Geh aber nun und grüße die schöne Garonne (Pyrennees 1996 – I)

My second backpacking vacation in the Pyrenees was better prepared than the first. We had a tent, and we both had a fair amount of experience. The plan was to start start in Luchon, on the french side, and the hike the HRP until Andorra. We only made two mistakes: We started late in the Summer (end of July counts as late), which means hot weather in the valleys accompanied by thunderstorms, and our tour guide was from the previous year, i.e. too old. What saved us was the communication with the locals, who were enormously helpful.


The clouds on the picture above confirm what we had heard in Luchon: Heavy rain would come over night.
Fortunately, a friendly couple invited us to spend the night with them in a little hut they had the key for.


One of the highlights of the second day was to see the Garonne, that originates on the Spanish side, disappear in a sink hole, sneak its way under the mountains to reappear on the French side. The following day we had to cross the Port de la Picarde, which was slightly problematic, because it was still heavily snowed in:


(The other side is much steeper). The landscape changes rapidly between very very rugged to lush.


Similarly, the weather changes rapidly from sunny and hot to foggy and cold.


To be continued.

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