The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- thursday 10 april 2014 -
Over the Comanegra

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(click to open this trip in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps; click right on this link to download gpx-version)

Summary: part of a 6-days trip to the Eastern Pyrenees, exploring routes between bm521 and bm545. Basecamp: the camping municipal in St-Laurent-de-Cerdans.

Day 2: a roundtrip from Lamanère to re-walk and gps-track the route from bm521 to bm523

Weather: sunny, nice temperature
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds: see the cartography-page

Start:10h, break: 13.45-14.15, finish: 17.30, net walking time: 7h
According to the gps-tripteller:
Distance: 20,1 km
Total ascent: 906m
Total denivellation: 1812m
Maximum height: 1556m
Total time: 7.29h

According to visugpx

- distance : 19.7 km
- cum. elevation gain : 927m
- cum. elevation loss : 927m
- total elevation: 1854m

- altitude maxi : 1538m
- altitude mini : 789m
- altitude average : 1178m

Starting-point: the pretty village of Lamanère.

I walk up the winding road which leaves the village at the S.
The waysigns to Col de Malrems (bm521) are easy to find.
Then it's an easy walk (±1h)  to the Col on a well track.
Col de Malrems already visible
In the beginning I pass some streams, higher up: none or dry.
This could be a bivouac-spot, it's ± 2km (denivellation -250m) from the Col.

Note: at the Col de Malrems there's enough flat space to camp there (Jan-Willem and I did that on 21 april 2007 but there's no water there.

By the way, from this spot you have to descend probably further to find a stream.

Having arrived at Col de Malrems with bm521
Bm521, looking NW
Looking SE from bm521

From Col de Malrems, the trail along the borderridge eastwards starts at the French side, SE from bm521

Soon you'll reach this cairn. In the distance Col de Malrems and bm521 where we came from.
Now and then, the trail is waymarked with red/blue waymarks and
also cairns.

In general, wayfinding is no problem. 
A large part of the trail is underneath the ridge on the French side.

This picture: looking at the Canigou (I think), still snowcapped.
Another grassy passage with cairns to help you.
Then the hilltop of Comanegra comes in sight

as a peak with grassy hillsides at the S and forested at the N-side.

When coming closer to the Comanegra, the waymarked trail however crosses the ridge and enters into Spain.

It seems as if it will traverse underneath the Comanegra. 
In fact it descends to the road down below
with this waterbassin.

Well, don't do this. Keep to the ridge and climb directly along the ridge towards the Comanegra.
New trails will appear and lead you along and underneath the subpeaks of the Comanegra
until the final climb to the real summit of Comanegra.
A green/orange-waymarked trail appears and takes you to the ridge
and brings you further on 
to the real Comanegra with its geodesic pillar.
and this plaque as a proof.
The geodesic pillar
is a nice spot for a break.
At its base
this funny little puppet cabin,
Then continuing on the green/orange trail
which passes underneath
this information post which
tells us that this is the most southern point of France!
I think I remember this spot. On 22 april 2007 Jan-Willem and I didn't keep to the ridge but descended to the road and water-bassin.

But then we had to undertake a very tough & steep climb to get on the ridge back again. At this horizontal tree we recuperated.
Then the trail descends considerably to a lower level of the ridge.

I know that at a certain point on the ridge I have to bend left and decend to the N.

Afterwards, I can establish on these pictures (combining the next pictures and Google Earth) where to descend.

Let's zoom-in to the crucial part:
I'm now at the lower ridge.

While continuing along the ridge, for me it's still the big question: where to bend N and descend in the direction of bm522?
Well, even without the pictures above it's not difficult: suddenly yellow waymarks appear.

That's when a trail coming from the W merges with our green/orange trail
melting together for a while
Then, some 75m further on, cairns direct you to the left side of the ridge

Without these cairns, it would't be obvious where to bend left and descend into the forest.
where the yellow trail descends.

Soon also red/blue waymarks appear and become dominant.

The trail descends NNW along the forested hillside, then descends further in large lacelets,
becoming broader and 
ending at a dirtroad with this caravan.
Go right and after 150m, there's a grassy open space to your right.  You have to enter it (as the yellow and red/blue waymarks do).
Note the yellow waymark on the tree
Then go left on a path through the forest which brings you
in 40m to bm522
Bm522 after some cleaning/cutting up
A bit further, the path arrives at a rectangular open grassy space.

There are some signs at this point (we're looking back in the direction of bm522)
Let's zoom in: the red/blue trail is apparently a trail between Lamanère and Comanegra.
I decide to return to Lamanère.

To continue to bm523 and  then go back to Lamanère will take too long, I think.

But the descent to Lamanère takes me more time (2h) than I expected.

A more direct route seems blocked by private roads and wayfinding is not easy on these winding mountainroads. The gps-maps on my smartphone are again very helpful.

Back in St-Laurent-de-Cerdans, I treat myself with a pizza.

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