1. – With a one hour delay because of traffic problems, we initiated the ascent to the town of Ares. At 11 o’clock in the morning we began to walk from the road of Cabó, just a little before arriving at the house of Oliva.

2. – We started the Long walk entering the forest of Oliva that was covered with snow. After 15 minutes we arrived at the river of Cabó, which we crossed and from this point until the town of Ares we had to surpass about 900 meters of constant uphill.

3. – We rested for about 30 minutes halfway up the ascent with splendid views, specially of the valley of Cabó and the town of Organyà, and the mountains of Santa Fe and Boumort.

4. – We arrived at Ares at two o’clock in the afternoon, where we had lunch while we contemplated again the magnificent panorama that we had opposite us. We visited the fountain and a few houses of the abandoned village, and descended again taking the same route, since we considered that it was a little late, arriving again at the car at 17.20 in the afternoon.

5. – Altogether we took three hours to ascend to Ares, and more than two hours to descend. It was a somewhat cold day, with snow at some stages, but splendid.

6. – We reproduce some notes of the diary of the expedition of November 1937.


“After leaving the road, we went along paths that, passing a few country houses, lead to the river. This has also been a little dangerous, as the dogs of those houses “greeted” us when passing close by.

We arrive at the river: we drink, and we cross to the other side of the river barefoot and with water half way up the leg (…)

We started the ascent to the Ares mountain at quarter to twelve (at night) and began to go up the slope without path, that one has to go up crawling. But after twenty minutes we arrived at a path, which will take to us to the top. The laborious ascent takes three hours long. We rest several times and the small wineskin goes from hand to hand, as the alcohol stimulates us and makes us forget our fatigue.

(.. .)

For an interval of three hours, many times it seems to us as if the top of the mountain is very close, but we are disappointed when, reaching the theoretical top of the mountain , another hill and another top can be discerned. Patience, and let’s continue. Downwards the town of Figols can be seen, and we see when we descend the mountain Cabó, and we can already see that mountain under us. Very soon we will not see anything, because a fog separates us from the valley.

At last, we see a country house. The guide tells us to wait while he goes and looks for another man who will come with us. We sit down and roll on the blankets. The cold is very intense. After 20 minutes, the guide comes and they invite us inside the stable of the house, where we are for one and a half hours and we fall asleep. If we wouldn’t have to know we would have to continue later on! How pleasant the “softness” of the straw feels, and how comforting the heat that the animals that are in the stable offer is.

When they come to announce the continuation of the journey, we wake up numb and with difficulty manage to get up and go outside, where the cold we feel is very intense. But the exercise that we do when continuing the ascent alleviates us, and, during these moments, the idea of us going to work in propitious area encourages us.”

Another member of the expedition, Paco Botella, explains this ascent to Ares

“Antonio was going deeper between the weeds, and the up to now level land, was turning more uneven and with more and more slope. The time came for the ascent; it was three hours of effort, always uphill. These hours left marks in our memory. Several times Father talked about it in later years and in the tone of his voice and in his countenance the physical suffering that he had gone through was reflected.

“These children of mine shoved me up, dragging me, between their arms, practically from the ground”. It is the expressive summary of what happened. It was hard for everyone. You could also notice that Antonio was very tired and I think his effort caused him to a have a digestive disorder.

The mountain was high, the highest of our long walk. It was close to Figols, according to what Jose Maria told me. We hadn’t been warned before and perhaps it was better that way. Father seemed exhausted as you could notice through his breathing. He later stopped for a few seconds and the guide, with his steel muscles, did not offer a change of speed in his pace: Father was then a little behind of Antonio. This was not at all convenient. Juan, who did not stop studying Father’s resistance, saw that he began to flag. The breathing was louder and sounded more difficult. In spite of this he did not speak nor complained, but his walk was not stable, his legs did indecisive movements. We had a bad time, this time he did not manage to pray anything consecutively.

Juan gave Miguel some sugar lumps and the small wineskin so that he made Father take it. He had anticipated this situation before leaving Barcelona. I say made, because Father did not want to take it, thinking that maybe we would need it. At last, as he felt weak and it became evident that we weren’t going to take it, he finally gave in. But the relief didn’t last long. This stimulus could not dominate his fatigue nor give consistency to his muscles.

We did not know what to do and it was necessary to do something. Without thinking it over any more, Miguel passed in front of Father and took his hand and continued ascending pulling of Father. I was behind Father and continued the ascent pushing him with my hands put on his back from behind. Father let himself be taken, without putting any aim from his side. Juan, when seeing him, nodded: this is what proceeded. Father fell over one time and another; we helped him to get up always as surreptitiously as possible, so that Antonio wouldn’t notice the state of Father: he could put us in a very awkward predicament if he decided here, on this hill, to leave behind those who could not follow the pace.

What a time we spent on the ascent of this hill! I remember it was three hours of hard ascent, as I am saying. I felt desires of crying of pain when seeing how Father walked, as a sack, practically carried in ours arms.

“My children lifted me in their arms, I couldn’t have”, said Father years later and many times, when referring to these hours of pain and effort.

“Since that ascent, Paco, the desires of walking around the mountains have vanished”, he said again, in La Pililla, looking over the hill where the house was.

(.. . )

In spite of everything, when we reached the top and stopped, the breathing of Father was worrying. But the presence of Juan, tranquil and without being perturbed, calmed us down. Father took more sugar; he did not speak. The guide commanded “to break ranks”, so to say, and told us to rest for a while. One could notice that this guide, this big and strong Antonio, also showed signs of tiredness. He was very nice to Father and one could see him observing, surreptitiously, how he was. It was obvious that he had noticed everything, but didn’t make any kind of reference about it: Father deserved it, it was obvious. When we noticed, Antonio had suddenly disappeared: we had already got used to it.

(.. .)

The bad thing of this Antonio is that he never gives explanations, he seems like a general in command. Only the confidence in that he was very responsible taking his decisions calmed us down. But, to wait without knowing anything, just like that!… Father was getting back in the party mood, he went back to his active attitude, he joined our conversation that was a little incoherent and immediately took the lead, so that soon it turned into a social gathering. And then, once more, Antonio had returned.

They led us to a low construction, a small one; inside there were remains of straw and of feed. It was a food deposit for the cattle. Antonio had gone to see if we could occupy it, when he left without giving any kind of explanation and, like always, approved it so that we could follow his plans: now what was to be done was to rest for a while. I believe it was around one hour relief we could enjoy, lie down and with a good temperature. Then go on.”