Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sant Llorenç de Morunys - Sant Lleïr de la Vall d'Ora

19. oktober
GR1 Sendero Historico day 41.
Distance: 24.8km (1197.8km), time spent: 8:25.
Waymarking: Good (but some few pitfalls).
Weather: Clouds in the beginning, then nice.

A lovely day in three parts, where the first part of the route brought me high up to good views, the middle part let me taste asphalt beneath my feet again and the last part through a secluded area where the highlight was a national monument encircled by the colours of the fall. From Sant Llorenç de Morunys, I walked to the scattered settlement of Sant Lleïr de la Vall d'Ora, where an excellent place to stay awaited me in a large masia.

Dramatic clouds in the views on the way up from Sant Llorenç de Morunys.

In the morning in Casa Joan however, I feel that I am only causing problems, where none of the cogs of communication fit together, we struggle to understand each other. When I walk out of the doors, we have anyway come to a smiling understanding and parting. Outside, the clouds lies tightly over the small town and the mountains around, so I do not have any faith in getting a view today. On the way up into the mountains on the other side of Sant Llorenç de Morunys, there are also few windows to the horizons, but the little that exists of views are dramatic. The ascent is good, with a good surface to walk on and easy to find the way. The last part of the ascent went through a forest where the spiders had been busy making many small blankets of spider webs, which all sparkles of the morning dew.

First class view over Pantà de la Llosa de Cavall and Sant Llorenç de Morunys from Cap de Balç.

My faith was not the greatest in the morning, but today the weather gods are smiling to me. When the climb is finished, you can from the top go a small detour out to some cliffs, Cap de Balç. The views from the tip of the cliffs are first class. The sky has not opened one hundred percent yet, but more than enough to see far away over Pantà de la Llosa de Cavall and Sant Llorenç de Morunys. Coll de Jou above, however, are still wrapped inside the remaining clouds, but the bald tops of the mountains above appear out of the clouds. I put down my backpack and sit down with my feet outside the cliffs. Not easy to tear away from views.

View from Cap de Balç, Morunys below, Coll de Jou disappeared in the clouds, but the tops of the mountain appearing.

To stay up in the same altitude for a longer time, the trail rarely does, at Cap de Balç, you already has been at the highest point on this ascent. Further, it goes downwards again, but not directly. Instead, it takes its time in a calmly manner and the first part of the descent offers both woods and a view of the valley that I will descend down into. From the top of the valley, there are only a few separated farms to see. The route follows a narrow road down, past a small hamlet, La Corriu, which of course has its own tiny church. Down through a forest with a lot of dense scrub, the route disappears again. If I were to be a little bit mean, but from a slightly humoristic side, I would say that a stage on the GR1 looks to follow a certain set of rules. At least one overgrown passage full of thorns. At least once shall the waymarking be so bad that the hiker takes a wrong turn. If you gained altitude, the route shall find the fastest way down again. Today, I have no reason to complain, it has been a very good day so far.

A road with some views.

I do not let myself be affected so much by the long road walk today, as I did yesterday. Maybe it is the trees that slowly folds above me and the road that is causing it, which wraps me in a comforting mood. At the bottom, before the trail begins its ascent again, lies the small hamlet Valls, where yet another Tour de France cyclist in metal stands outside a house. I seriously doubt that Tour de France has passed by here. After Sisquer, I find a small place in the sun for lunch and now I remember something that I have forgotten to tell about. I have still some left of the red wine that I got in Salinas de Trillo. To now, I have usually taken some comforting sips of it when I have taken a very wrong turn on the trail (there has been some sips), but today, I feel like enjoying some wine for lunch. The weather is nice and it is a good temperature.

GR1 waymark and name on a cliff near Valls.

I continue further down a lovely valley, Vall Aigua d’Ora, past the scattered houses of the village Llinars. The autumn colours are on their way and the leaves are more sparkling. A campsite lies hidden away up into the valley was well, but there is no café con leche to get before a couple hours. Traces of a larger road is crossed at Pont de Llinars, where a smaller bridge leads over to an old mill. The mill is guarded by a large barking dog. A rambling crow’s nest of a house lies just next by, an accumulation of junk.

In Vall Aigua d'Ora.

The crow’s nest is the large trace of a settlement when the route enters a remote valley. Down through the valley, the trail is following a river, at first in a forest above the river. A quiet walk among leaves waiting to explode in colours. Afterwards, the bumpy mule track begins to crawl out of the woods and move higher up alongside the side of the valley. A small bronze plaque upon which is written Mirador dels Presidents on, indicates more than enough that I will soon arrive at one of the greatest highlights of the whole trail when it comes to churches. Some kind of metal assembly is struck down into the top of the same rock; I guess it is there to hold a flag or something. Out from the brink, there is a very thin cliff ridge that crosses over the valley.

Ermita de Sant Pere de Graudescales seen from above, fall is on the way.

Out on the ridge cliff, I almost look straight down at Ermita de Sant Pere de Graudescales, lying in the middle of trees with yellow autumnal colours next to the river. It is situated in a lovely location, seen from here, but far up in an isolated valley. I would still have wanted to arrive here even later, when the autumn is in full fire, or after the first snow has fallen. Both would have given a special view of the church, but I would have preferred to see the church in the middle of the colours of the fall. From the cliffs, there is a small walk down to the national monument; it is not located directly at the trail, so you have to leave the GR1 to get there. Originally a part of a Benedictine monastery, it is a lovely church built in a Romanesque style. The door is locked, but you can look inside it, inside it is neat and tidy, so the church is probably still in use at times. A beautiful place.

The thin ridge cliff above Sant Pere de Graudescales.

I am almost at the end of the walk of today when I pass by a tiny chapel, on one side of the chapel there is a sign written Telefonos on, a direct line to God maybe? Sant Lleïr de la Vall d'Ora is another village where the houses lies separated from each other. Masia el Pujol, my accommodation for the night, is located at the top of a small hill and it is a short and pleasant walk up. The place is a nice mix of pleasant accommodation, farm, bar, lazy strange dogs and more.

Ermita de Sant Pere de Graudescales, a national monument in a secluded valley.

In the evening, I would sit out and enjoy the scenery, but here it gets quicker cold outside than in Sant Llorenç de Morunys, so I cannot hold out sitting out just as long as yesterday. Inside there is a living room the guests can use, rather messy, but which gives it a kind of homely touch. Deer is served to dinner. I end the evening watching a football match together with an old fellow that suddenly appears, Champions League, Barca against Manchester City. A more than approved day today.

Masia el Pujol in Sant Lleïr de la Vall d'Ora.

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