Summer is back in the Pyrenes and there isn´t a better way to welcome it than going hiking.
These first weeks of the season we are walking surrounded by white snowed peaks and colorful flowers on green meadows, by semi-frozen lakes and strong flowing streams and waterfalls, and seeing butterflies and lizards that enjoy the heat of the summer sun up in the mountains.
The mountains lways look fantastic at the start of the season, and we’ve great expectations of another great summer season on the Pyrenees.
If you’ve already booked your walking holiday in the Pyrenees you’re in for a treat. If not we’re here hiking all summer – come and join us and discover these stunning mountains!
The highest neolithic cave art in Spain has been found in the the Ordesa National Park. Paintings have been discovered in two caves at 2200 metres altitude, near Regufio Goriz at the base of Monte Perdido. The paintings depict human and four legged animal figures.
A four legged animal on an image enhanced by infrared
At around 7000 years old the paintings were created between 4000 – 5000 BC. Archaeologists think they were probably painted by shepherds who, even that long ago, would take their flocks to the high pastures in summer.
The two caves where the paintings were found
If you’re lucky when hiking in the Pyrenees you’ll see a huge bird flying by overhead with beautiful rusty coloured feathers. If you’re even luckier, you’ll see it carry a large bone high into the sky and drop it to smash it into pieces before landing and swallowing them. What is this bid and why is it eating bones?
Bearded vulture or Lammergeier in the Pyrenees
With a wing span of nearly three metres, the enormous bearded vulture or lammergeier is one of the emblematic species of the Pyrenees. They live in the high mountains of Europe, Asia and Africa but the Pyrenees has the highest concentration in Europe of these magnificent birds.
The bearded vulture is the only bird in the world to live almost entirely on a diet of bones. It makes it’s spanish name of ‘Quebrantahusos’ – the bonebreaker – very appropriate! The vultures swallow bones of up to 20cm. Powerful acids in their stomachs then dissolve the bones and they digest the marrow.
For large bones the bearded vulture circles high in the air above stony sites called ‘rompederos’ – breaking places. They drop the bones breaking them on the stones below and then swallow the broken pieces. There are various feeding sites n the central Pyrenees where the vultures are left bones such as pigs spines by park rangers as part of the conservation program.
Read more about the bearded vulture…
Last week we ran our first snowshoeing holiday and it was a brilliant week with excellent routes, fantastic views and sunshine every day! We did five routes during the week – three in the Valle de Tena, one from Somport and one in the Ordesa Valley.
On the summit of Pico Canal Roya
There were five intrepid guests with varying level of snowshoe experience, but all did brilliantly so we got to do some great days and reached a couple of high summits.
Snowshoeing out from Portalet
The weather couldn’t have been better – clear blue skies all week, not a breath of wind and perfect temperatures. The snow line is quite high this year so all of our routes started from quite high altitude. The Portalet pass on the French/Spanish border in the Valle de Tena is perfect for this as it has an altitude of nearly 1800 metres and always good snow conditions.
The Central Pyrenees is considered to be one of the most stunning parts of the Pyrenees. You’ll find stone villages, flower filled valleys, stunning mountains and many interesting places to discover.
Visit one of the oldest National Parks in Spain
Established in 1918 the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park was Spain’s first protected area and an is undisputed highlight of the Pyrenees. Covering an area of 156 square kilometres the park contains the stunning valleys of Ordesa and Añisclo. In 1997 it was made a world heritage site by UNESCO and it is also part of the Ordesa-Viñamala UNESCO Biosphere reserve.
Ordesa National Park highlights are its four deep canyons carved into the limestone. The Ordesa and Pineta valleys are glacial and the Añisclo valley and Garganta de Escuain were formed by rivers.
The Ordesa Valley is the most famous with cliffs rising over eight hundred metres on each side and Monte Perdido is perched majestically at the end of the valleys.
The Añisclo Canyon is over a kilometre deep and the high cliffs combined with the narrow, winding valley makes for spectacular views. The three peaks of Las Treserols – Monte Perdido, Cilindro and Pico Añisclo are the most recognisable in the park and form an impressive skyline for many walks.