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Description of the itinerary

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Points of Interest
The "Serra de Madres" separates the Capcir from the Conflent, and only the most eastern foothills could be included in the Fenolleda. We have anyhow choosen its highest peak as 'Regional peak' because of its singularity and because it's worth a visit amongst the regional peaks. We have taken this liberty because the Fenolleda, eventhough the "Enciclopèdia Catalana" considers it a Catalan region, was only a short time part of the Catalunya Princedom, since it was transferred to the French King by the Corbeil Treaty (1258). This name often calls our attention. Etimologically comes from "mater", in its sense of water source, as compared to matrix, origin. It's a name found in other places and related with Madrona, like the hill of 'Puig Madrona' that we have close to Sant Cugat.
How to get there
From Barcelona take the road C-16, and Cadi tunnel, till Puigcerdà. We cross the french-spanish border by La Guingueta (Bourg-Madame) and continue on N-116 till the entrance of Mont-Louis. There we take N-118 to Quillan and Formigueres. In this village we take D-4g to Vilanova. Right after crossing the bridge at the entry of this village, we take a left turn towards Real. After 1 km. there is a track at right with a small sign "Coll de Sansa" (french writing for coll de Censà). We follow it some 6 km till the pass, where we find a good plain and an importat trailcrossing. The track is suitable for cars.
Technical data
Time: 5:00 hours.
Slope: 800 meters.
Distance: 17 km.
Difficulty: No special difficulties except a pass at the 'Roc Negre' where some attention is required.
Did not find any drinkable water along the route. A clear day is very convenient not only to enjoy the views, but because the route from the peak of Madres to the peak of La Pelada is difficult to follow if there is no good visibility.
Description of the route
Coll de Censà - serrat de l'Ós (Ours) - coll dels Gavatxos - pic de Madres - Roc Negre - refugi de Noedes - pic de la Pelada - coll de Censà.
Coll de Censà. 0:00 h; 1.775 m. We leave it on a track going North, then turns East and finally NW and NE.Deviation to Serra de l'Ós. 0:17 h; 1.860 m. At a curve in a hollow we leave the track and go up at right (E) on a path without any signal. We go up through the woods till the ridge, just after the 'Puig de l'esquena d'Ase' (16 min, 1995 m). Here we turn left (NNE) on a blurred path, following the mountain edge. In a small plain (2100 m), just under the 'Serrat de l'Ós', we may either follow on the ridge or walk by its left side to smooth somewhat the ascension. Then we have to turn east to take the ridge again. Coll dels Gavatxos. 1:38 h; 2.359 m. It's right over the 'Estany de l'Ós'. From here we just have to follow the mountain edge, practically east, till the peak which we already see in front of us.Pic de Madres. 2:00 h; 2.469 m. There is a small stone shack, useful in bad weather. There is a round view but the most attractive panorama is S and W, where the Pyrennees are seen. Highlits are Canigó, Puigmal, Carlit, Peric, Roc Blanc de Laurentis. If it's one of the few mistfree days, the whole plain of the Rosselló may be contemplated. We continue eastwards, following the edge. In less than 5 min we arrive to a pass in the ridge of the Roc Negre, which is slightly delicate. Soon we are at the peak which is only 10 meters lower than the Madres. To the south , it's significant the peak of La Pelada, where we go. We descend slightly left in order to meet again the path that goes to the shelter of 'Noedes'. A bit farther down at our left we may see the lake of Noedes or 'Gorg Estelat', as well as the small Black Lake. Not long before arriving to the shelter there is the fountain of la Perdiu (Perdrix), but we did not look for it. We have left at our left side a modern shepherd shelter, all white.Refugi de Noedes. 2:45 h; 2.300 m. It's not confortable but might be useful in case of need. It offers a magnificent view of the lake d'Evol. We continue S, always in the mountain edge, without a clear path, through an area with caracteristic vegetation called 'Pla dels Gorgs' may be because is slightly swampy.We go up to a small hill and descend to a pass. Leave another hill at left and arrive to another pass.Coll de Passaduc. 3:20 h; 2.284 m. We see the peak 'La Pelada' in front of us. We might go up going south following the ridge but is easier to follow a small path, SW, and then turn E once you are at the mountain edge.Pic de la Pelada. 3:35 h; 2.370 m. The view towards the Canigó is much better but what is really interesting is to see most of the route we just followed. We go back to the Coll de Passaduc and descend by a hollow at our left (E), grassy and pretty steep. When we arrive to an area with some trees the slope becomes smoother, then we arrive to a plain and finally to a track.Pista. 4:15 h; 1.891 m. We follow it to the right. After a couple bends it crosses the torrent of the 'Coma de Pontells'. At a curve we leave at left the picnic area of 'Estanyols' and pretty soon we are back at our starting point.Coll de Censà. 5:00 h. End of the journey.
Date of the path October 2, 2004. With the CMSC.
Useful maps
Font Romeu. Capcir. IGN. TOP 25, 2249 ET. París, 1997.
Cerdagne-Capcir. Rando editions-IGN. Carte de Randonnées, Pyrénées, n. 8. Tarbes, 1991.
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