Our neighbour in Begur told us about the fabulous hiking possibilities in the Natural Park of the Volcanic Zone of the Garrotxa. In between Olot and Santa Pau, some 40 dormant volcanic cones and more than 20 lava flows can be found. The last eruption occured about 11,000 years ago.
Today, the 7th of January, the perfect weather invites us for a long hike; a clear and sunny sky and cooler temperatures. We decide to take the circular route of around 15 km, with a height difference of 240 mt. It will bring us to Volcán de Santa Margarita and Volcán del Croscat.
Just outside Olot, direction Santa Pau, we park the car on a designated parking place. At this time of the year it is free parking. The information board tells us all about the different loops. The Natural Reserve covers a rough 120 km², which means there are many more starting points.
We fully enjoy our hike, as it is very divers! Pretty easy in the beginning, with marvellous views over different volcanoes in the far distance. Later, the wide path becomes smaller and goes steep up towards the extinct Santa Margarida Volcano. Ash layers are still visible in the walls of the cone. Nestled right inside the caldera, lies the Santa Margarida de Sacot Chapel. A very unusual but special place!
Leaving the volcano, the trail gets extremely narrow and brings us all the way down. We appreciate the beauty and stillness of the countryside. A totally different landscape lies in front of us, with here and there a ruin, a farmhouse and a small church.
Suddenly, we arrive in a beech wood forest that stands on the lava flow of the volcano Croscat. Here the sun-rays get plenty of chances to play around….
It is called La Fageda d’En Jordá and it always has been an inspiration for artists, such as Joan Maragall. He immortalized it in a poem, that gave the forest its fame;
The traveller on foot, entering this place
begins to slow his walk, counting his steps, in the great silence
he stops and hears nothing, and feels lost
A sweet oblivion of wordly things comes over him
in the silence of this profound place
and he thinks not of leaving
or he thinks in vain
he is a captive of La Fageda d’En Jordá
a prisoner of the silence and the green
Oh, liberating prison