Pyrenees Trip - Day 9

Tuesday 24th July, 2007 We all went down to Gavarnie on tuesday. Gavarnie is a little village close to the Spanish border (but a big mountain range away).

We parked in Gavarnie, and walked south down the valley, before turning east and heading up the slope.

Details of our route can be seen here.

Walking near Gavernie We zigzagged up the slope through some woods. I found it really tough going - we climbed a lot in a very short distance.

Eventually we got above the treeline and stopped for a little lunch. I did some sketching, which was really nice. I sat on a rock and drew one of the peaks which surrounded us.

Walking near GavernieSketch of Mountain peaks above Gavarnie

We had our lunch sitting on a high point, just above the treeline, above us we could see a large refuge, below us was the path which would lead to the Cirque de Gavarnie.

Walking near GavernieWalking near GavernieWalking near Gavernie Climbing higher, we got to the refuge, which is a house several stories high. We sat on a rocky outcrop and admired the view for some time. It was at this point that we seperated. Audrey and Paul continued up to the ridge which would give them views into the next French valley, Greg, Monica and I went down. We arrived back at the point where we took lunch, and a little below there we took the path south to the Cirque de Gavernie.

The path hugs the slope of the mountain, going under rocky outcrops, and over a stream. There are often big drops to the right of the path. A few places could be quite hairy. Indeed, at one point it was slippy, so I fell flat on my arse - fortunately it wasn't an area with a big edge next to the path!

Walking near GavernieApproaching the Cirque de GavernieWalking near Gavernie The views were spectacular, the path was well worth it, it was real mountain goat stuff at times.

The wonderful thing about the path is that we got close to the Cirque de Gavarnie, with hints of it's western side visible, and then we turned a corner to have it's full splendour revealed all at once, up close and personal. The cirque is an natural ampitheatre, with a hotel/bar at the bottom where we took a well earned drink. We sat there, surrounded by walls of rock roughly a kilometre high, with waterfalls cascading down from plateau to plateau - and snow visible on various plateaus. Great stuff.

Paul and Audrey joined us at the bar.

It was then a fairly easy walk back to the cars, along the valley floor (it would have been fairly easy, but I was suffering a little by this stage).

The overall walk may not have been a great distance, but it had an awful lot of 'up' in it!