Maryland Outdoor Club
Print-Friendly Version
Add EVENT to my Outlook Calendar
Add REGISTRATION REMINDER to my Outlook Calendar
Bookmark and Share

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page.You will then make your payment for this event at the venue, NOT in advance to the MOC.

You are STRONGLY encouraged to read this page in its entirety before signing up. If you'd like to attend, we ask that you abide by our rules and procedures as a time/cost saving process (with an end result of keeping membership free and lower cost events).

Unbelievable Hiking Experience in Spain

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Espot, Spain
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Jul 20 2013  8:00 pm
Registration Opens: Wed, May 22 2013 8:00 am
Registration Cut Off: Mon, Jul 1 2013 8:00 pm
Event Duration:7 Days 30 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult (Exploratory)
Distance:38 Miles
Event Organizer(s):
Email Event Organizer(s)
You must be logged in to get the Event Organizer contact information.
Member Cost:$525.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:1
Minimum Group Size:1
Number Registered So Far: 1 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

Note: This is an EXPLORATORY trip. This means that there are parts of this trip, or perhaps the whole trip, that is new to your Trip Leader(s). However, they are confident that this will not be an issue.
This note is here so that you can make an informed decision. When a Trip Leader isn't personally familiar with a trip, then there is an increased chance of things not going as planned, and as such, you need to be prepared for such. The Trip Leader may have additional details in the itinerary.


Note 2: We are excited to share this event with our friends from the Maryland Outdoor Club. While the MOC webpage indicates only one registrant, we actually have 16 registrants through the AOC. A small number of those need to be replaced for work reasons. Thus, while we do not have unlimited space, we do have room for several more fun-loving people!

Please join us for an epic adventure in Parque de Aiguestortes i Estany de San Maurici(Twisted Waters and Lake Saint Maurici National Park).  Referred to by many as “the jewel of the Pyrenees,” this national park is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise located in the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain’s Catalan region.  Created by ancient glacial activity, this pristine environment boasts towering, jagged peaks, u-shaped wooded valleys, more than 200 lakes, steep rock cliffs, and uncounted waterfalls and streams.

We will complete the Carros de Foc loop, sometimes called “the crossing.” Spaced throughout the hike are shelters/refuges which provide beds, blankets, a shower, a hot dinner and a hot breakfast.  By hiking from shelter to shelter and enjoying the services they provide, we will not need full backpacking gear (although a good-sized day pack is recommended).  We will hike the loop in five days, covering approximately 38 miles and 14,600 feet in total elevation gain.  The hike’s average elevation is 7900 feet, with a top elevation of approximately 9000 feet. 

Following the Carros de Foc hike we will return to Barcelona.  Boasting a cornucopia of artistic and architectural treasures, this is undeniably an ascendant European city.  Having grown from a Roman town to the second largest city in Spain, Barcelona is now the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea.  Often described as “avant-garde,” it is a city of contrasts, containing beaches, modern buildings, the Sagrada Famila cathedral (Gaudi’s masterpiece), Park Güell and one of Europe’s largest gothic quarters.  It is Dalí’s homeland, and contains his works in world class museums.  Famous for its tapas, Barcelona’s culinary reputation attracts (and the city develops) world class chefs who receive international recognition.

Detailed Itinerary:

Saturday, July 20

Arrive in Barcelona.  Each participant obtains his or her own lodging for one night.

Sunday, July 21

The group travels to Espot, a small town near the national park.  This will be a ride of approximately 170 miles.  We will briefly explore Espot, which dates back to the Middle Ages, and enjoy and authentic Catalan meal in a local restaurant.  We will then take four wheel drive jeeps/taxis to Ernest Mallafreʹ refuge.  After checking in, we will explore the area, have dinner at the refuge and spend our first night.

Monday, July 22

Hike from Ernest Mallafreʹ refuge to Colomers Refuge.  Approximately 8.2 miles and 3,400 feet in elevation gain. 

Tuesday, July 23

Hike from Colomers Refuge to Ventosa i Calvell Refuge.  Approximately 8.7 miles and 3,450 feet in elevation gain.

Wednesday, July 24

Hike from Ventosa i Calvell Refuge to Estany Llong Refuge.  Approximately 6.0 miles and 2,264 feet in elevation gain.

Thursday, July 25

Hike from Estany Llong Refuge to Josep Maria Blanc Refuge.  Approximately 11.2 miles and 3,773 feet in elevation gain.

Friday, July 26

Hike from Josep Maria Blanc Refuge to Ernest Mallafreʹ refuge.  Approximately 4.2 miles and 1,673 feet in elevation gain.  We will then take four wheel drive taxis to Espot, where we will meet our transportation vehicle to return to Barcelona. Once reaching Barcelona, we will find a nice place to eat a wonderful meal and revel in our accomplishment! Each participant will be responsible for having arranged lodging for this night.

Saturday, July 27

We will take a nice walking tour and learn about the history of Barcelona.  The hike will take approximately 2.5 hours and you will be free to spend the remainder of the day however you choose.

Optional Barcelona/Norway Layover (This is not part of the official AOC trip)

Sunday, July 28 through ??

Following our hike in Parque de Aiguestortes i Estany de San Maurici and our urban walk through a portion of Barcelona, your trip leaders intend to remain in Spain several additional days and make every effort to explore all that Barcelona and the surrounding areas have to offer.  Your trip leaders also plan to spend several days in Norway. While this is not part of the AOC event, all participants are invited to do join us in either location. There is no planned daily itinerary, and the idea is that people can spend as little or as much time together as they choose. You can enjoy the beach and worship the Mediterranean, explore museums, consume tapas and vino, or party the night away on the Rambla. We will all be responsible for locating our own lodging and transportation for any extra time spent in Barcelona or Norway.  Your TLs will provide you with their lodging choice once it is determined.

