A long but beautiful day. Leave Refugi Juclà behind and descend to the valley floor, a picturesque farming land with a few small meandering rivers. From here, climb to two cols, the last being the Collada dels Meners which is also the entry way to the Sorteny National Park. A lovely descent through colourful meadows brings you to Refugi Sorteny, where you will spend the night.
Although not quite as tiring as yesterday's hike, this is still a significant day in the hills. Start by backtracking the route you took yesterday to the hut, as far as the river crossing. From here you will bear right and start on an undulating path through boulder-strewn fields. Reach the top of the ridge and enjoy views over the Incles valley before starting a descent to the valley floor. You may find sheep grazing on the green grassy slopes here. Cross the Riu de Manego river and start a stiff ascent to the Refugi de Cabana Sorda, an unmanned refugi which finds itself in a magnificent position, in a large flat grassy meadow nestled at the foot of hills, next to the astonishingly clear blue waters of the Estang Sorda. If time allows, why not dip your feet in for a refreshing break.
From here some more steep ascents and descents finally bring you to the Collafa dels Meners mountain pass at 2,719m. The whole area used to be a mine and you will see evidence of this around you in the form of discoloured rocks, miner's huts and hollows in the ground. The view from the pass is one of the most impressive of the whole trail as you look into the nature reserve of the Sorteny valley. Enjoy a break at the top before beginning the reasonable but long descent to Refugi de Sorteny. One of the newly refurbished huts, enjoy the delicious soup and hot showers!
On the approach to the Collada dels Meners, take the alternative route off the official path we suggest in the route notes below. This makes the day much more manageable!
There is a possible escape route should the weather be too bad to continue, or for whatever reason someone in your party cannot complete the trek to the hut. Once you reach the valley floor at the Manego river, there is a footpath that continues down the valley, bringing you to the road at Pont de la Baladosa. From here, continue to walk down the quiet road until you reach the bus stop at Vall d'Incles. From here you can take a bus to Andorra la Vella/Escaldes. It runs every 60 minutes and timetables can be found here: http://visitandorra.com/en/the-country/before-you-arrive/get-around-your-way/public-transport-national-regular-lines/ Check for line L4B Soldeu/Andorra La Vella
Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains - always be prepared and carry appropriate clothing; warm as well as waterproof layers, hat and gloves etc. Please see your information pack for a detailed packing list.
Today you may be walking past a few different areas where cows graze. Although generally very docile and used to walkers, keep your distance and never turn your back on a cow that is behaving strangely or aggresive. Be particularly vigilant around cows with calves.
Good waterproof boots are a must and walking poles are highly recommended, they are helpful not only for managing ascents and descents but also to help with the river crossings. Make sure to bring plenty of water and a snack or packed lunch.
There are no places to stop en route for snacks or drinks so you should bring a packed lunch with you today, order it at the Juclà hut upon arrival (payable locally). Take plenty of water with you, as there are no springs for filling up your bottle today. We recommend 2-3 litres per person.
Points of Interest
Collada del Meners
The Collada del Meners col (2,719m) is also known as the Col de Mina so don't be confused if you see it written in two different ways! The whole area around the col was a mining area up until 1890. There are still some hints of its past visible today; strangely coloured rocks, former miner's huts and depressions in the ground around the path. The Col is also the entry way to the Val Sorteny Nature park, on a clear day the views from the col are stunning.
Sorteny Nature Park
Sorteny nature park is a botanical paradise home to more than 800 species of plants, some unique to the Pyrenees. For more information about the park, check: http://visitandorra.com/en/nature/sorteny-nature-park/
Keep an eye out for the 'Fringed Pink' flower (Dianthus superbus) which is common to high altitudes in Europe and northern Asia (particularly Japan). It is an aesthetically pleasing flower, and is known for its lovely scent.
'Isard' is the local name given to the Pyrenean chamois, a goat antelope that lives in the mountains of Andorra. Wary of humans, you might see them in the distance running over the hills. They are sure-footed and agile, and if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them you might think they are flying! Keen wildlife enthusiasts may wish to take some binoculars. On a hot day, look to patches of snow high up on the montain sides; what may look like rocks strewn over the snow could be, upon closer inspection, a group of isards cooling off.