THE GR7 BACKWARDS! CATALUYA Cinquena part

Mont-ral to Arboli.

March 22 – 23rd

I knew today would be a long walk but was looking forward to it as it traversed the Serra de la Mussara where I had often climbed. Was up fairly early, at least before the French lads. The guardian had left me breakfast as he had gone off even earlier to work as a mountain guide. Lots of coffee and bread/jam. Left some for the late risers.  Good sunny clear morning – I always seem to be lucky with the weather on these trips. Not so lucky with the navigating early on, got lost on the multitude of paths leaving the village. Didn’t feel right in the head somehow.

Leaving Mont-ral

Leaving Mont-ral

Soon I was ascending steeply through trees to gain the ridge and had to be attentive to the red and white waymarks. I was now on the Serra de la Mussara, maintaining a height of 1000m for several kilometres, but views were restricted by the trees. At one point I climbed up for better views and was rewarded by a superb vista to the East with Mont-ral prominent.

Onwards along the forest track with lots of cliffs to the right.

The forest road kept to the ridge but no views were to be had and it seemed to go on forever. At one point new forest clearings had altered the track considerably and way marks were obliterated.

GR7 ?

GR7 ?

After a long time on the ridge the path started to drop down towards a road I could hear. Crossing this and then quickly going down to the left towards a valley.

I was ready for a rest and somehow I’d got it into my mind there  was no accommodation in the next village, Arboli.  Sat for a while and contemplated my situation over a banana! Nothing I could do but continue and hope things would work out but the day and my pace was affected by my mood. Dropped down further into a gorge with dramatic falls and some awkward scrambling in the depths.

El Gorg

Steadily the track improved as it climbed out of the gorge. Ahead was a large ruin of an old farmstead on the col at 900m, this must have been a grand place at one time. Last inhabited in the 1960s.

Gallicant

Gallicant

From this ridge there were views across the valley to the cliffs and village of Siurana, another climbing area visited in the past. GR7 march2013 475Now it was all downhill on an old paved track into the small village of Arboli……

…..with my doubts about accommodation bothering me again as I was feeling shattered. Was I glad on rounding a street corner to see a Hostal open.

L'Hostalet

L’Hostalet

After a  coffee I rested up in my room and by the time supper time came around realised my stomach and guts were in a bad shape. Maybe water from the fonts?? No wonder I had struggled all day.Managed a small bowl of soup and was flat out for the night. Next morning was no better so I arranged to stay another night and spent most of the day in bed. Ventured out late afternoon and found a climbers bar for coffee and cake. By evening I was on the mend and had an enjoyable meal with a couple from Reus. What a difference the rest made!                                                  It was my birthday after all.

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