We leave the Valley of the River Ter and continue along the Valley of the River Ritort, one of its tributaries. Although this entire section is shared with motor vehicles, and goes along the C-38 road, there is very little traffic and it is one of the quietest sections of the route, enjoying the tranquillity typical of high mountain zones. There is a long, unbroken climb here. However, we can stop at Molló, and maybe another spot, to take photos and rest for a while. But take care not to let your muscles get too cold before starting to climb again.

The Col d’Ares is the highest point along this route. We shall travel along the watershed of the Pyrenees, which, since the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659, has served as the political border between France and Spain. In geographical terms, we will be in the axial Pyrenees, the steepest part being made up of the most ancient materials in the mountain range. Gradually, as we climb up, we will notice that this part of the river no long forms fluvial terraces like the ones in the valley bottom, due to the fact that, at this gradient, the river flows too quickly for it to be able to deposit sediments. The vegetation changes, increasingly giving rise to treeless areas dominated by pastureland. Slowly, we climb up towards the summit. Once there, the remains of the border function become clear with the signs of the “Camí de la Retirada” (The Refugees way); a thematic signposted route that goes to Prats-de-Mollo and which was taken by over 100,000 refugees who fled Franco’s dictatorship in the winter of 1939. 

This is a very compact settlement, already mentioned in 936, the year when the Church of Santa Cecília was consecrated. One traditional activity carried out here is the taking down of mules to Espinavell, a village in the municipal district. On 13 October each year, the livestock breeders gather together the over 300 foals that have been grazing on the Pyrenean pastures and take them down to the village in order to sell them.

Dating back to the 12th century, this church is characterised above all by its thin bell tower with a square base and four floors. As for the church itself, worthy of note are the imposing entrance, located at one side, with ornamental motifs concentrated on eight cantilevers, seven of which represent the deadly sins. 

Next to our route, this park offers visitors a tour that allows them to walk around among the red deer, fallow deer and roe deer, and see how they feed, rest, socialise, play and look after their young.

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