some resupply.

On our way down to Parzan the sun started to warm us up and soon it was too hot again. The last part before reaching Parzan we have to follow a rather busy road for some kilometers. In Parzan we could do some resupply and we took the opportunity to eat some heavy food, (food that is too heavy to carry such as canned clams, fresh fruit and vegetable etc). We had a really lovely lunch in a not so lovely spot, at the parking area, right outside of the supermarket. But at least we got some shadow.

Sunny dirt road from Parzan
From Parzan we hiked for a very long time on a dirt road (felt like for ever) during the hottest time of the day. We had to follow the dirtroad for about 11 km.

As we slowly slowly made our way up in the heat we met two really nice persons, Ally, from Irland and Christoffer from France. We had some nice breaks with them in the shadows. Both of them had been out hiking for a while, doing a mix of many different trails.

Tent spot for the night at Urdiceto power station
Christer and I decided to stop for the night, at Urdiceto power station. We had both hoped for a refreshing bath but in the lake there were too many dead trees so there where no space for a swim.

Day 4: August 16th: From Urdiceto power station to Barranco de Añescruzes (2080 m)

Christer hiking on a dirtroad in the mountain
Up early as usual and we decided to just grab a quick sandwich and instead stop and have a longer breakfast with tea and coffee when the sun started to warm us up.

Christer in the early morning light of the mountains
Christer in the early morning light
Eating lunch with our new friends Christopher and Alley
Around lunch time we run into Alley and Christoffer and we had really nice lunch with them at the camping El Forcallo. Unfortunatly this was the last time we saw each other. They had decided to stop for the night at the camping. We said good buy in the late afternoon and we continued to walk a couple of more hours.
The valley below refuge Viados
The valley below refuge Viados. We had a short break at the refuge, I have some great memories with Yrr from this place, as we stayed here a couple of nights in 2009.
Our tent at Barranco de Añescruzes (2080 m)
We continued our walk in scorching sun and I regretted the cold and nice beer I had at lunch. We found a nice camping spot at Barranco de Añescruzes (2080 m). We were still full after the heavy lunch so we didn’t make any warm dinner.
Barranco de Añescruzes (2080 m)
Amazing view at Barranco de Añescruzes (2080 m)

Day 5: August 17th: From Barranco de Añescruzes to Camping Ixeia

Another hot day of hiking. Not very demanding hike but the heat in the afternoon made us exhausted. We had a nice lunch break at the Refugio de Estos before heading to Camping Ixeia for at two days break.

Me (Anna) doing first climb for the day
Me (Anna) doing the first climb for the day
Narrow path on the slope
Stony path from Puerto de Gistain, Christer on his way down to Valley de Estos
Christer on his way down from Puerto de Gistain (2572 m) to Valley de Estos
Early morning view over the valley and surrounding mountains
Early morning view of Valley de Estos

Day 6: August 18th: Rest day in Benasque

We enjoyed our rest day enormously. Hitchhiked to the lovely mountain village Benasque and had a nice and slow day there. There is also buses and you can also walk as it is not very far from Ixeia.

Boquerones with green olives
Eating Boquerones at a nice tapas bar
Snails as tapas
Great snail tapas
Street view in Benasque
Narrow streets in Benasque

Day 7: August 19th: From Camping Ixeia to the lake Estanyets de Cap de Llauset

We were both happy and excited to leave the camping. The restday had given us new energy.

Christer waiting by the lake
Christer waiting by the lake before climbing up to Collado de Ballibierna
Christer climbing a rocky path up to Collado de Ballibierna
Steep and rocky climb up to Collado de Ballibierna
Christer is hanging newly washed clothes to dry, by the tent and lake
Tent pitch at Estany de Cap de Llauset. Christer hanging up his clean clothes to dry in the wind.

Day 8: August 20th: From Estanyets de Cap de Llauset to Lac de Rius

Christer standing infront of an amazing early morning view with several mountains layers behind him.
Love the morning light. At the col there was nearly no wind.
Looking down at the lakes Estanyets de Cap d'Anglos from Collet dels Estanyets
The sun followed us down to the lakes at Estanyets de Cap d’Anglos from Collet dels Estanyets. Quiet and peaceful.
One of the lakes at Estanyets de Cap d'Anglos
One of the lakes at Estanyets de Cap d’Anglios. I really enjoyed this place and would have loved to stay longer. The refuge, Refugi d’Anglio, newly built and looked very nice. A place to remember and revisit one day.
Me (Anna) having a swim in one of the lakes
I had my first swim in one of the lakes, absolutely wonderful!

