The Pyrenean Traverse, Day 4: Short but tough

It is a beautiful morning. We feel delighted as we walk deeper and deeper into the pristine nature of the French Pyrenees. Here and there, the rolling green hills begin to show some sharp rocks. They are the harbinger of the untamed landscape where we will soon be wearing out the soles of our shoes.

What had to be a simple day with only five hiking hours, turns out slightly differently. Walking on unmarked paths throws a spanner in the works. The route description indicates to follow the French-Spanish border over a ridge, along a few poles that are almost straight in line. It’s exactly what we do. But unfortunately we follow the poles more than two kilometers in the opposite direction …

There is no other option than to return to our footsteps and climb all the way back up. With a few shortcuts we try to make up for the lost time. That works out pretty well, but because the terrain is rather rough, we strain our muscles unnecessarily hard because of this off-road journey.

The southern sun fortunately burns away all little aches and pains. She seems to care little about the clouds that are gathering together around some mountaintops in the distance until they have formed a dark gray storm cloud. Apart from some rumbling, fortunately we do not notice much of it.

A few drops of sweat not taken into account, we arrive completely dry in the cozy village of Les Aldudes. We immediately spoil ourselves with a full bag of groceries we need to survive on the next two days. After all, we can only resupply the day after tomorrow.

We then spoil ourselves with a second full bag: 2.8 kg of backpack contents that we are sending back home. The post office is already closed, but the charming lady (with Basque mustache) of the shop says she will handle it. We leave the gear with her, after which she proposes to put up the tent in her garden. Besides her garden, she also offers us her bathroom. We gladly accept, which means that our first shower since our departure is a fact tonight. Freshly washed, we eat canned lentils. Which, together with the Basque beer that we bought in the store, tastes much better than it looks.


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