Friday, June 12, 2009

Hiking West

Sorry for the late post, but we thought we should finish it up, as we are actually home...

On May 22nd, we packed our bags and headed off to the Pyrenees with our friend Ben and began our hike to Guethary, a beach town on the Atlantic coast of France where Ben's family has an apartment. Our plan was to find a high mountain town where the snow had mostly melted and to head West from there along the final portion of the GR10, a major French trail that covers the 866 km stretch of Pyrenees from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic coast. The trail is set up to go through towns every 20 km or so, equipped with gites (similar to youth hostels but for all ages) and occasional grocery stores, so we always had the option of sleeping in a town. We brought camping equipment anyway, though, because our bags weren't heavy enough without it.
We started in a mountain town called Etsaut and began the 10 day, 210km trek to the coast. Between the weight on our backs, the storms, and the monotonous grind of endless walking, the hike wasn't easy. But the views, the helpful strangers, and the irreplaceable experience of being out in nature made it completely worth it.

Unfortunately the photos couldn't quite capture the magnitude of the landscape, but here's what we got:

Day 1

Getting to Guethary on June 1st, after 239 hours of walking (we made it in just under 10 days), was a great accomplishment. We spent 9 days surfing, swimming and eating lots of fish at the local restaurants, before heading to N. Ireland and then home.