Punctually at 10.00h on Sunday May 8th of 2005 we met at the crossing of the C-14 highway with the one that goes to Juncàs. We were 16 people and one very friendly dog named “Rossa”. The members of the expedition came from Organyà, Igualada, Solsona, Andorra and Barcelona.

Once everyone has been introduced, we initiate the journey towards Santpou with three four-wheel-drive cars and arrive at 10.30h. Right away we will ascend towards Espluga de les Vaques, on the top of the Ribalera Gully, along a well marked and clear path. There we commemorate the Mass that saint Josemaria celebrated on November 28th of 1937.

From here we started the approach to the Channel of Jaça. We passed over Picalt Roig, which we left to the left, and began the ascent of the channel. With a continuous and progressive ascent we arrived at the top of the channel where on the left hand side there is a cornice to exit and arrive shortly after at the flat of Aubenç. Here we had lunch while contemplating the magnificent views. One of the members of the expedition, Mr. Francesc Beato, a very old member of the C.E.C. (Hiker Centre of Catalonia), gave us a brilliant exposition of everything that could be seen from the summit. He is a man who knows all the Catalan territory perfectly, because he has actually travelled around it.

A very interesting reflection of Mr. Francesc Beato while speaking of the expedition of saint Josemaria, is that in his opinion, Aubenç sets a change. Indeed, from these heights all the land from where they came from can be seen: Oliana, the forests of Rialb, the mountain of Corb. As of this moment they will no longer see these lands again. That is to say, the members of the expedition of 1937 will forget the past and will go ahead until arriving in Andorra, without possibility of returning. They have surpassed a very difficult barrier and can no longer turn backwards. This coincides with what we know: that as from Ribalera, where they find a new guide, Josep Cirera, and where saint Josemaria celebrates the last Mass of the pass, sets certainly a change of attitude: one no longer thinks about going back. Aubenç sets a definitive change: geographical and of attitude. One can say that the expedition towards Andorra begins with the Mass at Ribalera and with the ascent to Aubenç. Everything before that had been preparations.

After having lunch we continued walking, passing by the fountain of Prat, that was dry; shortly after we left the house of Aubenç to the left and began to descend along a long track that will take us to first, the fountain of Banyader, that had just a little water left, and later on we arrived at the road that goes from Coll de Nargó to Isona (L-511), where we had two cars waiting for us to take us back to Santpou and pick up the three four-wheel-drive cars we had left there.

Commenting on this Long walk we must say that the ascent to the Channel of Jaça will have to be cleaned and marked well and the old and traditional roads that descend from the house of Aubenç to the Valldarques River will have to be found. The tracks that there are at the moment are very long and become tedious. We are reminded in this sense our criteria of following, whenever it is possible, the old and traditional paths that we want to recover and use again, and therefore we have to set side the recent paths, many times travelled by four-wheel-drive cars, that disfigure the real story of the expedition of 1937, that we try to recall and reproduce as faithfully as possible.

It makes us very happy to see that on the stretches that we go on we are accompanied by 10 year old boys, that proves once more that these routes are passable for people of any age that have minimum conditions for the mountain. In the concrete case of the ascent to Channel Jaça, that we can surely say is the hardest part of all the Passage of the Pyrenees, 4 children aged between 10 and 13 years have accompanied us… as well as a little dog! And after a duration of 8 hours excursion they have finished very happy and without showing signs of tiredness.

Summarizing, we will say that, like the previous Long Walks, this one has also been a full success; because of the quality of the members of the expedition, the difficulty of the route, because of the beauty and variety of landscape, etc. Altogether we took about 8 hours. We left Santpou at 10.45h and arrived at the highway at 18.45h. We were walking for about 7 hours and took one to rest. To ascend from Santpou to above the channel of Jaça, we took a little less then three hours and to descend the river of Valldarques we took a little more than 3 hours.