The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- thursday 22 august 2013 -
Slow walking

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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 12-days trip to the Pyrenees with a lot of targets from the Ariège mountains to the Basque country.

Day 2: second day of a 6-days hike following the Ariège borderridge from bm418 to 425, today covering bm420 and 420bis via Montgarri

Weather: full sunshine, cloudy in the afternoon with thundering in the distance
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:

Start:8.45, break: 12.45-14; , finish: 18.30, net walking time: 8.30h

According to the gps-tripteller:
Distance:  21,9 km
Total ascent: 933m
Maximum height: 2505m

According to visugpx

- distance : 20,0 km
- cum. elevation gain :  947m
- cum. elevation loss :  1247m
- total elevation:  2194m

- altitude maxi :  2511m
- altitude mini :  1649m
- altitude average :  2088m

From my bivouac-place, I pick up the stream again. There are some red/white waymarkings but following the stream will do.

When the stream enters a sort of canyon, you have three choices to reach an old railway-track which leads you to Port d'Orle:

1. turn right, go over the hillridge, a small stream appears and follow that one to the ruins of a mining building. From there the old railway-track takes you with a curve to Port d’Orle
2. keep following the stream, which becomes a cascade: descending there I found too steep for me
3. go left, follow the edge of the rocky and steep hillside and descend when it gets more gentle and grassy to the track.
This is option 2 which I tried first. I keep following the stream.
From here - where the cascade begins - I found it too steep to descend to the railway-track.
So I returned and where the stream enters a sort of canyon, I  went S and crossed a hill-ridge.

This is option 1.
On the other side of the hillridge there's another stream: this one.

Along this stream, I walk E towards the ruines.

Now the ruines come in sight and also Port d'Orle is well visible.
Zoom-in of the previous picture
It takes some descending to  get to the ruines. Some red/white waymarks have appeared.

I have arrived at the ruines and this panorama is taken from them. It shows the two other access routes to the old railway-track. If you have no interest in industrial archeology, I would advise option 3.
Now I'm on the  old  & derelict railway-track
which is well recognizable on this picture.
Port d'Orle is getting closer

and closer. You can already spot a large cairn
on the Port itself.
That cairn is close to
So bm420 can't be missed with so much cairns around it.
Bm420, looking E (towards France)
From Port d’Orle, a red/white trail (though not abundantly waymarked) takes you down the valley and brings me in 2½h to the nice pilgrimage-hamlet of Montgarri.
I arrive at a dirtroad
which brings me nicely to Montgarri with his church.

In Montarri I take a break with a bocadillo de queso and a coffee. And take my chance to make a cellphone-call to my 'copine'.

And finish my break by visiting the church.

Then - it’s still hot - on the GRT-trail (Grande Randonnée Transfrontalière) which is well waymarked in 3½h to bm420bis.

This picture: looking back at Montgarri.

Further on the trail passes a stream and bends back

and climbs into a forest.

Then, the forest is left behind and I see the ascent yet to do before me.

Climbing is still tiring but deliberately slow walking helps.

A bit of nature

NB: at the foot of the final climb, there’s a grassy plain, fit for a bivouac.

There is a tiny stream/cascade at the hillside.

Looking back, enough space for a bivouac.

This picture: approaching the ridge of the bassin of the "Renadge d’en Haut".

This col is called  "Port de la Girette".

When arriving at the edge of the ‘bowl’ of the Renadge d’en Haut, you can see the pass of the Passage de Lègne at the far end. I expected to be able to see the contour of bm420bis but no. By the way: the red/white route through the ‘bowl’ is a bit confusing. At one point, there were two of them.
At the col of Passage de Lègne, you have to climb 50m uphill to the W to reach bm420bis.

When I arrive at bm420bis, I see why I couldn't see its contour from far: it has been broken in two, with brute force.
Bm420bis. You can see that this pillar was made of two pieces, 'glued' together.
This picture: from Passage de Lègne looking NE to Port de Barlonguère.

The red/white waymarks will take me there.
On my way to Port de Barlonguère, looking back to the Passage de Lègne.
And then descending E to Étang Long
I can already see the valley up to Col de la Pale de la Clauère - my  goal for tomorrow morning - partly filled with …. snow.
That could be a problem tomorrow, it worries me.

There’s still a lot of snow left in the Pyrenees due to the enormous snowfall of last winter.

Approaching the lake
where a perfect bivouac-spot waits for me at the edge of it.

Despite the long day, I feel fit in the evening. I’ve recovered from the exhausting day of yesterday,.
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