Europe

Estany de Sant Maurici

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Taking advantage of this summer we have stayed at home, we have made several day trips through Catalonia. One of them was the visit to Estany de Sant Maurici, located in Lleida, in the heart of the Pyrenees and about four hours by car from Barcelona. Thanks to the fact that some friends were spending their holidays in Solsona, we left from this town and it took us two and a half hours to arrive.

L'estany de Sant Maurici is within National Park of Aigüestortes. We entered through the town of Espot and, as we arrived early, we were able to park in the parking lot in Prat de Pierró, which is the closest to the pond. There, two park managers told us where to park and the way forward. From the parking lot to the pond there is about an hour and a half walk, but from the parking lot there is a 4 × 4 taxi service that leaves you in the pond for € 4.35 each way and leaves every hour on the hour.

Our intention that day was to make the easy route that marked a hiking guide that Míriam was carrying and that consisted of making the route walking from the parking lot to the pond and then going around the Estany. For this tour, the guide marked a distance of ten kilometers that could be covered in three hours. However, in the end we could not do what was planned because the road was not marked and, when we discovered it, we had already taken part of another route and we were so tired that we left it.

1. From Prat de Pierró to the Pallers Bridge (1.20 km, 45 minutes away).
This part of the journey surprised us by its beauty, like the rest. Throughout this section you go over a wooden walkway to cause minimal impact on the environment with millenary firs on the left, while a river accompanies you on the right with the flow of its waters. About fifteen minutes to start, we find a beautiful bridge with a small waterfall in front. From the first bridge, the walkway ends and is followed by a more mountainous road that runs through meadows where some horses graze and with the Pyrenean peaks as a backdrop.

At the point where this path intersects with the road where 4 × 4 taxis circulate, the Pallers Bridge is supposed to be, but the truth is that I did not see it. Maybe I was so amazed at the high mountain landscape that I hadn't seen the three Wise Men pass by a camel in front of me.

2. From the Pallers bridge to the hermitage of Sant Maurici. (3.5 km, 1 hour and 25 minutes ride).
The section runs along a dirt road between black pines and fir trees. Along the way there are informative posters that inform about the flora and fauna of the park, such as the grouse, the bearded bear or the groundhog. At the end of this section, which begins to climb, we find the hermitage of Sant Maurici. The truth is that I expected more Romanesque and has a fairly modern design. From here, the section with more slope of the road begins, and here one opens the lungs to the maximum to absorb all the pure air of the Pyrenees.

3. From the hermitage of Sant Maurici to the Estany de Sant Maurici (4 km, 1 hour and 45 minutes).
This half kilometer is a bit hard to climb, but not the worst of the stage. Upon arrival, one is ecstatic with the image of the pond that, thanks to the rains we have had all year, was overflowing with water. In the National Park d'Aigüestortes there are almost two hundred high mountain lakes and the scenery is very beautiful. Too bad that day was a bit cloudy and very cold, I think we should be at 12 ºC and, despite going with long sleeves and a fleece, there was so much wind blowing that one stayed like an icicle. In the same lake there is a toilet, an information point and a fountain that is not drinkable. This is where the 4 × 4 taxi leaves you.

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