testing again

The name Los Encantados—the Enchanted Mountains—had often excited our curiosity, and while spending a few days in the Val d’Aran in 1930, two of us decided to have a look at them, though we had only two days in which to do it. We made an early start up the Aiguamoch valley by a well-marked track. According to the map there was a path nearly all the way up the valley, but we soon found that the map was incorrect, as the French maps often are across the Spanish frontier. The path soon faded out, and we made but slow progress. We had planned to take in the Grand Pic de Colomes on our way over, but two o’clock in the afternoon saw us toiling up the last steep snow slopes to a tiny nick in the ridge—the Traouc del Rat, and we had still a long way to go. The valley had been beautiful—we had skirted numerous tarns of all sizes, many of them hidden by surrounding woods and rocks—but it was nothing, compared with the view from the col. We were in the midst of a veritable Lake District. Around us in nearly every direction shapely peaks soared to the sky. To the south-east we got our first glimpse of the Encantados themselves—two giant wedges of black rock, with wisps of cloud about them, against a background of snow peaks. Somewhere below them should be the Estany1 de San Mauricio. At our feet to the south stretched the Pleta de los Gavachos—the Plateau of the Wild Horses. The Catalonians know how to name these places, and it required little imagination to conjure up a vision of fiery untamed steeds charging across the plain below. Choosing the snow wherever possible, we glissaded most of the way down to the Pleta, and then made our way over the Portarron d’Espot. That night we camped above the Lac de San Mauricio. In the clear sunlight of the following morning its setting seemed as beautiful and as wild as anything I had ever seen. Rocky knolls, bright green sward, and a variety of trees clothed its banks, while behind it loomed the Encantados themselves, mirrored in its clear waters. A return visit was there and then decided upon, and we cursed our luck in having to return at once to the Val d’Aran.

Leave a Reply