Lakes & Valleys June ’09

Walking under the cliffs of the Sierra de Partacua

Walking under the cliffs of the Sierra de Partacua

Last week Jenny, Donna and Caroline joined us for a Lakes & Valleys guided walking holiday. We had superb weather particularly for the first half of the week and had great mountain views with clear blue skies overhead.

Our first days hike took us to the Ibon de Piedrafita under the cliffs of the Sierra de Partacua. Dozens of orchids and gentians were flowering in the  meadows around the lake.

Waterfalls in Ordesa

Waterfalls in Ordesa

On Tuesday we hiked in the Ordesa Valley and we walked 20km in an impressively quick time. The recent hot weather has caused a lot of snow melt in the higher mountains so the waterfalls were in full flow. Monte Perdido stood in clear blue sky at the end of the valley.

The valley of La Ripera was our destination on Wednesday. This beautiful valley can be reached by walking directly from the hotel door. Jenny ventured in for a swim in the cold mountain stream while Donna and I were only brave enough to soak our feet.

Woodcock orchid - Ophrys scolopax

Woodcock orchid - Ophrys scolopax

The orchids have been very impressive this year in the Pyrenees and we saw an incredible variety during the week. Higher in the valley elder flowered orchids covered the meadows. Also seen were the woodcock orchid, fragrant orchid, black vanilla orchid, pyramidal orchid, sword-leafed orchid, butterfly orchid, western marsh orchid, burnt orchid, ladies orchid, orchis pallens, early purple orchid and one that was new to me that I’ve not yet identified – a pretty impressive count in a week.

 

Thursday saw us take in the two peaks of Punta de la Cochata (1901m) and Punta del Pacino (1965m). Both peaks gave impressive panaromic views of all the peaks in the valley.

Walking into the valley of La Ripera

Walking into the valley of La Ripera

The following day we visited the monastery of San Juan de la Pena for a walk along the cliff tops. The colony of griffon vultures that roost there didn’t disapoint us and we watched for ages as the vultures circled around us. Our final hike was through the medieval villages of the Serrablo before a final evening shopping, eating and drinking in Jaca to round the holiday off.

Hope you all had a great week – thanks for coming – Anna and I would love to see you back in the Pyrenees again.

Scarce Swallowtail Butterfly

Scarce Swallowtail Butterfly

Jenny & Caroline on the summit of Punta del Pacino

Jenny & Caroline on the summit of Punta del Pacino

Trumpet Gentians

Trumpet Gentians

2 thoughts on “Lakes & Valleys June ’09”

  1. Phil, Anna,

    Thanks for a lovely lovely week. I’m now astonishingly well-versed in orchid name and appearance, but the griffin vultures and a few unexpected marmots on the last day were also real highlights. Top marks for versatile programming and for Anna’s packed lunches + much fought over cakes. The guys at the hotel were also lovely. Punta del Pacino has now been renamed Al Pacino Pike, and we look forward to coming back sometime and climbing it again – and doing some higher routes in Ordesa too…

    p.s. I wonder where the river took Donna’s sock to in the end…

  2. Hola! Ta for an inspiring few days – thank you for looking out for me with my below par aceessories and giving me extra chocolate cake and a fab souvenir on my birthday! Will not forget the vultures, marmots, or ‘the hoof’ peak or the one that resembled a dog’s dew claw!! Also, most gorgeous hake meal in Jaca – missing the tapas back in UK! Want to go horse riding next time! C x

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