The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- sunday 13 april 2014 -
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 esfr-trip-track-20140413.kml
(click to open this trip in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps; click right on this link to download gpx-version)

Summary: part of a 6-days trip to the Eastern Pyrenees, exploring routes between bm521 and bm545.
Basecamp: the camping municipal in St-Laurent-de-Cerdans.

Day 5: a trip from the Falgo-golfcomplex doing bm524 to bm535 and viceversa to check wayfinding and directions for the GRPdesBf-trail

Weather: sunny & warm
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds: see the
cartography-page

Start: 9.30h, break: 15.45-15.45, finish: 18.30, net walking time: 8h
 
According to the gps-tripteller:
Distance: 12,3 km
Total ascent: 996m
Total denivellation: 1992m
Maximum height: 1106m
Total time: 8.57h



According to visugpx

- distance : 10 km
- cum. elevation gain : 603m
- cum. elevation loss : 599m
- total elevation: 1202m

- altitude maxi : 1116m
- altitude mini : 676m
- altitude average : 924m

From the Falgos-complex it's an easy climb to Col de les Mašanes.

Then (as found out two day earlier on 11 april 2014):

- at the path going SEE from the open space of Col de les Mašanes, you will spot two birch trees at its right side.

Just before the first birch tree, a faint trail enters the 'field' to the right


ands winds 50m through the  blackberry and broom to reach bm524
Bm524, looking W
Bm524
- then proceed 10m to the S to the fence, climb through it

- then (this picture) go left towards the hilltop E (▒ 125m distance), some faint trails might help you to climb it

- that hilltop is the beginning of a sort of ridge, going first SEE. A faint trail will help you along

- that ridge first climbs very gently in 100m to a second hilltop

- and then slowly descends, bending from SEE to SE (this is important, otherwise you might continue NE to another hilltop in the distance) to reach in 100m a lower - rocky -hilltop which is the end of the ridge

Bm525 is engraved at the W-side of it.

In the far distance I spot
the mountain of Comanegra.

I was there a few days ago on 10 april 2014
Bm525
Bm525
Bm525, looking approximately in the direction where you have to descend.
Then a steep and slippery descent (later less steep) for ▒ 200m through the forest SSW to bm526.

Use your compass (or gps)! You easily stray away from your course in the forest.

Luckily, there's a cairn now on this groundlevel-bordercross.


And that makes finding easier.
Getting closer. Note the metal 'hunting reserved' plate at the tree right.
Bm526
Bm526
Bm526
From bm526, descend further but now SEE for ▒ 200m to a very distinctive rocky ridge.

First that descent is on a hillside but then - after 100-150m - the hillside becomes a descending hillridge.




This is important because you might go too far SE instead of SEE.

Then the hillside remains a hillside and you will miss that rocky ridge with bm527 alltogether.
The rocky ridge has a peculiar beginning:
this impressive rock-construction. 


Bm527 is however ▒ 75m further SEE on the rocky ridge: just follow it and get on it when you can and you will reach bm527.
A zoom-in from previous picture: we see the pastures of Hostal de la Muga
Bm527
Bm527
Bm527
This is bit back on the ridge leading to bm527.

Now I notice a plastic bag, hanging from a branch. I remember having seen them earlier today and I will see more of them today next to the bordermarkers.

A sort of marker of the bordermarker. Who did this?
Then - to bm528 - it's a steep descent SEE besides the rocky ridge for ▒ 225m to a stream.


For a part, orange waymarks will help you
until they end at this hunter's post. Descend further along/besides the rigde.
Then we approach the 'bottom' of the descent where a small stream is.
Bm528 shouldn't be difficult to find: it's horizontal and on floorlevel on a long flat rock which almost 'hangs' above the stream.
Zoom-in
Bm528
Bm528
Bm528
Bm528
A few meters to the left is a tiny cascade in the stream, another help to find bm528.

You can cross the stream left of this cascade.
I made this small sketch of the situation on 4 april 2008.
Again we spot a plastic bag near the bm.
Then the last hint to find bm528
After crossing the stream, climb E up the hill where  the rocky ridge reappears in a modest form (looste boulders in a line) and continue E along that ridge.
Gradually the ridge  becomes more prominent and gets its summit in a distinctive peak.

After ▒ 225m (from bm528) you'd better get on the ridge (▒ 50m before that peak) because you have to be on the other side of the ridge on a second ridge.

This picture: I'm already on that second ridge and close to bm529
I made this small sketch of the situation on 4 april 2008.

And now projected on Google Earth.

Bm529 is situated on the second ridge ▒ 25m SE of the 'distinctive peak' on the first ridge.

bm529

Bm529
Bm529
I return to re-walk the route and photograph it and show the directions for ... you.

