The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- wednesday 9 september 2020 -
Doing 256-269

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Summary: part of a series of 6 daytrips and 1 multiday trip in september 2020 in the Pyrénées Atlantiques. This is trip 5.

Today: the main part of today is a hike along bm260 to 269. I finish by visiting bm256-259 by car.

Basecamp = camping in Arette

Weather: splendid but strong winds on the hills.

track-20200909.kml
(click to open this trip in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps; click right on this link to download gpx-version). The gps-track has not been manually  corrected which explains the inaccuracy and misalignment at some points. For cartographic backgrounds: see the cartography-page

Gps-waypoints of all bordermarkers (most recent version):
kml:  esfr-bordermarkers-all-waypoints.kml
gpx:  esfr-bordermarkers-all-waypoints.gpx (with elevation added by gpsvisualizer.com)
According to Garmin Basecamp (uncorrected track):

Distance: 20,6 km
Max-height: 2161m
Min-height:1572m
Elevation: +963m -1061m
Total elevation: 2024m

Start 8:11  Finish 16:57
Total time: 8:47

Gp-verslag woensdag 9 september
- start 8:15
- begon windstil maar later op de cols en heuvels erg sterke wind maar verder mooie, zonnige dag
- begonnen bij parking La Contienda waar een pad richting Col de la Pescou (?) zou gaan met halverwege een afslag voor een pad dat met een boog naar 272 zou gaan
- het pad was meer een langlaufbaan en de afslag en vervolg (geen pad) was op een geen enkele wijze gemarkeerd, dus dat al snel losgelaten
- door naar Col de Pescou en eerst naar 268 en 269. De klim naar 268 (vanaf het pad naar Pic d'Anie) ging voornamelijk over een rustig stijgende grashelling, overigens eerder ingezet dan ik in mijn grpdesbf laat zien.
- van 268 naar 269 kan niet in 1 rechte lijn hoewel dat wel mijn herinnering is, op pakweg 1/3 is een flinke kloof. Vanaf 269 moet je dat 1e stuk doen over het gras aan de linkerhand waarna je gemakkelijk kunt klimmen naar de de meer rotsachtige heuvel die weer naar 269 leidt
- vanaf 269 probeer ik nog een doorsteek naar het vervolg van de 'main' route, die stond op OSMAND maar de cairns leiden me als ware weer terug. Dus het daar maar bij gelaten en weer terug naar 269 en vandaaruit weer naar 268 en het 'main' pad
- 267 op Pic Murlong (?) is een korte en gemakkelijke klim. De aanlooproute en beklimming op de andere kant (GRPdesBF) is langer en ik kan het beter houden bij de korte beklimming al is dat op en neer.
- pauze tegen een metalen barak,oefenen met selfiestick
- vervolgens 266-265-264
- 263: de gele route vanaf 262 wordt mijn nieuwe route vanaf 262. Bm263 ligt zo'n 110m buiten de route en die variant moet aangepast worden.
- 261: gedaan zoals de grpdesbf voorschrijft, intussen is er wel een paadje dat ernaar toe leidt
- terug naar de auto en daarmee 260-256 gedaan, op mijn gemak. Bijna het hele Baskenland nu opnieuw gedaan, cq voor de 2e keer


Early start at 8:15 at a parking (La Contienda) in Spain.

This seems the best starting point for a reconnaissance of an alternatieve route to bm271.

Why? A few days earlier, Carlos & Conchita Roc and me tried to reach bm271 following the classical trail to Pic d'Anie. But it got too late, the rocky terrain seriously reducing our speed. At 12:15 we decided to return.

Continuing to bm271 would have taken us an extra hour at least.

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Well, back to today.

From the parking of La Contienda I walk E into a maze of cross-countrys skiing-trails (I suppose).

In the background the Pic d'Arlas.


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I arrive at at a large grazing area.

In the background Pic d'Arlas and to the right of it Col de Pescamou with bm265.

From this large field the maps show a route towards bm271.


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This picture: I think it's this direction for that route.

I try it for a while but there's no trail and there are no cairns or other waymarks. I give up soon.