From there we made our way down through the forest and reached a big road. The sun was now baking hot. We decided to have lunch and siesta at the stream, Ribera de Conangles, before doing the last climb for the day.

Christer haveing a bath in a stream
Christer is having a bath in the ice cold stream
Christer in a rocky mountain landscape
Tent by a lake, clothes hanging to dry
We found a really nice tent spot for the night at the lake, Lac de Rius.

Day 9: August 21st: From Lac de Rius to Planhòles dera Lòssa

Early morning, sunrise over lake
Early morning at Lac de Ruis

We went up at sunrise. Beutiful morning. A Pyrenean dog watched over us from a distance. We didn’t see any sheep but probably not far away. It was probably one of the dogs I heard during the night.

Christer getting ready to leave our camp spot at the lake
Christer getting ready to leave our camp spot at the lake
The lake Lac de Ruis in the morning light
At the end of the lake we took the wrong path, we didn’t discover our mistake until after an hour. Luckely the path we were following rejoined with HRP further on, so we didn’t have to turn back. Unfortunately we missed a few lakes but we still had a nice walk.

Later in the afternoon the weather changed, it looked like it was going to be thunder so we hurried to get further down. We were lucky, we left the bad weather behind us.

It was difficult to find a nice spot for the tent, a lot of cow shit everywhere. We finally found a spot close to a stream, quite far down, it turned out to be a little too far down. You should bivouac above 2000 meters and we were now around 1700. In the morning we were visited by a park guard. He was nice, but we still had to sign a piece of paper, not really clear what it ment but we might receive a payment claim by post.

Day 10-11: August 22st-23rd: From Planhòles dera Lòssa to Salardú/Viehla

We had a short walk of about 3 hours to Salardu. We sat down and had some coffee before heading to the Gite in the village. We had a nice and slow afternoon, and in the evening the gite served us a nice dinner with chicken.

Very flat area in the mountain
The wallpaper in our room with flowers and birds at the gite in Salardu
Our room at the gite
Goat cheese sandwich
Next morning we took the bus to Viela, our last day before Christer was to take the bus to Barcelona. I did some resupply for the next etapp at the well stocked supermarket in Viehla.
Happy Christer outside of REFU, a Microbrewery in Viehla
Happy Christer outside of REFU, a nice Microbrewery in Viehla
Christer waiting for the bus in Viehla
Christer on his way home, waiting for the early bus to Barcelona

Day 12: August 24th: From Salardú to Estany d’Airoto

First day on my own, a little bit strange to suddenly walk by yourself and I will miss my dear company. But at least we got some really nice days on the trail together. I took the bus from Viela around 7 so I got a nice an early start from Salardu.

Walking on a dirtroad
Dead pine three standing in the lake Estany de Baix de Baciver
Perfect place for a short break at Estany de Baix de Baciver
Another lake, Estany de Dalt de Baciver
At the lac I filtered some water before the demanding climb up to Tuc Marimanha. Demanding as it was very rocky, steep and no path what so ever, you couldn’t even trust the GPX trail, you really needed to understand the terrain and figure out on your own how best to do the climb.
Looking back at the lakes, Estany de Dalt de Baciver
Looking back at the lakes, Estany de Dalt de Baciver
Steep boulder climb
At first it went well and I climbed very methodically and it seemed that I was on the right track but I probably lost my focus and came too high up and then it was absolutely impossible to reach the right position. I had to turn back down and as it was very steep I was not keen in doing so. I was very close to a ridge so I decided to head up there and if I was lucky I could join the trail from there. But no, here I should have turn back but instead I continued down the valley, thinking I could make a shortcut. (there is no shortcuts in the mountains) It was steep, very steep and after a while I regret my decision but continued anyway.
Steep boulder field
Gigantic boulder field
Down in the valley I had to cross a field with rocks, big rocks, it was dawn hard. From above and on my photo the field looks easy and flat. At this point I was quite angry at myself.
Lake Estany dels plans
After some time I reached a lake, it was a nice lake, Estany dels Plans and I would have stopped for the night if I weren’t off track.  I continued and finally I could see the lake Estany d’Arioto, there I would be able re-join the trail again.
The lake Estany d'Arioto
After a very steep descend I finally reached the refuge Arioto. I had hoped to stay inside as I was so tired but it was already full. I made some supper and decided to head on even though there were plenty of places for a tent outside off the refuge but I wanted to make sure to get some sleep so I needed a more quieter place.
My tarptent