This picture: still along the ridge coming from bm528. The ridge is about to culminate in a summit.

A bit further on
at this point, get on the ridge itself.
Continue on the ridge
until this 'distinctive peak' is near.

Now descend a few meters to the S and
proceed to the second ridge and
you will get to bm529.

From bm529 you can descend between both ridges SEE- steeply - for ▒125m to another stream.
Bm530 is in the line of the ridge which continues from bm529 and descends to the stream.

Close to that stream, you'll arrive at this spot

Bm530 is horizontal on a rockledge, above the stream.






Again a plastic bag.
Bm530
Bm530
Bm530
Then go left of bm530, descend a bit and cross the stream.

Then climb E up the hill and reach after ▒ 75m on a hilltop this ruined barn ("Can Toni") and
a boulder opposite of it.

Bm530 is on top of the boulder. There's still a ladder made by Jean Iglesias but now I try to climb it without it.

That's fairly easy at the right side of the boulder (unless the rock is wet, I suppose) and you will get a closer view of bm531.

Bm531
Bm531 but now seen from the ladder.
Bm531, seen from the ladder
This is the right side of the boulder: enough to step on and to hold to to climb it.
And also here a plastic bag
From this spot, a trail (white waymarked, later yellow) brings me easily in ▒ 100m along
bm532.
Bm532
Bm532
Then the white cq yellow trail brings me

in ▒ 225m 
and along a 'hunting reserved'-plate (usually a confirmation that you're at the borderline).
to the crossing of a stream (now running but usually dry).
That stream is the borderline from bm533 - which is only 20m higher - to the junction with the Muga in the SSE.
Looking down the stream.

But how to get to bm533?

This is the easiest way: go back 10-20m on the trail and then make a curve  to the stream higher on.
Now I'm at the spot of bm533, ▒ 20m higher.


Bm533
Bm533
Bm533
There's also a hunter's post here.

Then I return to the crossing of the stream where I came from.
The trail continues and descends
- still yellow waymarked -


crossing red sandy terrain
and ends at a dirtroad. 
From the dirtroad looking back uphill.

This is the dirtroad descending from the hamlet of Pla Castanyer, south of Vilaroja.
I continue W on the dirtroad which arrives (and ends) soon
at the streambed of the borderstream.

From here you can descend directly S (a bit through the streambed, then along it) to the junction of stream and the Muga.

A bit to the right is the trail which brings you across the border
in 100m to the ruined farm of Hostal de la Muga.


From Hostal de la Muga, I cross the pasture to its SE corner.
A little descending and I see
bm534 is on the other side of the Muga.

If the water is not too high, you can easily jump to the other side. If not, be careful: the streambed can be very slippery.
Bm534
Bm534
On the other side - a bit to the left - I can climb up the hill and  arrive after 20-30m at a trail going E.

That trail is an easy access towards bm535.

You'd better make a waymark here because - when returning - it's not obvious where to descend back to bm534.
When you spot - after ▒ 175m - 2 houses at the other side of the Muga, descend to them.
Bm535 is just opposite the left house.

You can see the remnants of the bridge which was flooded away in october 1940 when enormous rainfall caused destruction all over the eastern Pyrenees.
Bm535
Bm535
Bm535
Bm535, looking upstream.

I climb back to the trail which continues eastwards.
I try it for ▒ 300m to see if it ends at the dirtroad to the S but it remains parallel to the Muga, down below.

Possibly it's the old trail from bm535 (when the bridge still existed and before the dirtroad was constructed) along the Muga eastwards.



Getting back to bm534 wasn't that easy, it's difficult to see from the trail where you have to descend to get back at bm534.

So - as said before - you'd better make a waymark on the trail, once you have climbed to it from bm534.
Break near Hostal de la Muga.

I received from Cayetano some information about it:

"Hostal de la Muga which you find mysterious, closed its doors in january 1992. There was also a fountain but now it is dry. The roads leading to it are from the 70ties and before that they needed animals for transportation"

Then back to Col de les Mašanes, taking the same route and redoing bm533-524.



I thought it would be a piece of cake but without consequently using your compass and/or gps from bm to bm, you get easily lost. I took me 2 hours, instead of the one hour I expected.

I have arrived close to bm533. I just crossed the streambed 2om below it and this arrow on the tree directs you up to the hunter's post where bm533 is.
Bm533, looking down the stream(bed).
Bm532
Bm531
Bm530
Bm529
Bm528
Bm527
Bm527
From bm527 I can spot in the far distance two sets of houses in the silent wilderness above the Muga.

They must be 'Ca la Manela' and
'les Costes'.

Bm526
Bm526
Bm526
And also here a plastic bag
Bm525
In the distance bm524
Bm524
Bm524

And back to the car and to the camping.
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