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But afterwards I discovered that I tried in the wrong direction.
This map proves it.

A missed chance because much later I realized that that alternatieve route to bm271 is really worthwhile to try.
Let's look at that alternative route on this map (the OSM-based 4UMaps, great in showing trails)

We see a route going to bm271 but that doesn't mean necessarily that there is a physical track or that the route is waymarked by cairns for example. It says only that at least someone had done this route and taken the effort to add it to Openstreetmaps. 

But we have another source for detecting trails and routes: that is Topopirineos, a map which can only be used in Garmin Basecamp or Qmapshack. Let's give an image of Topopirineos of the same terrain:

We see more trails but we find back in general the same route as on the first map.

If I combine these two routes and finetune them on Google Earth, I get this route (the red one). Also on the map the 'classical route' which Carlos & Conchita and me tried on 5-9-2020.

You can download the kml-track (Google Earth) of the alternative routen with this link. The 'classical route' can be downloaded with this link.

But what is the difference between these two routes (but remember, the alternative route not yet being tested):
- classical route: 6,8km, pos. elevation 707m, neg. elevation 164m
- alternative route: 5,8km, pos. evelevation 673m, neg. elevation 48m

Not much difference in distance and elevation. But the alternatieve route has a large advantage, so it seems. It is almost completely on green (grassy) underground. Whereas the classical route traverses almost half of it rocky and speed-slowing terrain. But the classical route has the advantage of being a waymarked trail and being popular: if you get in trouble, people will be nearby.


Most probably the alternative route is no physical trail and probably not waymarked with cairns.

Still navigation shouldn't be difficult (studying Google Earth) if you navigate from one waypoint to another on a total of 8 waypoints. Those waypoinsts are integrated in this kml-file of the alternative route.

I can't wait to try it.
Anyway, I give up soon and continue in the direction of Col de Pescamou (bm265).


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But I skip bm265 to 267 to do first bm268 and 269.


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From my route I spot


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the HR-route (note the signpost)  towards Col des Anies.


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At one point, you I see uphill to my right


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bm268, it's an easy climb on the grass.


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Bm268


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Bm268


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Bm268


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Bm268, apparently the pillar was placed in 1983.


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Bm268, in the far distance the Pic d'Arlas again, to the left the Pic de Murlong where bm267 can be found.


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From bm268 I proceed directly -  using my gps - to bm269 but my route is blocked by a deep crevass.

I return to bm268 to find another route. And that is this one: along the north-side of the rock-plateau for ± 100m


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and then climbing up the rocky plateau.


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But in 2011 I found another route to bypasse the deep crevass.
Bm269 is then ± 250m further.


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Bm269, in the background the Añelarra-ridge upon which bm271 is located.


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Bm269


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Bm269, in the background the Pic d'Anie.


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Bm269


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Bm269.

This is strange: the middle block shows "267". It suggests that originally there was also a bm267-pillar planned besides the 267-cross.


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Bm269, in the background the Pic d'Arlas.


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Bm269


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Bm269


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Bm269


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Bm269, year of construction apparently 1983.


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On the osm-maps, there is trail which connects bm269 with the trail towards Pic d'Anie.

This picture: Pic d'Anie is the sharp pic in the middle.


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I try to follow that track but get blocked by this deep and broad crevass.


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So I curve back to the hilltop


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where bm269 is placed


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and back to the main trail between Col de la Pierre St-Martin and Pic d'Anie.

This picture: this is where the HRP-trail forks from that main trail and descends in a crevass to continue in 2km to Col des Anies.

In fact that's an alternative approach to Pic d'Anie (and bm271). From Col des Anies you can either descend NE into the valley or continue S to Pic d'Anie. It's a longer route than de main trail to Pic d'Anie but might be faster on a better-to-walk path.

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The next target is bm267, approached from the south.


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Climbing the hill from the S-side is easy, in fact the easiest way to get to bm267.


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Bm267, in the far distance the Añelarra-ridge.


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Bm267


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Bm267 with Pic d'Anie and the Añelarra-ridge at the horizon.


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Bm267


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Descending back to the main trail and heading to bm266.