Photo credit: javirunner / / CC BY-SA

Registration Requirements

Given the daily elevation gains achieved during this hike, along with the challenge of multiple back to back hikes, only intermediate and advanced hikers with significant D4 and D5 experience should register.  All registrants shall initially be placed on the wait list so that the TLs can evaluate the registrant’s fitness and experience level. If appropriate, the trip leaders will then move the registrant onto the active roster.  Once placed on the active list, the registrant must pay in full immediately. Failure to pay will result in the registrant being returned to the waiting list. Because this event is being posted after numerous payments have been made to vendors, priority will be given to those able to pay promptly.

Any registrant who does not have a recent resume of D4 and D5 hikes in the AOC likely will not be placed on the event list unless the registrant can demonstrate to the TLs an appropriate fitness and experience level gained outside the Club.  The TLs also reserve the right to consider any registrant’s social history within the AOC and to make the final determination as to whether the registrant is an appropriate candidate for this event.

Required Items to Bring:
  • Hiking boots
  • Water bottle / camel-back
  • Socks (at least 2 pairs)
  • Pants 
  • Underwear (at least 2 pairs)
  • Hat (for sun)
  • Waterproof wind breaker (jacket)
  • Short sleeve t-shirt
  • Sweater or fleece
  • Energy bars
  • Passport
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
  • Shorts
  • Bug spray
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Head lamp
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Hiking poles
  • Long sleeve t-shirt
  • Wool hat
  • Sun screen
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camera
  • Toilet Tissue


Important note on lodging:  Some people enjoy (or tolerate) communal living arrangements, while others find it quite challenging. If you fall into the latter category, this trip may not be ideal for you. The refuges in which we will sleep have large “bunkhouse” type sleeping areas. Thus, we will all be living in close quarters with people we know and people we do not know.  There may be lines to use the showers and bathrooms, depending on the number of people staying in a particular refuge on any given night.  Meals are served to all guests at the same time.  On the other hand, if you are someone who can “roll with the punches” and relish the opportunity to interact with many people from many cultures in a rustic environment, all while surrounded by incredible natural beauty, then you should be well-suited for this activity.

Transportation and meals:  Each person will be responsible for his or her own airfare and all nights lodging and all meals outside the national park.  Similarly, each person must obtain transportation to and from the airport and to the meeting point for our transport to the national park.  As the date for the trip draws closer, your TLs will provide further information on the exact time and meeting point for our transportation to Espot.

Weather: We have intentionally chosen the warmest time of the year for this event. However, even in July and August, there can be wide weather swings. You might prefer shorts and short sleeved shirts during the day and a light jacket, sweater or fleece in the afternoons and evenings.  The weather is usually relatively dry, but rain storms sometimes occur. You are advised to independently review weather reports as the time for departure approaches.

Exploratory nature of events:

Please note that the hike is exploratory in nature - your trip leaders have never performed “the crossing,” or even seen this national park.  However, our friend Oscar, a native Spaniard who joined the AOC while studying at Georgia Tech, has hiked portions of this trail and will accompany the group. We extend our thanks to Oscar, and are lucky to have his assistance!

For your TLs, this event promises to be a glorious week of exploration in an exciting environment we have never visited. However, because we are not familiar with these trails, you should be in sufficient shape to hike additional mileage if we miss a turn or hike the wrong route.  Additionally, the information used for this write-up has been compiled through internet research.  While there seems to be widespread agreement on the approximate total mileage, it is difficult to confirm the exact distance between refuges and the elevation gains during the hike.

Health insurance:  Please check with your health insurance carrier in advance to confirm that your coverage is in effect while traveling abroad.  If you do not have coverage, please consider purchasing travel insurance – it is very inexpensive for such a short period of time.
Price changes:  The price of this event is based upon the currency rate at the time of this write-up.  Further, the price is also based upon a minimum number of participants sharing transportation costs.  We will attempt to lock in costs as quickly as possible.  However, currency fluctuations in the interim, or a smaller group than expected, can both create a slight escalation in price.  Please do not register if you are unable to pay a slight increase, should it become necessary.  Your TLs will make every effort to avoid a price increase, and, if one is necessary, to keep it as small as possible.

- We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines at all times while participating in MOC events.
- Details of this event are subject to undergo a change at any point in time, with or without warning.
- Questions about equipment or rentals? Send them to
- Notice any errors or problems in the information on this page? Please notify our Content Editor(s), Amy Lipsius, at

Member Cost:$525.00/Person
Cost Includes:

Transportation from Barcelona to Espot; four wheel drive taxis from Espot to the national park; five nights lodging in five different refuges; breakfast for five mornings in the national park; a sack lunch for each day in the national park; dinner for five nights in the national park; four wheel drive taxis from the national park to Espot; transportation from Espot back to Barcelona; walking tour in Barcelona.

Cost does not include: Airfare; transportation from airport to your personal lodging or from your personal lodging to the meeting point for group transportation to Espot; meals outside the national park; any activities during optional Barcelona portion of trip.

Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the MOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:
Please review our Cancellation Policy carefully!

Registrants will receive a refund, less a $35.00 administrative fee, only if the registrant is replaced on the roster by another registrant acceptable to the trip leaders.