day 42 (the end (of the HRP))

One Comment Written by Tam on 16/08/2009 in HRP.



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We made it down to Banyuls-sur-Mer at about 13:30 today, barely ahead of
the 3 young French kids who’ve been with us for the last 3 days! I have
never seen so many vineyards as on the hills on the way down.

After pizza and celebratory beers we found a hotel, bought beachwear, had
ice cream and were just in time to welcome in the large French group with
their water. It appeared quite a few had turned up to see the end of it’s
journey so it was quite a cool thing to see.

We then promply did the obligatory go swimming in the sea thing, and
eventually pretty much everyone (both groups) joined us! I feel sorry for
those who were trying to quietly sunbathe in the vicinity.

So that’s the Haute Randonnee Pyreneene. It’s a tough one, so unless you
really are hardcarl (sic) you should probably try something shorter, like
2 weeks in the Alps or so. If you fancy attempting to traverse the
Pyrenees in one shot, you’d find the GR10 (French side) or GR11 (Spain)
avoid the technical high points, and the navigational requirements, which
just leaves you a spectacular walking challenge. If you really think you
are up to it all, though, good luck, and I can highly recommend this
route.

If anyone is planning to walk the GR10 or HRP and are passing through
Hendaye, please try to get me a photo of the grafitti on the ramp in the
skate park as you head out: “THEY CARL US HARDCORE”, and let me have it!


day 41.5

No Comments Written by Tam on 15/08/2009 in HRP.



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We’re out wildcamping (with a couple of Pietras) for the last time this
trip having walked a couple of hours on past the gite at Col l’Ouillant to
shorten our 8.5hr last day a bit. We have a great view of the coast here
and are up just over 1000m so it’s a little cooler. Tomorrow we hit
Banyuls!


day 38

No Comments Written by Tam on 13/08/2009 in HRP.



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Wow, it’s hot at 200m above sea level (32degC) and we don’t go above 2000m
again now (until the Alps) :( we are in Amelies sur Bains with 3 days
left! <24 hours of walking left before we can go swimming! Did a crazy 10 hours (of walking) day yesterday, including going over Pic Canigou via the cheminee (natural staircase, aka climb), where we randomly encountered some Scots out on a day walk. We then arrived at the gite in Batiere at 8pm along with the big french group we’ve been seeing every day who’re walking this section (their hiking club as a whole are transporting a bottle of atlantic water to the med between them this summer, each group of them doing one section!) Also met the Jacksons, a British family who have walked the whole of the HRP over the last 5/6 years and are on their final section! We left them yesterday to take the GR10 up to Ref Cortelats then today they will have done a day walk over Canigou – hope you guys enjoyed the climb! Our other new friend worth a quick mention is Pia, a German girl who we met at Refuge d’Ull de Ter. She had walked part of the GR11 and we nearly convinced her to join us – maybe for the next trip? :)

Marky / Roz – hope you are mostly ready for the Alps. Looking forward to
seeing you!


day 36

No Comments Written by Tam on 10/08/2009 in HRP.



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For those confused that i suggested we had 9 days left (5th section), when
my original itinerary said 10, this is because the English guide book
(Cicerone, written by the Dutch guy Ton Joosten) had a mad 3h day followed
by a convoluted 2nd day so we consolidated them into 1 day (more in line
with the French guide book, written by the inventor of the HRP, Georges
Veron). So 3 days later we have just finished “day 36” by Dutch standards.
Either way we have 6 days left!

We have had a couple of bad days of rain and thunderstorms but managed to
keep mostly dry (even with a wildcamp last night) and are now resting up
at refugi d’Ull de Ter (on the GR11 motorway!), drinking beer and awaiting
dinner which includes the sausages we just saw them making! The weather
seems to be improving slightly (hopefully).

