France 2004


July 2nd, 2004

Friday - Chalet d'Iraty to Logibar

Morning view of the mountains beyond. Heather. Bon admires the wild foxglove. Looking back at the trail. The crags above the town of Larrau. Don looks for some company for the picnic. The gorges as we approach Logibar. Planning the next day at Auberge Logibar.

We started off a little late after a leisurely breakfast at which Bon experimented with making coffee for Alan and company. On a day which was supposed to be all downhill, after walking down a road, we climbed up a steep hill with views back over yesterday’s trail and over the hills beyond. The trail bent to the right along a field where there were many cow paths - we followed the wrong one, but I realized we were off the trail and climbed to a post at the Pic des Escaliers. This was a spectacular view. The trail, punctuated with flowers, snaked along the side of a mountain with views straight down. It wound along the edge of the slope looking to the hills beyond with the sound of cow bells from below. Then it led down over a grassy hill to the road which we followed for a kilometer to the right. As we stopped to peel off a couple of layers, we passed six or eight older people walking up with sticks. The trail followed a ridge with views to the south, but increasing clouds made it a little chilly. We walked through fields and down by cows. Soon it descended steeply but then meandered below the ridge with views to the south. We passed through some beech woods and fields with magenta foxglove and a beautiful blue thistle with a sharp star shape. At one point we had three cows and two heifers in the trail. The heifers were behind and were upset with our arrival – after a little maneuvering they all left the trail and we passed on. Soon we looked down on a small herd of the Pyrénées cows all lying on the top of a hill. The trail descended right through them on down. We passed Tom, Jane and Claire, having lunch about 1:00 p.m. and we picnicked in the sun, sheltered from the wind behind a tree, enjoying the view to the south.

The cheese and saucisson were augmented with butter cookies, an orange, trail mix, raisins and chocolate! We relaxed, airing our socks on ferns and enjoying the sunshine. We were first passed by Tom, Jane and Claire and then by Alan and George.

After lunch the trail led straight up hill very steeply but not far. It bent to the right and then on along the side of the ridge looking down on the town of Larrau. We lost view of the town but then it reappeared with a rocky fern ridge and steep green slopes descending to the town. We walked on dirt along the ridge but lost the trail at a hedge row of beech trees by an old farm. I reconnoitered but could not find the trail though I did find two paths. We found an old trail marker lying on the ground indicating a turn - not much help. We finally located the trail passing a stone barn and then a very boggy spot on the trail where we had to walk on the hill above.

We were now in sight of the gorges and the trail descended steeply for a long, long way through switchbacks and on a lot of gravel. I slipped once as I was tired, bloodying my knee. But the trail continued down, down crossing a road and taking a little path over a stile by a farm.

Finally we hit a small road which led down to the Auberge Logibar where we were given a room at the end of the hall with a sink. After showering and washing clothes, we joined everyone at picnic tables in front of the inn.

We had a nice evening with everyone around the table. The Brits ordered a vegetarian dinner and then discussed demi-pension pricing with Madame. We had heavy duck and lamb chops for dinner with fried potatoes. Bon and I took a stroll down the river and then joined Alan and Josef in locating the start of the trail for the morning. To bed 11:00 p.m.

Copyright 2005 Donald R. Chauncey - All rights reserved