Thursday, August 14, 2008

Behind The Mountain Lies Another Mountain

I'm off to the Pyrenees again for the puente. This time the destination is Benasque and the (very imposing) peaks of Posets and Aneto. We'll see how I get on, in the meantime these are some of the images from my trip to the Valle de Tena the other week.

When you stay in the Valle de Tena, the classic accessible high mountain route to do is that which takes you up to the Refugio de Respumoso, surrounded by the high peaks of the French-Spanish border. You can start this route from the village of Sallent although you might find it easier to drive up to the Embalse de la Sarra and start from there.

As we'd done the Respumoso route at least three times, we decided to take a variant of this that shares the beginning of the route but then goes up to the Ibones (lakes) de Arriel. Don't confuse the turn off for the ibones with an earlier one that takes you up to the peak of Arriel, the lakes path comes further up the Respomuso walk. It's a steepish but not very long climb to the first lake.

Walking past the first ibon there is a second one slightly higher up, and then in turn there is a further lake surrounded by the peaks of Arriel, Palas and Balaitus.

If you walk around the final lake there is a path, slightly difficult to spot, that takes you up to a ridge and suddenly you are in France! It's a bit colder on the other side, the lake you see in the image below was still partially frozen even though we were there in the middle of July. This was one of the best walks I've done in Spain, and with the late rains this year I had never seen the Pyrenees looking so green.

We stayed in the village of Lanuza, which is not even supposed to exist. It was supposedly doomed by the construction of the reservoir on the River Gallego and part of the old village now lies beneath the water. However, the lake never reached far enough to engulf the entire village and what remains has been restored in typical Pyrenean style for tourism. This was the view from our hotel, La Casueña is not the cheapest hotel in the area but its a lovely place to stay.


Katie said...

lovely! one of the best things about the valle de tena is also that there's a municipal campground in sallent with extremely reasonable prices (3-6 euros per person, can't quite remember).

Graeme said...

Yes, I've stayed in that campsite...once. Maybe it was just because we were there during the Pirineos Sur festival but it was extremely noisy with people turning up at all hours during the night. There were early morning drummers, stag parties, I think I'll stick to my hotel. It was very cheap though ;)