Good luck to Maria who we met yesterday walking the GR10 but who couldn’t
come with us cos she had no tent and we needed a couple of wildcamps.
Might see you in Banyuls!


day 32

4 Comments Written by Tam on 06/08/2009 in HRP.



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Greetings from Andorra! This place is just one huge ski resort – so much
for the mountain wilderness! We have finished stage 4 and so only have 9
days left down to the coast :)

The last update should have been “day 28” although we did walk into day 29
that afternoon and finished it by 11 the following morning and so walked
the whole of day 30 (8pm finish :( ) mostly to coincide nights with bars.

We are currently in El Pas de la Casa on wifi since 3G is 7.50gbp/MB
outside the EU and doesn’t seem to exist anywhere round here anyway. This
place is a bit mad and the beer is slightly cheaper than the average
mountain refuge 😉 I can’t work out whether to greet people in French,
Spanish or Catalan, although in this crazy town most of the natives seem
to speak French.

We are assessing options for the next bit of the route since we are
supposed to go over Pic Carlit (2921m), the highest pic in the eastern
Pyrenees, but are advised against it in bad weather, which is looking
likely. We have been out high in a few too many electrical storms already!


day 29

No Comments Written by Tam on 02/08/2009 in HRP.



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Done first 3 days of 4th section and it is indeed a mountain wilderness
with no paths or way markings and a really struggle to navigate through.
It’s also the kind of terrain that mis-navigating becomes a bit of a
problem when you miss the col which is the only way down off a very craggy
ridge! Made it out to Tavascan last night to stock up on treats and have 5
days left of this section to Pas de la Casa (ask Google why we are
choosing to detour via there and spend an extra night in Andorra!)


day 24

One Comment Written by Tam on 27/07/2009 in HRP.



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After 8 days through the Haute (high) Pyrenees (the 3rd of the 5 sections
of the HRP), we have reached Salardu. Ton Joosten’s Cicerone Guide
describes the section as “the hard or the easy way to Salardu”, presumably
referring to the option to walk the middle 3 days on the GR11 to avoid the
high, difficult, boulder-strewn, snow-covered, steep-sided passes. Well,
we did it the hard way, and although non-trivial, requiring pretty much
all the gear we’ve been carrying, being challenged in the middle by
untoward weather, and resulting in another 2 burst drinking pouches
between us, we’ve made it.

We walked most of the stage with a french dude (whose name i never got)
who dropped out temporarily with a hurt ankle a couple of days ago. We
also ran into quite a few interesting people including a pair of very
funny & witty germans who’d just finished 2 weeks of the GR11 (backwards)
and who we stayed up late drinking with at hospital de viela on day 22 to
see them off in style. Adie also picked up a young admirer or 2 😉

For anyone considering walking the pyrenees by such a high route, i’d
strongly recommend you leave this section to mid-august when the snow will
have melted more. Otherwise the large snowfields on either side of the
steep cols, and the small ones scattered across the paths down steep-sided
valleys containing torrents of meltwater make for some additional big
challenges.

Apparently food supplies and navigation are the big issues of the next
stage but adie is confident that it’s “all downhill from here”…


day 21

No Comments Written by Tam on 24/07/2009 in HRP.



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After lots of boulders and several trecherous crossings of the torrential
barranco de remune, we’ve made it down to hospital de benasque and are
just getting refreshments before heading up towards refugi de renclusa.
Incidentally, this is the central point of the HRP so we are half way
through!


day 21 (finally)

No Comments Written by Tam on 23/07/2009 in HRP.



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Been hauled up at refuge portillon for 3.5 days at 2500m due to fierce
winds and an exposed route preventing us from going over col inferior de
literole (highest pass on the whole hrp). However we are free now and
heading down to hospital de benasque (a cabane and bar) for tonight. We
left a lot of people behind still who turned back as it was still bad
first thing but they may catch us up tomorrow. :)


day 18 (of the HRP)

No Comments Written by Tam on 17/07/2009 in HRP.



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After an extra day off in Gavernie after returning from .cz we were all
loaded up with 9 days of supplies and headed out. Had some fairly good
weather and not much snow but the days are pretty long at the mo. Still
managing to find the odd bar or refuge for some nice beers though! This
section is the haute (high) pyrenees so we are expecting a good few
challenges! Will update next time i get connectivity (sorry, Becky!)