The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- sunday 6 september 2015 -
45 kilometers, finishing in the dark

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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 10-days trip to the Pyrenees, mainly meant as a reconnaissance for the GRPdesBf, starting with a two days roundtrip from Mantet re-doing bm511 to 517.

Today: continuing along the borderridge from bm515 to bm517. Then a long, long way back to Mantet.

Weather: nice, sunny, not too warm
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds: see the cartography-page

The gps-track has not been manually  corrected which explains the inaccuracy and misalignment at some points.

-  km 44,8km (this includes a few stretches of hitchhiking)
- max H = 2252m
- elevation gain: 1416m
- time: 12:03h

Started at 8:45, no break, finish at 20.30 = 12.15h net walking time (including the hitchhiking).
According to Gps-Track-Analyse

- distance : 46,4 km
- cum. elevation gain : 2658m
- cum. elevation loss : 2655m
- total elevation: 5313m

- altitude maxi : 2255m
- altitude mini : 1049m
- altitude average : 1678m

After a bivouac closeby, the morning starts with sun & clear skies.
Bm515 is my starting point for a hence & forth trip to bm517 and back.
First heading E

along a trail
When a reach these ponds (there are two of them), I should have continued straight on the dirtroad (going S) and quitting the yellow/red waymarks until bm516.

The waymarks direct you however to the left (=E) to the left side of the fores-ridge.
Could be a narcistic cow.
In fact I'm making a detour
entering the forest on a muddy forestroad further on
and walk to bm516 which can be seen already on this picture
but better in this zoom-in: bm516
At the entrance  of the meadow, I spot
the yellow-red waymarks again to follow to bm517
But first: bm516
Bm516, looking N with the dirtroad which leads you to the two small ponds and then - turning W - to bm515.
Bm516, now looking S where our trail continues along the fence. As said, at the fence the yellow/red waymarks reappear.
Bm516, with the year of construction (I suppose).
As said, I continue S along the fence, waymarked with yellow-red waymarks
Further on, a bull blocks my progress so
I switch to the other side of the fence
to pass in safety this quiet but unpredictable animal.
Continuing along the fence
and being attentive not to miss bm517 which is about 15m from the fence.

The small ponds further on serve as a reference point.
Bm517, looking back along the fence
I walk about 600m further to better spot where bm518 is.

Navigating is still easy: follow the fence.
Getting a bit closer: the Col d'Ares becomes well visible with its tarmac road leading up to it.
And with this zoom-in and
this further zoom-in, we can even spot the rocks where bm518 is engraved.

The GRPdesBF-trail leaves a little bit further the borderridge to enter the forest on a trail for a shortcut to Col d'Ares
I return to bm515, this is the tiny stream where I had to collect water yesterday.
Back at bm515.

Now I make a misstake: it would have been better to return along the border to Roc Colon (bm512) and then take a trail going N towards Mantet, back to my car.
But instead I decide to descend to La Preste and then climb the winding mountain-roads to the Collade des Rocques Blanches.

Luckily I get some hitchhikes uphill, saving perhaps 5km but it's alltogether much longer than I thought.

This picture: already high in the mountains
and now approaching the Collade
with this peculiar cattle-barrier.
The Collade with a lot of waysigns
This is the direction to go: a very long and winding descent along the hillslopes towards Col de Mantet.
Finally reaching Col de Mantet and then zigzagging downhill to Mantet where I arrive in the dusk. Luckily I can still get a bed and a meal in the Gîte d'Étappe.

The next morning I visit the charming village and church and reorganise my stuff. Then I drive to the trainstation of La-Tour-de-Carol and take the bus to Foix where Charles Darrieu is waiting to lodge me in his very hospitable way in St-Girons.

A day later he will drop me in the mountains above Guzet-Neige for a week-long trekking through Andorra, back to La-Tour-de-Carol.

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