Day two of our hike along the Cami dels Bons Homes started in Bellver de Cerdanya, led us through the Parc Natural Cadí-Moixeró, and ended in the Medieval town of Baga.
- Starting Point: Bellver de Cerdanya and Parc Natural Cadí-Moixeró (If you stay in Prullans ask your hotel to arrange transportation for you to the starting point of the trail which is 5 km from town)
- Ending Point: Baga
- Distance: 27 kilometers/ 16.5 miles
- Altitude Gain/Loss (in meters): 1,450 ascent, 1,700 descent
- Est. Time on Trail: 7 – 9 hours
We were told that day’s hike from Bellver de Cerdanya to Baga would be challenging, possibly more so than any other section of the trail because of the altitude gain and loss, and the distance. The beginning of the trail, with its pleasant little meadow perched atop a gentle hill covered in wild flowers, gave no hint of how difficult or exciting that day’s hike would be.
Leaving Bellver we entered the Parc Natural Cadi-Moixero. The next several hours included relatively steep ascents and descents as we crossed two mountain passes. The trail snaked up, in and out of forest and wood, and we frequently encountered wide open views of hills and valleys carpeted with a variety of brush, trees, bushes, and grass. Shades of green and brown coated nearly everything and randomly scattered bursts of bright yellow and white from the wildflowers that dotted the trail appeared frequently. Puffy white clouds suspended in the bright blue sky above us and intense sun rays pressed down on the exposed sections of the trail. From the first “refugi” or shelter we encountered, Refugi dels Cortals d’Ingla, we were gifted impressive views of snow capped mountains to the north, back in the direction of Prullans.
[Note – After you pass the first shelter take care to look out for the familiar GR 107 white and red trail markings, as they can be a little hard to find.]
We once again gained altitude until we emerged into a open meadow at the first mountain pass of the day. From there it was a downhill hike for a few kilometers through a darkened forest before starting another gradual ascent. We were once again rewarded with majestic mountains appearing to our left, so close we could almost touch them.
The trail runs right into the small town of Baga, where we had a gloriously cold beer and wiped the sweat from our brow. Don’t worry, “tomorrow will be easier” we said, clinking beer mugs together.
La fageda d’Escriu
This section of the trail includes a beautiful beech forest. Our first glimpse of the La fageda d’Escriu (which means Escriu Beech Forest in Catalan) stopped us in our tracks. A wall of pale, smooth trunks topped with light green foliage stood tall and straight like silent soldiers. The air was cool and moist, light from the sun peered through radiantly. The atmosphere was magical and dense, the setting for a fantasy novel filled with elves and fairies. We admired the surroundings for several minutes before we could bear to move on.
In addition to the myriad of birds and butterflies we saw nearly every day we hiked the Cami dels Bons Homes, we also encountered a wild boar on this day. It was a thrilling, intense, and somewhat frightening experience! Our encounter is not typical, as boars tend to avoid the path, and human contact in general. We have never run away (or tactically retreated, as Michael would prefer to view our actions) from a pig until today. But this is a story for another article.
There are two refuges, Refugi Cortals de I’lngla and Refugi de Sant Jordi, on this portion of the trail. Each offers overnight accommodations, a place to stop and rest, have a picnic, or buy prepared food and drink. However they are only open during high season.
Accommodation Option Near Baga, Spain
This portion of the trail ends in Baga, a medieval village with a lovely town square. Molí del Casó is a beautiful restored mill a few kilometers from Baga. It uses solar energy, has organic gardens with herbs and produce, and offers a peaceful and relaxing setting to rest in. Owner and Chef, Conchita, prepares cuisine made with seasonal products from their organic garden and she can accommodate special menus for vegans, vegetarians, people with celiac disease, or other dietary requirements.
That night we dined on an incredible five course vegan feast prepared by Conchita that included a fresh organic salad, Tofu Towers with Soy Sauce and chives, Couscous with vegetables and lentils, a vegetable fritter with spring onions, and ripe and juicy wild berries for dessert. Though the setting was casual and relaxed, the meal could have been prepared at a five star restaurant. We enjoyed our meal over discussion about the history and beliefs of the Cathars and the trail they took to escape persecution that we would continue to follow the next day.
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