Cat Vizor, CEO of ESTEEM
Day 5 Thurs 25th June Beautiful day, Gorgeous walk
After yesterday’s cloudy skies the sky this morning was clear blue, with 29 degrees predicted. The guide book said the Auberge food was to be savoured, and it was, with 4 courses, including sheep cheese and cherry chutney. The auberge stands next to a stout 11th century church.
We set off on the walk which promised a climb for 10km up to the highest point so far, at 1760m. Thankfully the first 5km was through woodland, so we wouldn’t be in the sun for the whole time. We crossed the river and then walked steadily upwards through a limestone gorge; dappled light filtered through onto ferns and moss. As we climbed out of the humid, deepening gorge we entered steeply sloping beech forest, the dull clanking of cowbells from unseen cattle echoing around us. A forest track zig-zagged up the hill. We cut across it several times as the GR10 took a more direct route upwards. Our legs ached and it was hard going, but after 4 days we were getting used to this now, and we made good progress. Halfway up we emerged into the bright sunlit slopes of the high pasture. A welcome breeze picked up, and we could see down into the valley, and across to the hills we’d walked through previously.
As we reached the top of our climb the high mountains beyond came into view, still with snow on sheltered slopes. We were now on the Spanish border, and the landscape beyond changed to bare rocks and scattered pine trees. We stopped for a snack of saucisson and hard boiled eggs, which were the tastiest eggs any of us had ever eaten. We had made it to the top and the views were dramatic. In the distance were the rugged Spanish mountains, and behind us to the north beyond the Pyrennes the flat landscape stretched away into the haze. Grey vultures wheeled effortlessly above us and we saw electric blue Gentian flowers beside the track as we started the final descent of our 5 day hike.
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