The final day of the Cornallacs trail leaves the mountains behind and descends into increasingly urban surroundings. A long but easy-going day compared to the tough ascents of the previous days!
Start with an ascent from the Coma Pedrosa hut - the last significant ascent of the trail! - to the Collada de Sant Fonts. The col is technically in Catalonia, but you won't be in Catalonia for long as you soon walk back into Andorra. The views from the Col are stunning and should be savoured as the last true mountain views of the Coronallacs Trail. Begin a long descent through ski areas (wonderfully quiet and deserted in summer), through shared hiking and mountain biking trails, farm land, and through small hamlets before reaching the hustle and bustle of Sisphony, and then finally Escaldes.
Don't underestimate today! Although it is the final day of walking with negligable ascent, take your time on the descent as some parts are steep. It's also quite a long day.
The majority of today's walking is not particularly exposed. If the weather is too bad to walk to the Collada de Sant Fonts, or you don't want to walk all of today's tail. An option is to descend from the Coma pedrosa hut to Arinsal and take a bus/taxi to Escaldes/ Andorra La Vella. Check here for timetables: http://visitandorra.com/ca/content/download/418517/11930534/file/L5_ENG.pdf
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.
You should bring a packed lunch with you today, order it at the Coma Pedrosa hut upon arrival (payable locally). Take plenty of water with you. We recommend 2-3 litres per person. There is a café/restaurant on the trail today, at 7km which serves skiers in the winter, and mountain bikers/hikers in the summer. It's a nice place to stop for a second breakfast! Serving crossiants and a range of hot drinks.
Points of Interest
Today you will walk through Catalonia for a short while (about ten minutes!). Catalonia is a region of Spain which neighbours Andorra (along with France). Andorra's official language is Catalan and the principality is heavily influenced by Catalan culutre and cuisine, however it still manages to remain uniquely Andorran. The views to Catalonia from the Collada de Sant Fonts are beautiful. In the valley below , just out of site, is the tiny hamlet (approx. population: 25) of 'Tors' which has become infamous in Andorra and Catalonia for being the site of a bitter rivalry between local families over land ownership of a local mountain right next to the Andorran border. The dispute has resulted in the deaths of three people. A book has been written about the events and a TV show is also in the works.
As you walk into Sispony and Escaldes you may notice a number of tobacco farms. The tobacco here is grown mostly for export as there is no longer a cigarette factory in Andorra. Until quite recently, Tobacco was the most important economic activity in Andorra, it is now tourism, but there is still a considerable amount of tobacco farming in Andorra. it currently makes up about 8% of Andorra's farmland. Tobacco was so important in Andorra's economic history there is now a museum in Sant Julia de Loria, dedicated to tobacco's impact on the principality. You will likely see the distinctive long green leaves of the tobacco plants on today' walk, some even grow beautiful pinkish flowers. Depending on the time of the season you may also see it hanging up to air-cure in sheds.