GR11 Hiking

Day 20 & 21: Trail Friends

Kilometres walked: 22km  / Total distance: 387km / Elevation gain:  1131m/ Elevation loss: 1441m / Time walked: 6h16min While I arrived early at the campsite, the rest of my hiking bubble continued to the next refugio. That meant I set out alone in the morning (which I prefer) and had the first ascent up to Pleta d’Añes Cruces all for myself. Grassy slopes, easy climb, still in the shade. The sun is not out from…

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GR11 Hiking

Day 19: Boring

Kilometres walked: 15km  / Total distance: 365km / Elevation gain:  826m/ Elevation loss: 877m / Time walked: 4h16min Today was, dare I say it…a bit boring? I’m probably getting spoiled with all the grand and magnificent landscapes. I woke up after a shortish but good night of sleep, and set out to continue the climb along the dirt road that I started yesterday. The ascent is steady and easy, and the sun is not out…

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GR11 Hiking

Day 18: This Is What We Do Now

Kilometres walked: 27km  / Total distance: 350km / Elevation gain:  1400m/ Elevation loss: 1042m / Time walked: 7h2min Another day, another pass, another up, another down. This is what life is, this is what we do now. We walk. Breakfast at the refuge (Pineta), easy forest trail, and suddenly there is cell service. I leave a long voice message for Antonio -to let him know I miss him, and that I’m proud of how I…

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GR11 Hiking

Day 17: Flow

Kilometres walked: 12,5km  / Total distance: 323km/ Elevation gain: 836m/ Elevation loss: 1807m / Time walked: 7h15min 12,5 Kilometer in over seven hours. For a runner like me, where distance and time are the only metrics that matter, this is ridiculous. But it’s a testament to the fact that distance matters very little here, and elevation and terrain are the determining factors in how much you can do and how far you can go. On…

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GR11 Hiking

Day 16: Ordesa

Kilometres walked: 26km  / Total distance: 310km/ Elevation gain: 1277m / Elevation loss: 388m / Time walked: 6h30min I leave the campsite before 07:00. I was awake for about an hour in the middle of the night, trying to download new books to my ereader using the WiFi of the camping. I haven’t read much, and not at all last week hiking with Nicole, but I hope I have the time and energy to read…

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GR11 Hiking

Day 14 & 15: Long Way Down

Kilometres walked: 20km  / Total distance: 284km/ Elevation gain: 342m / Elevation loss: 1423m / Time walked: 6h5min From our campsite at the lake it’s a short scramble to the top of the next col: Brazato, at about 2500m. More rocks! Compared to yesterday it feels like nothing, although it’s sometimes difficult to make out the trail among all the boulders. It takes us three hours to do 6km. Jumping from rock to rock, constantly…

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GR11 Hiking

Day 13: Fear

Kilometres walked: 15km  / Total distance: 264km/ Elevation gain: 1076m / Elevation loss: 875m / Time walked: 6h57min My brain fabricates many stories of disaster that I have learned how to deal with over the years, but now there are very primal signals from my body that are screaming: “You can’t be here! If you move your foot you will fall and die!” I’m on a rocky ledge at 2805m, one hand holding on to…

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GR11 Hiking

Day 11&12: Storm

Kilometres walked: 17km  / Total distance: 249km/ Elevation gain: 995m / Elevation loss: 417m / Time walked: 4h51min (both days combined) First thing I do when I wake up in my hotel bed is checking the weather forecast. It is not looking good. The forecast for today has improved a bit, but tomorrow is looking worse. The Pyrenees are known for having afternoon thunderstorms that are short but intense, but the forecast is now predicting…

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GR11 Hiking

Day 10: Hotel

Kilometres walked: 20km  / Total distance: 232km/ Elevation gain: 940m / Elevation loss: 694m / Time walked: 5h39mim Yesterday, when setting up ‘camp’ in the picnic area, I suddenly really felt like staying in a hotel for a night. A room, a shower, WiFi. I wasn’t in need of a rest day, but for some reason I was really feeling like being indoors for a bit. Fortunately there was cell service at our campsite so…

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GR11 Hiking

Day 9: Fog

Kilometres walked: 19km / Total distance: 212km/ Elevation gain: 872m / Elevation loss: 900m / Time walked: 6h45min Last night was windy, my tent again flapping in the wind. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong when pitching it: all the guylines and corner points are taut but the fly is still billowing. Or maybe I just need to get used to the noise? In any case, earplugs seem to be the remedy. At least…

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