Pyrenees

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This weekend I decided to be adventurous and sign up for a hike with the University Mountain Club.  I had my reservations about whether or not to sign up for it as, let’s be honest, I’m not in the best shape right now and it was listed as medium-high difficulty.  However, throwing caution to the wind, I decided to do just do it as how could I turn down a chance to see the Pyrenees (that and I planned on my stubbornness getting me to the top!).  We started near the border with France and climbed to Pic d’Anie which as you can probably guess from the name is actually in France.  The peak is just over 2500 m high and we walked 26 km over the course of 7 hours.  Needless to say I am hurting quite a lot at the moment!  Without a doubt I can say that was the most challenging hike I’ve ever done.  The landscape was unlike anything I would have expected.  It’s called Karst topography and its just rocks – uneven, jetting, and definitely challenging to climb over.

The lead up to the final climb of the peak involved a lot of transversing over the rocky landscape!
The lead up to the final climb of the peak involved a lot of traversing over the rocky landscape!

No surprise during the final ascent I thought I was going to die.  It took us around an hour and involved scaling up the side of the peak on partially loose rocks (which was definitely more terrifying on the way down).  I definitely see why they required hiking boots.  The view from the top was worth the horror of the height and the heart attack I felt like I was having though.  On one side you had the Karst landscape and to the other was green mountainside.  We had our lunch up there as eagles flew overhead.  It was definitely quite the experience!

So behind us (that's Josh, he's from Seattle and was the only other person who could not speak Spanish on the trip) are the Spanish Pyrnees
So behind us (that’s John, he’s from Seattle and was the only other person who could not speak Spanish on the trip) are the Spanish Pyrenees.
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And this is the view from the other side of the French Pyrenees!

On the bus ride, we passed through picturesque little towns with old brick buildings and quaint gardens.  The mountainside was dotted with farms and the animals (cows, donkeys, horses, and sheep) roamed freely, their bells around their necks ringing.  I don’t quite understand how they keep track of their animals since there’s no fences but it must work.  It was a stunning drive and an amazing hike.  Definitely a great decision to go and I can’t wait to do a few other hikes over the next few months!

 

 

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