Los Masos – and back

We've been as close to the peak of Mount Canigou as we could go. Driving south from Marquixanes we encountered extensive cherry plantations where the trees were in full bloom. 

After a looong stretch of narrow and winding road through two valleys we eventually reached Los Masos, that are four houses at the very end of the road, literally. 
From there we hiked a bit farther up in the birch and pine forest along a wild creek. It was very windy with light rain now and then but also blue sky and fast moving clouds of various types and form. 
Unfortunately, the peak was veiled in clouds, but we certainly felt the proximity of the magical mountain, 
– and enjoyed our picnic on the rocks, where a monster was walking around.
There was a giant velvet mite on the loose
During WW2, Los Masos was a hide-away for the marquisards (guerilla fighters) and from here the secret paths lead into the very high Pyrénées and the marquisards guided people across the border to Spain to escape the German forces.
En route to Los Masos, we passed two tiny villages, Vallestávia and Vallmanya, both situated very beautifully in the landscape.
Vallmanya, the smallest of the two, is about 1100 years old as a village. Today is has only 40 inhabitants but it manages to survive, probably due to tourist activities in summer. – A truly amazing little settlement!
Near Vallestávia we saw these two old and abandoned lime kilns
that looked like this from the inside.