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Pirineu catala rising moon
rising moon on descent
Pirineu catala trunk by the lake
Pirineu catala two domes
Pirineu catala layers of stones and light
Pirineu catala mountain peak by the lake
Pirineu catala perfect mirroring lake
Pirineu catala tree and moon
Pirineu catala trunk and trees
Pirineu catala crick and bokeh
pirineu hike carros de foc

Pirineu Notes

“Would you come and hike with me to celebrate my 50th birthday?” –asked my cousin. Not knowing much about hiking, it was easy to say yes. The prospect of walking though the stunning mountains of the catalan Pyrenees was a welcome challenge. And I wouldn't get disappointed, but next time I would for sure prepare myself better —physically, that is.

pirineu hikers

The Carros de Foc circuit consists of 9 refuges covering a path of about 60 Km in length and a height difference between 1900m and 2700m. We would be doing only three stations in three and a half days, after which I thought of having mastered a mammoth challenge and felt the toll of not being really fit. Well, it's all a matter of relativity. The full circuit is part of a Sky Runner race where the objective is to collect the stamp of all 9 refuges within 24 hours (!). And many people do that, the record being held by Txus Romón who finished it in 9 hours and 27 minutes. Go figure!

I was determined from the beginning to make a black and white series. Of course all landscape photographers have been influenced by monochrome masters such as Ansel Adams —me very much included. And yes, I will gladly admit that I feel unsatisfied about some of these images. The monochrome development creates very crisp views, but precisely that crispness can lead to confusion when having a crowded field. Well, who said it would be easy to reach the heights of a master :-)

pirineu tree reflections on placid lake

Did I mention we had three days of exceptional good weather? The serenity of this landscape combined with the rhythm of methodic climbing of ascends and descends created a magic experience, an almost meditating feeling. Won't forget it for a long time. BTW, should you be looking for a good guide, I definitely recommend Miquel and Guy.

A more comprehensive image compendium of this trip is available as a hardcover photo album here. You may want to also have a look at the other books I have made.

Miguel Albrecht