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2023-04-14
Hiking/Trekking
Spain/Andorra
One of the luxuries of being quasi-retired is the availability of “guilt-free” time. You ask, guilt-free? When working, a near-universal truth is that taking time off often comes with an element of FOMO – keeping up with the office happenings while away – creating an element of guilt. Quasi-retirement means guilt-free time – there is no over-stuffed inbox which requires days to clear, while someone continues to stuff. This Spain/Andorra trip was my first such taste of guilt-free travel and
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Barcelona
As is our custom, our vacations often are a mix of outdoor and physical activity, coupled with a bit of “culture” – exploration of cities or other areas of interest outside of our New England region. This trip was no different, only that we did the cultural part BEFORE the outdoor/hiking activities. Jeanne had registered and spent a week in Begur, Spain in the Costa Brava region of Spain. That seemed like a great opportunity (or excuse?) to visit the
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Andorra – Estany de Juclar
We’d decided on a visit to Andorra partly because of it’s close proximity to Barcelona and Spain’s Costa Brava region and because we’d had a great experience a few years back when we visited the Pyrenees via Pau, France. Unlike many other regions in Europe, we’d heard little of it – not too surprising since it’s the 6th smallest European microstate – so we didn’t have much first-hand knowledge other than the internet, pictures, and maps. Sure, it was mountainous,
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Andorra – Els Pessons
For our 2nd day in Andorra, we chose to start at a nearby ski area – Grau Roig. Not surprisingly, the area was nearly deserted, but for the various workers prepping for the upcoming season, and the few hikers, such as ourselves. From our experiences in New England, it seemed not much different than other ski areas, though nearly everywhere one looked, there were lifts – surrounded by trail opportunities. With the country size being what it is, we were
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Andorra – Pic de Cassamanya
For our third day in Andorra, we chose another nearby hike – one that’s high on some of the top-10 lists – Pic de Cassamanya. Driving to the trailhead, we got our first full taste of mountainside living – switchbacks from Soldeu to Col de Ordino. And similar to Els Pessons the day before, this trailhead was also at about 6,500′ elevation which, combined with the “numbers” about the route, promised to be another significant effort due to the altitude
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Pico and Mendon
Continuing our quest for the New England highest hundred, for our 8th anniversary weekend we decided on a weekend at the Colonial House Inn and two day hikes – Pico Peak and Mendon Peak. Part of our peakbagging escapades, these peaks are numbers 71 and 85, respectively, on the New England highest hundred list. Each were billed as roughly 7-8 miles, though Mendon included some “bushwacking” – always a bit more challenging because of the unknown. As usual, we started
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The Dolomites
Trekking in the Dolomites – the Italian Alps – should be on everyone’s bucket list! It’s just that good. Ok, maybe not everyone’s list, but certainly on every hiker’s bucket list. Arguably, one of the world’s most beautiful and accessible regions for day-hiking and long-distance trekking, the Dolomites are a UNESCO World Heritage Center, offering a series of highly distinctive mountain landscapes that are of exceptional natural beauty. This trek had been in the works for a number of years
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Lago de Braies – Day 1
After a short stay in Venice/Lido, time we always factor in to our trekking adventures to assure our backpacks, arrive successfully, we were ready to begin our long awaited hike on the Alta Via 1. Our “base camp” was a village just south of Cortina, San Vito di Cadore. With a population of around 2000, it had a “chill” vibe and enabled us to have a starting/ending point for our trek – where we could leave some luggage. We stayed
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Pederu to Fanes – Day 2
One of the challenges in planning a multi-day trek is being able to make all of the reservations at each of the overnight stops. We were “mostly” successful on this trip. The first leg from Lago di Braies had been longer than desired (11.2 mi), but that meant our second leg – Pederu to Fanes – was short and sweet (3.9 mi). Accommodations at Rifugio Pederu had been great and, despite weather app’s predictions to the contrary, the morning turned
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Fanes to Lagazuoi – Day 3/4
We knew this was going to be a big day – spoiler alert – it was! But it was also an amazing hike all around – the terrain, the elevation changes (ascent: 4000ft, descent: 1800ft), and the distance – 10.5mi all combined for an epic day. Again, the weather apps were wrong – they’d been predicting 70% chance of rain each day – just wasn’t happening. After yet another amazing breakfast spread – meats, cheeses, yogurt, granola, boiled eggs (the
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