My first day (Friday 16th December) was a rainy late one.
Wandered around Aquallana to figure out where exactly route started, then off I went at around midday.
A route that passed by little rivers and allotments, pretty and serene.
Once I was firmly away from Aquallana it was a case of jump under trees whenever there was a down pour.
No need to rush so tree hiding is fine.
Only one notable section had been clearly tampered with, spent a bit of time sussing it out, no real drama but only because I have a map.
Which makes me realise I need more maps. I’ve got some on my phone but if the battery goes and powebank is dead then eekk!
On towards Boadella D’Emporda via what looked like a place that was a wood of oaks but sadly burned down and most had been cut back/down so rather barren.
After here I hiked up a winding path that cut into the hill above the village. Finally topping out near a col.
It was here I decided to pitch up at around 5pm slightly away from the col. A neat spot not too far from the trail. Weather reports had predicted rain for 6pm, by 8pm it was hammering down.
I’d forgot to buy a lighter so couldn’t light stove to eat warm food, noted that I must get one.
With that the night passed, not cold, just frustrating with the rain. I cannot express how noisy rain is on a tent.
2nd day (Saturday 17th) I wanted to stay in the tent, warm and cosy. I knew that packing down wasn’t going to be pretty.
Took me an hour, dry tent as much as possible then set off at 9:30 towards Terrades.
Got there remembering to buy a lighter and few bits of food, namely an oversized loaf of bread.
Onto next place, via a windy mountain Road, lots of cyclists out looking speedy.
Villarig is a tiny hamlet, I stock up on water here by the Church then march on.
I must say I’ve mostly been walking probably 98%. Why? Well my pack, with food kit and water weighs close to 13kgs.
Not sure I could cut back on weight by much. Maybe a 1kg tops. For sure I could cut tags and unnecessary strips of material from garments and kit.
Maybe once I stay at a b&b and have space to think about these things.
The thought has crossed my mind to take a lower more coastal route thus more places to eat and thus less for me to carry. But the idea of being in busy places and less wild isn’t so appealing as yet.
After Villarig it’s Llado a slighter larger place, only 1 cafe open but no food being served.
So on I trudge. At this point I decide to take a yellow route also known as PRs as opposed to the Gr2 I’ve been following, the reason was to cut out a big climb late in the day.
It begins easily enough and then gets awful after 2km. A swampy mud fest, followed by brambles, then a route that without a map I wouldn’t have a clue about has been covered with branches covered by a forest clearance of some sort….not so clear. I scramble and I curse. Next is a slippery med fest slope up.
I vow when I see a flat spot without brambles it’s mine for the night and almost at the top I do and it is mine.
Tent up, night kit on, I go about getting gas and stove for food…it is then I realise I’ve got the wrong gas.
First no lighter now wrong stove. I laugh at myself. The bread I bought earlier is eaten with some cheese squares I’ve got and I wash it down with water. Nice.
A slightly colder night, but only from the floor. Everything else toasty, I put an extra top on my down jacket and that helps a bit. Another disjointed night.
Day 3 (Sunday 18th)
The get dressed in the morning in my tent because it’s cold outside makes me think I’m doing some sort of weird yoga.
Contorting oneself in a tiny tent isn’t easy.
I pack up and the tent is muddy which annoys me. I don’t want to waste tissues wiping it. Into its bag slightly damp and dirty it goes.
Onto the next part,after 2 km I am greeted by some hunters preparing the dogs.
I ask directions as again the route has gone array. They send me off and I must have taken a wrong turning as I end up surround my fencing either side of the path and keep out signs ahead….so I keep going.
Eventually I find the yellow marks again but they don’t go in the way I want so I make a decision simply to head down the forest track as I can hear a road.
Hitting the road there’s a sign saying 7km to Besalu.
I know from the map that I can take a nicer way so I wander about 2 km along and dip down towards the river that is pleasant enough. Another 2 hours I’m in Besalu.
Asking at info centre where the camp site is as tonight I need a shower and to recharge phone watch that died on me yesterday.
She says 2km, great that’s alright…except more like 4km out of town up and down a hill. Get to camp site and I think he is surprised to see a hiker.
His shop isn’t stocked or restaurant open, due to time of year. I’m frustrated with myself as I should have stayed in town of Besalu before coming here. I can’t face the 4km each way today, but shall go back tomorrow via the GR2 that i shall definitely take.
So what not to do…
Not to forget lighter
Not to buy wrong gas
Not to ask hunters for directions
Not to trust someone else idea of distance
What I must do…keep buying large loafs of bread 🍞 and buy another map at Les Presses.