Sunday, October 9, 2016

Meson de Ligüerre - Salinas de Trillo

GR1 Sendero Historico day 31.
Distance: 40.7km (912.3km), time spent: 11:45.
Waymarking: Mainly good, some difficulties.
Weather: Excellent.


Yesterday it became clear as the day that this day would be very long. Longer than planned, and I probably should have taken the consequences of it and cut short some of the distance, but I am stubborn. So I went. In the guidebook, the walk to Salinas de Trillo is split up into two short days of about 16km each, but I have chosen to combine those two into one long walk. I was not happy about the two additional kilometres that I got, since I had to start from Meson de Ligüerre.

Ligüerre de Cinca, an abandoned village that has been made into a hotel, situated next to the Embalse de El Grado I.

A positive side of this, is that I probably get to see Ligüerre de Cinca when everybody sleeps, quiet, just me alone. The light of the morning bathing the buildings in red colours. I can get all the impressions without being interupted. Due to the expansion of the day, I decided to shorten down on the sleep and head for an early start. I had planned to eat breakfast in the abandoned village, but on my way, I got an even better idea. Even so, a small sigh is escaping me, I cannot deny that I wanted to spend the night in this place.

The entrance to the L'Entremon gorge, the trail goes up into the cliffs to the right. Up at the top of the cliffs in the sunlight, you can see San Emeterio and Castillo de Samitier.

Another positive thing is that I also get L’Entremon all to myself. This is a spectacular route where parts of it are carved out of the cliffs on the eastern side of the narrow gorge of the same name. At the bottom of the gorge the Río Cinca is running with its turkish water, the trail and river winds its way through the gorge with steep cliff walls on each side. At the top of the cliffs above me, I can see San Emeterio and Castillo de Samitier, bathed in a blinding sunlight.

What better place to eat breakfast than here? I sit down in the middle of the trail that is carved out of the walls of the cliff, with my legs halfway dangling across the edge and eat my baguette. What I have to drink is a little more unhealthy, a can of coca cola. Chemin de la Mâture from GR10 is fresh in my memory when I walk inside the cliff walls. The L’Entremon walk is finished with a walk through a tunnel. A clear blue lake, a sunken church and the Pyrenees greets me on the other side.

Eating breakfast sitting in the middle of the path carved out of the cliff walls in L'Entremon.

With better time at hand, or a shorter day, I would have taken the time to go see the church. Now that the water level is so low, it would be fun to get a closer look at the church that usually is submerged, but I really would have wanted to see it when it is fully submerged with only the top of the church tower visible.

L'Entremon, parts of the route are carved out in the walls of the cliffs. There are also waymarks for a camino here.

Some of the concerns that I had before I began my walk, was that the accommodations or places where I could get food would be closed in the time of year that I walk in. Now another new, but small, concern appear. On the way to El Humo de Muro, I find myself again in the middle of a hunt and have to tread cautiosly, while the hunters notifies each other of my arrival. Autumn is the hunters time of year, down here as well, how many hunting parties will I encounter later. The walk from Embalse di Mediano was otherwise quite nice. In El Humo de Muro, the accommodation looked like a very pleasant place.

Embalse di Mediano with church that is usually submerged, the Pyrenees in the background.

At the top of the following hill there is another jewel, which provides me with a dilemma for the day. Two unneccesary kilometres has already been added to this days tally, to take the walk up will add four new additional kilometres. These can fortunately be walked without a backpack, I hide that in the bushes before I begin the climb up, a gravel road that knows its winds and turns. The view towards the Pyrenees is worth the climb alone, but you get a lot more than bargained for here.

Because at the top, you also find the fortified ruins of Muro de Roda. Inside the walls there is another church in a good condition, Santa Maria. The church is open, inside the paintings on the walls are intact, but the floor of the alcove is creaking a lot. Outside the walls, you can see the remains of a larger houses. In 1960 there were 18 people living here, in 1970 no one. The view of the ruins and church with the Pyrenees in the background is something not to be missed.

Inside the church of Santa Maria in Muro de Roda.

When I read the description of the stage from Tierrantona to Salinas de Trillo, there were two things that struck me. One, parts of the route was apparently badly waymarked and overgrown at places, which was to make this a demanding stage. Two, there did not appear to be anything special about this part of the trail. Now it turns out the this part has been waymarked anew and the overgrown parts has been cleared. With one exception, after Morillo de Monclus I fail to notice an elusive turnoff that the trail is taking and ends up walking a long way upwards before I can conclude that I am on wild ways. New unnecessary kilometres are added to the walk today.

Muro de Roda, ruins on the top of a hill with amazing views over the Pyrenees.

On the climb up from Formigales, I get the answer of my second thought, since it ends in a lovely walk on a ridge with more wonderful views back to the mountains to the north. Except that, the most interesting of this part, was the creative use of used cycle wheels, clothes, water bottles and empty soda cans to embollish the fences around the fields with. There is otherwise an alternative GR1 route to Palo before you get to El Humo de Muro, if you wish to shorten this part, but then you will miss out on Muro de Roda.

On the walk between Formigales and Troncedo, a great walk along a ridge with more views of the north.

Deliberately placed slabs of rocks leads me first to a small chapel, and then to a lovely little village at the top of a hill, Troncedo. From the remains of the old tower, Castillo de Troncedo, I can see Salinas de Trillo. The sun had now awakened when I begun walking this morning, now it is on its way down again. The last part down to the village getting its name from the saline sources below, is on a path that calms the nerves, but not the legs and feet. They are very tired when I stumble into the village when the last rays of the sun leaves Troncedo above.

Remains of Castillo de Troncedo.

After the disappointment yesterday it is absolutely fantastic to get to a place where you feels at home at once. The reception is warm and the room is of the kind that you feel comfortable relaxing in. Before dinner, I sit outside on the terrace together with the other guests and the hosts and tastes local artisan beers. The casa rual is also making its own wine. At dinner there is no shortage of food and it is shared with both the two other guests and the hosts. Here the wine is drunk straight from the carafe, where the pipe is formed like a very thin tube that makes it easy to keep the carafe away from the mouth and still hits its mark. Amusing. After the dinner, the host places a large selection of various liquers at the table. It is quite weird that such a small place can house such a large place to sleep, and in that sense I do not mean its size.

The host at Casa Bielsa demonstrates proper drinking of wine straight from the carafe.

Do I regret that I chose to walk the whole way here? No, a at point underways perhaps, where the tiredness was aching and I looked back towards a place where I could have spend the night, or a possible place to camp. Now, well arrived in Salinas de Trillo I do not that that, the day has been great. What my legs will say tomorrow however, may say something different. A wonderful day.

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