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Hiking

Canigou

We have decided to go for Canigou summit today. The height difference is 2km – rather tough for a day (we have managed 1.4km so far in one go). Fortunately the track starts right near our doorstep and we can start early enough – at 6.45am.

It is cloudy when we begin to go. Still it is clear already that there will be a hot and sunny day. The path starts on the right bank of the Fillols stream on one of the streets of the village. It ascends through the woods to the 1838m high Col des Voltes pass. When on the pass we have already climbed more than half of he height difference (1100m). Further on we go along the mountain road to the Cortalets refuge. The road has considerable traffic – the jeep taxis take tourists from the villages below to the Cortalets refuge. There are 6-8 passengers in a taxi. Means – there should be a lot of people up on the summit.

Cortalets is situated 2060m above sea level. We have managed to get there in 4 hours. On can see from the distance that the path above is full of hikers. We join the others to ascend the summit. The path is rather easy to go. The abundant sunshine is balanced somehow with the strong and cold wind. In less then 2 hours we are on the summit. Some 50 men are already there. Most of them Catalans, perhaps. The famous Canigou cross is ready for the feast – Catalan standards unfolded, bonfire prepared. Everybody adds to the bonfire faggots they have brought to the summit and takes shots in front of the bonfire.

The view around is stunning – summits, mountain villages. We see Prades, behind it is Perpignan and the Mediterranean. Having had enough views we find the unoccupied shelter from the cold wind and have some rest. Then we head off in a long way down to Fillols. The sun still shines without mercy. After we pass the Cortalets the cold wind is gone and it gets hotter and hotter. We are totally exhausted when we reach Fillols. We have managed 2km height difference upwards in less then 6 hours and downwards in 4.5 hours.

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