On the day 6 of our GR11 we hiked 12kms and 800m from Coma de l’Orri down the Comapedrosa valley and arrived to the village Àreu.
We started this day early in the morning as usual feeling quite broken apart from yesterday challenging downhill. Our muscles all over the body were hurting and sore. The night was quiet and fortunately there was no rain. We felt that the air became fresher and cooler and so it was quite a bit colder to sleep. So we had our breakfast without heating it up, gathered everything in our backpacks and we were good to go.
The plan for the day was to do 12 kms to the nearest village Forca d’Areu and for that we had to do more than 800m downhill from 2100m to 1200m where it was located. Even though we were quite tired from the yesterday’s downhill, we had to do more of it today. We just hoped it wasn’t going to be that steep.
The weather from the very start of the day was quite chilly and we had to wear all the warm clothes we had on us. The sky was covered in clouds and the fog was all around us. We even got a bit of condensation on the second wall of our tent this day, which we haven’t noticed before at all. But that was because of the high humidity in the air.
So we started out slow and enjoying the fresh air and chilly weather with little sun. All the first part we hiked through the forest plains along the river and the trail was going through many rocks and moderate steep paths. On the way we met a lot of cows pasturing with their little cute calves and moving fearlessly down the steep rocky hills. At that time the sun was already up on the sky and we had to put off our jackets and put on some sunscreen.
There we met an interesting info board stating that in this Comapedrosa valley 50000 years ago there was a glacier occupying all of it. And right now instead of the ice there are a lot of clear beautiful lakes that we found fascinating. Also we didn’t know before that there are actual glaciers as well in Pyrenees but they are much smaller now than they were in the past.
After some time we met a crossroads sign – one of which was leading down the valley and one was continuing along the side of the mountain. We took the second one. There we also saw an interesting sign of the connection from GR11 to GR10 that was directing towards the mountains bend probably. And it was really interesting and useful as this way you can do a part of the trail on one side and then get back crossing to the other side (from Spanish to French or vice versa).
At some point, we came out to the dirt road and followed an easy trail there. Soon we reached a parking lot with lots of cars so we made a conclusion that it was a starting point for many people to start their hike in the area. We also met many big groups of people hiking together and with the guide going in reverse direction to ours.
From there the trail went into the dense shadowed forest following the gentle downhill and continued like that for several kms. This part in the forest even reminded us a lot of the local trail we love doing in the area we live – la Molina. It also had many waterfalls and the rivers coming down from the mountain. Sometimes the path opened up to a wonderful view across the valley. And there we met several squirrels and a roe deer that was behaving quite carelessly just eating the grass in front of us.
So for quite a long time we enjoyed the complete shade of the forest and then we had to cross several dirt car roads. The traffic there was quite frequent and every time the car would pass by the sandy tiny gravel of which it was made was ending up blowing it all on us and our clothes. Fortunately it wasn’t lasting for a long time and the path went back to the forest but this time we were walking more between the fields and some neglected farm buildings. The downhill itself was quite steep and rocky in parts and our legs were starting to get tired of it, so long it was and it continued all the way to the village.
It was already the middle of the day when we went out on the dirt car road again and realized that the last 3 km part we had to walk on it. It wasn’t a pleasant experience at all because the road had no shade and the cars were quite frequent again. It was going among the fields and farmhouses and the sun was striking our head quite fiercely. Getting closer to the village we started to look out for the possible camp spots for us to stop at but all we saw were the cultivated fields with lots of agricultural and irrigation equipment and vehicles.
So we continued on and after an hour or so we were at our destination village Forca d’Areu. It was a typical mountain village with rocky buildings surrounded by the fields. We stopped there in a small park at the bench in the shade and had some rest. Also we had to wait for the grocery shop to open as it had a siesta break from 2pm to 5pm which is very common in all parts of Spain. It wasn’t very convenient for us as we would rather be searching for camp spot and chilling out there but we had no choice as we ran out of many food supplies. At 5pm, we finally were able to buy some rice, tomatoes, mandarins, apples cookies, and cheese.
Then we headed out of the village up in the fields and spent a while searching for the place to camp. As there were quite a lot of people walking everywhere as well as farmers doing their work. But finally we found a nice little spot between the trees (that just had enough space for our tent) on a faraway neglected field where we decided to stop. We didn’t have enough daylight left already and so quickly set up a camp, cooked dinner and quite exhausted we went to sleep.