After a 30-minute walk I found a spot for my tent. I slept really well that night.

Day 13: August 24th: From Estany d’Airoto to Clots de Bassiero

Lac Estany d'Airoto
Looking back at my severe detour yesterday
Looking forward, excited, but still a bit shaky from yesterday.
Gazpacho and saussage with french fries
Had a lovely lunch break in the shadow at the refuge in Alos d’Isil, first some Gazpacho and then saussage with french fries.
After some tiring hiking on the road and in the scorching sun I was in need of a siesta with some writing, the butterfly keept me company (Blåvinge).

Day 14: August 24th: From Clots de Bassiero to Refuge Enric Pujol

The weather can change quickly in the mountains. The warmth that had followed me so far suddenly disappeared this morning, from 30 degrees to cold wind and some rain.

Grey and cloudy
Mist in the mountains
Refuge Enric Pujol
I decided to stay the night in the unmanned shelter, Refuge Enric Pujol, place for nine people. Here I meet Philipp and Mareike, both from Germany and few other hikers and a dog, I unforunatly have forgoten all the others names. Despite the really bad weather, the stay was very pleasent. There were interesting encounters and a rich exchange of experiences, we talked about everything from hiking experiences, equipment, hiking food, choices in life, dumpster diving and food waste. We all were very happy to be inside, outside there were heavy wind, rain and later also heavy thunder.

Day 15: August 25th: From Refuge Enric Pujol to Cabana Guerossos

Philipp and Mareike leaving the refuge in the rain

No point getting up early this morning. The weather outside of the shelter was really bad. Rain and heavy wind. I left the refuge in the company of Mareike and Philipp, as we all was following the HRP. The weather was really bad, wet, cold and slippery. But we keept up a good mood on our way down.

Philipp in the rain in the village Noarre
Philipp in the rain in the silent village Noarre

Down in the village Noarre (1600 m) we started to ascend. I started to be quite wet; the membrane in my rather new rain jacket seems to have lost its function. The higher we got, the worse the weather got with strong cold wind and rain. We took a short break in Cabana Guerossos, an unmanned hut. Our goal was to continue to Refugi Certascan, about two hours from where we were. I hesitated but decided to join. But after 10 minutes I waved goodbye to Philipp and Mareike and turned back. It wouldn’t be wise to coninue climbing futher up the mountain in this weather, allready cold and wet. I better stay the night in the shelter I just left.

I shared the shelter with two really nice Spanish guys, who shared some hot meatballs in tomato sause with me. In the afternoon we could see that there was snow further up the mountain, we all hoped that Mareike and Philipp had made it safely to the refuge.

The storm continued to howl outside all through the night. The guys started a fire in the stove that keept us warm and also managed to dry all our wet clothes.

Cabin Guerossos
My shelter in the storm, stayed here for 24h, Cabin Guerossos

Day 16: August 26th: From Cabana Guerossos to Tavascan

The storm continued the next day. My two spanish friends decided to head back to their car in the valley. We sad good bye. My first plan was to stay another night and wait for the weather to clear up, hopefully the following day would be better. But after some studing of the map I decided to walk back and down to the village Tavascan. From there I could return to HRP via another route and skip the bad weather around Certascan.

Floded stream
I had to cross several flooded streams.
A man made stone path on my way to Tavascan
The walk to Tavascan became rather pleasant as soon as I left the higher parts and the really bad weather behind me. The storm felt very distant down here.

I stayed the night in a hotel in Tavascan, had an awful lunch but I enjoyed beeing out of the storm.