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Published: November 4th 2007
A day in the high Pyrenees with our new Rando de l’Aubo friends near Tarascon. What a pity the day has dawned so misty and grey. Never mind. We arrive at the ALDI car park which is our rendez-vous point, and don’t recognise any of the walkers arriving at the same time, but it’s probably old fogue memory loss, so rush round shaking hands anyway. One of the group says ‘We know you’re walkers, but you’re not from our group. We’re from Toulouse’. Oops.
They depart, and in due course, so does our group, in convoy. We’re last. The car immediately ahead of us loses sight of the ones in front, and soon shows signs of being lost….. Up a side road in Vicdessos, some 15 km out of Tarascon, the passengers spend a long time on mobiles, and then….we all drive back to Tarascon, past the ALDI car park, and out of town in the opposite direction, off to the Col de Port. Oops again.
But the walk! Imagine parts of the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District and the wonderfully bleak bracken and heather covered hills. But beyond them are the high ranges of the Pyrenees, now
covered in snow - in fact we walk through snow, even though it’s hot sunshine, and the sky is that vivid piercing blue you only seem to get in the mountains. Toiling up the 413 metres of the Pic d’Estibat brings its own stunning reward in the views you can see here. And to picnic in such a place, surrounded by patches of delicate Autumn crocuses, encircled by the distant high peaks, warmed by bright November sunlight is - there is no other way to describe it, a true privilege.
Bouncing down the peaty slopes seems so much easier than panting uphill, and soon we’re back on the road. Back in the Pays d’Olmes, it’s been grey and grumpy all day. Haven’t we been lucky?
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