I wasn’t sure what to expect when heading into the Pyrenees. I feared everything would be expensive so I filled up with diesel and stocked up on food before starting.
The Journey South
I headed South via Lourdes, and my first stop was actually a paid Aire with electricity as I’d been offgrid for several days, my batteries were low and rain was forecast for the next few days.
I was worried about the roads as in my travels in the South of France thus far I have been on some fairly difficult roads – steep inclines, hairpin pins, incredibly narrow village roads etc. However, the D821 was great – wide & flat!
The drive down there was thrilling! The sun came out, the surrounding landscape was filled with lush green fields but in the distance the mountains were approaching and getting bigger and bigger as I drove.
When I got to the Aire, I was wowed by the mountains and at that point, I was only scratching the surface! I had a superb view from my desk and there were no other motorhomes there so I was able to work in peace 🙂
Here’s a video where I cook some grilled cheese (random I know!) and then head down into the Pyrenees and show the place I was parked, describes above.
I spent a few hours working and then early evening the weather was still nice and I was getting stiff from sitting for too long so I decided to take a quick stroll into the nearby village. I grabbed my backpack with a bottle of water just out of habit more than anything else.
An Unpexcted Hike!
I wandered up to a small church and it had a little garden with a bench which offered a nice view of the mountains in the distance. The village was set on a hill and I could see one odd house that seemed to be higher up than everything else and I was intrigued so I went to investigate.
A few minutes later I found the house and it had a track all to itself and I was just turning back when I noticed what looked like some kind of forest path, so again, feeling intrigued, I decided to follow it.
After a while I came across a sign that seemed to be pointing towards something, some ‘pic’ whatever that meant, and some information about the local wildlife so I knew that this must be some kind of marked trail. I kept going.
The track began to get very steep and rocky and I was a little worried as I had only popped out for what I thought was going to be a 10 minute stroll. I was wearing jeans and walking shoes (not boots) which is not the right attire for this kind of terrain! Plus I had very little water, no food and it was nearly dinner time 🙂
However, by this point I had seen a few more signs and I was invested so I decided to just keep going. It was worth it; as the path rose higher and higher, whenever there was a gap in the trees I was rewarded with awesome views of the mountains. It made me even more excited to start exploring further into the Pyrenees!
Eventually I came to another sign for this ‘Pic du Pibeste’ and I had a look on my phone (to my amazement I had 4G in this forest!) so I Googled it. ‘Pic’ must mean ‘peak’, as in mountain peak and it was a further 650m up which was WAY more than my capabilities. So at this point I turned back and went back to the motorhome.
All in all, I had been out over 2 hours and I knew I had gone quite high so I was interested to login to ViewRanger afterwards to see the stats:
Rain, Rain, & More Rain!
The next few days it rained, almost constantly, day and night! I don’t like being stuck in the motorhome for too long so whenever there was a break in the rain I went out for just a little walk around the roads, but avoided forest paths as they were now muddy and treacherous!
However, after about 4 days it started to clear up and so I went on another walk which again ended up being an unexpected hike 🙂 At least this time I was wearing walking trousers & boots!
There was a building that I could see up on a small hill from where I was parked. I assumed (wrongly) that it was a church. When I took a walk around a field I stumbled across the hill and found a path leading up to it.
It turned out to be a part of some old fort. It had steps inside that lead up several flights and at the top there were 360° views which was very nice.
I then saw a different path going down and that lead into another small village and from there I found another forest path. This was starting to be a habit! But this was showing on Google maps and I could see that if I followed it, it would take me out to the other village which I’d ventured into a few days prior.
That afternoon the forecast for the coming days was looking much brighter so I planned to move the following day. It was during this rainy period that I really decided to be more purposeful about my travels so I carefully researched the area and decided that the next stop would be Luz Saint-Saveur from where I should be able to start more adventurous hiking!