The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- 14 may 2012 -
Bm408-III and IV unfindable

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(click to open this trip in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps; click right on this link to download gpx-version)

Summary: part of a 6-days trip - accompanied by Jan-Willem Doomen- with daytrip-targets in the Basque country, near Fos and around Puigcerda.

Day 3: from Fos a trip to Cabane to Hérechet and beyond, main target being an new search for bm408-III and 408-IV.

Weather: clear skies, sunny
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
see my cartography page

En route: 8-18 (10h)

According to the gps-tripteller:
Distance: 14,6 km
Cum. elevation gain: 1367m
Total elevation: 2734m
Maximum height: 1677m
Time: 9.38h

According to visugpx

- distance: 11,8 km
- cum. elevation gain: 1345m
- cum. elevation loss: 1339m
- total elevation: 2684m

- altitude maxi: 1678m
- altitude mini: 557m
- altitude average: 1162m
From the electricity-building at the foot of the hills, we climb in 1 ½ h to Cabane de Hérechet along a well path.

In between - looking back - this view of Fos.

The Cabane de Hérechet is well maintained and clean and there's a water-supply.

After a coffee-break, I explore for a while the terrain south of the cabane using my gps with waypoints of my theoretical guesses of bm408-IV and 408-III.

A stream springs in this area but I can't find any bordermarker.
Then we hike up the path which starts behind the cabane. It's now waymarked with cairns (it wasn't in september 2011).

Jan-Willem spots this mysterious sign alongside the trail.
This trail doesn't bend to the cascade with bm400-I and II as I expected it would do.

Actually there's at one point (where two trees have a double red stripes) a branch going left to the cascade. This picture shows that point.

The double stripes puzzle me. I'm used in this region to double red stripes on trees, marking the esfr-borderline in forests. But here we are definitely not on the esfr-border and the double stripes here might only indicate the border between two forestry parcels. 
When we climb further west along the cairned path, we spot more double red stripes.

I wonder if this trail will bring us at the border-ridge but at some point the trail and cairns vanish (or we lost them).
Then we climb directly SW to the borderridge, first through forest and then on the bare mountain-slope with this view in the direction of Melles.


The last part is tough.
Then we descend along the borderridge to bm407.

This picture: a zoom-in to the mountain at the other side of the Garonne. See the last picture of this page for the borderline.
It's a marvellous day with breath-taking vistas

(photo by Jan-Willem)
We approach bm407, visible in the far distance.
Zoom-in of bm407
Bm407, backside with the old bordermarker in front,
with the remains of an arm on its side.
Further on - where the ridge flattens and after the pine trees - , go left (east) and descend into the forest and after ± 125m you will spot bm408.
But Jan-Willem keeps his eye for nature: "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small".

(photo by Jan-Willem)
While I keep focussed on my beloved bordermarkers.

This picture: descending to bm408, I create a cairn to help ... maybe you?
Bm408 visible in te distance.

From bm408 to bm408-I is a difficult search on a steep wooded hillside. The gps is here - in a forest on steep terrain - of limited value. Your ears are as much important in finding the little stream/cascade which springs just underneath bm408-I

From bm408-I, I walk back to bm408 which is again not a straightforward route, neither when returning again to bm408-I. But the best route between those markers gets more clear.

My directions: from bm408 go a bit N (say 20m), there you are able to descend E down the hillside.
Descend considerably (± 70m in altitude) to the E, then go N on approximately the same level for ± 125m until you see bm408-I and/or hear the stream.
From bm408-I along the stream to 408-II and further to the bottom of the cascade is a difficult task, clinging from one tree to another.
Bm408-II, looking to cascade.

At the bottom, the stream disappears in a fern-field, not to re-emerge again along the relatively 'open' strip in the forest descending NEE to where it gets (too) steep.

There's no trace of a bm408-III or IV. They remain a mystery. Have they disappeared or are we looking in the wrong place?

We climb back for a while, then traverse through the forest to the trail from cascade to cabane.

From the cabane this panorama to the SE.

Then back to the car and the camping municipal in Fos. On our way down, I meet a local shepherd or likewise who doesn't know anything of the 408-submarkers.
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