On Day 8 of GR11 we had a big plan of doing around 20kms and 1000m elevation change getting through Estany i Sant Maurici National Park in Catalan Pyrenees, Spain hiking through many lakes and climbing over the 2600m high Pass de la Ratera.
The night was quiet and warm and we had a nice sleep. We woke up at 6am at our camp spot on GR11 and as we knew that it is going to be a hot day we tried to wrap up everything as quickly as possible. We didn’t know for sure how the terrain was going to be so we wanted to make the major uphill as early as possible in the day.
From the very start of the day we saw many people walking by us on the trail and we assumed that it’s going to get even busier later. So we had our breakfast and were out on the trail.
At first, the path was following quite a wide dirt road and a gentle uphill. Soon we came out to the water source Font de Ermita where we planned to resupply and the water turned out to be very nice and tasty. We didn’t even had to filter it.
Then the last km or so to the lake was very picturesque as we were surrounded by many amazing mountain peaks and abrupt cliffs. We made a couple of photos and continued on. All the first part of the trail was going through the shaded forest and we enjoyed the fresh air very much.
Soon we came out to the scenic Lake Estany de Sant Maurici. The place was glorious with the beautiful mountain peaks all around and the clear blue turquoise waters of the lake. We could see that it was quite deep too. We could imagine doing great photography work there at a sunset time. It even reminded us of the well know Lago di Braies in Italian Dolomites by the size and location of it. There was a circular route around it too.
We continued going along the lake for a short time before the GR11 turned to the side and started to follow more steep uphill but it was still going in the shade which was nice. Then we heard the strong sound of water coming down from the distance and arriving close saw a big waterfall called Cascada de la Ratera. It was quite impressive and immense and standing close to it we could feel how powerful it was. The feeling of the water spray on the skin consisting of little drops was very nice too.
The trail went up for a little while before we came out to another this time located higher up – lake Estany de Ratera. It was similar in size to the previous one and no less beautiful.
We had a quick snack in the shade there and while having a break we were surprised to see the car trucks passing on the road. It turned out that it was possible to get up to this high point with the help of this lift and then doing a tour come down by yourself as quite a few people were doing we suppose. There we also saw several bushes of wild blueberries that was rare to meet.
Then the dirt road came to an end soon and we started walking on the usual rocky paths. The trail was becoming steeper and steeper and the terrain more rugged as we were passing several more lakes climbing up. The sun was also already pretty high on the horizon and it was easy to get a heat struck.
Without pausing for long in the shade we were ready to tackle the last portion of the uphill…