In between a lunch break against a metal shed.


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Then: bm266. In the background Pic d'Anie.


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Bm266


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Bm266


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Bm266 with Pic d'Anie and to the right the hilltop of Murlong on which bm267 can be found.


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Continuing to bm265.


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Bm265


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Bm265, on the backside also the number 265.


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Bm265, the Pic d'Arlas in the background.


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Then along the SE-side of Pic d'Arlas


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to bm264.

The solitary tree as a landmark from 10 years ago, still exist.


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Bm264


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Bm264, the Pic d'Arlas in the background.


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Bm264


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Bm264


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Bm264

The passing flock of sheep make it


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scenic pictures.


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Back to the trail and further arriving in this 'green valley'.

About 100m to the SW in the valley, I climb (using my gps) to


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bm263.


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Bm263


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Bm263


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Bm263


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From bm263, I descend back to the green valley.

At the bottom you can see a trail climbing which will bring you in 5 minutes at the Col de la Pierre St-Martin.


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At the bottom of the green valley and looking back.


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Having climbed up the trail and again looking back.


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Arriving at Col de la Pierre St-Martin.


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From Col de la Pierre St-Martin, this is the start of the yellow trail that will bring you in 5 minutes in the 'green valley'.


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Signpost: it's 2km to Col de Pescamou (bm265).


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To Pic d'Anie can be done in ± 3 hours. I think that is far too optimistic.


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Bm262


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Bm262


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Bm262

One wonders if this is the original marker from 1868.


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Bm262


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Apparently a geodetic marker.


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Bm262


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Bm262


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Bm262

The text on the other side is in Spanish: one can read 'Piedra'.


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Bm262


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Information panels


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that show information


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and old pictures of bm262.


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This one is about the climb to Pic d'Anie.


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This time they tell us that you can do the roundtrip to Pic d'Anie in 5 hours. Even more optimistic.


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Description of the route to Pic d'Anie in Spanish


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and a map.

I added the extension to bm271.


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Interesting: south of the Añelarra-ridge is the GRT13-trail and this map shows a trail from the GRT13 climbing up the ridge.


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Last picture of bm262.


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Then descending along the borderline steeply to the road.

There 3 unnumbered markers like this one. There is no information about when and why they were placed.


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Almost at the road.


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with a zoom-in to the third marker.


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At the road with the second marker.




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The second and third marker are placed in the direction of bm261 but that is not the course of the real borderline.

That is because bm261 has been engraved for some mysterious reason ± 200m W of the borderline. Later on more about this curiosity.


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The second marker.


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And this is the third marker.

The second and third marker have been - after a reconstruction of the road - rotated a bit.


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Descending along this rockfall would be the direct route to bm261. A bit too slippery, I estimate,


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and I descend from another spot,


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bringing me first to a memorial


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and cave-entrance.


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Looking down the cave-entrance.


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The memorial is about the French speleologist Marcel Loubens who died in the cave in 1952.


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From the cave it it easy to traverse the terrain


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to this rockwall


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with further along the rockwall bm261.


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Bm261


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Bm261


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Bm261, looking back.


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Bm261


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Bm261


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Bm261


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Bm261

As said before, bm261 is not at the border but ± 200m west of it. Read all about this 'misstake' on this page.


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Back to the road


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where I now see an easy climb besides the rockfall (note the third unnumbered marker)


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to the road.

You can spot my walking stick: that is where you can descend


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on grassy underground towards bm261.


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I walk back to my car at the parking of La Contienda.

This is approximately the Col de Léché and the borderline from here is a straight line to Col de la Pierre St-Martin.


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With my car I finish with visiting bm260 to 256.


This picture shows well where bm260 can be found.


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Bm260


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Bm260


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Bm260


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Bm260


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The next stop is at bm259


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Bm259


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Bm259


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Bm259


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Bm259


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Bm259


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The next one is bm258.


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Bm258


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Bm258


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Bm258


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Bm257 is down the road.


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Bm257


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Bm257


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Bm257


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The last one for today is bm256.


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Bm256


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Bm256, a geodetic marker at its foot.

Enough for today, back to the camping in Arette.


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