Sunday, September 4, 2011


After a slow start to the morning, Mark, Paul, and I decided to make a stretch of the legs for a bit this afternoon. The weather had been in and out of clouds all day, so we were hoping to avoid the rain a bit longer and set out.

The hike, called the Belvedere, makes a sloping ascent along the valley wall, then up some switchbacks to top out the ridge that is, literally, outside our front door. It's a pleasant way to gain a vantage a few hundred meters above the village and see the whole Cirque de Lescun.

Here, once again, is the village of Lescun from just a little ways up the trail.

Here and there on the trail we passes brambles that yielded blackberries. It is not obvious from the picture, but my downslope leg is fully extended and standing on soft underbrush. Also what is not obvious is how precarious my position here is: one good leap to the side and it would be a long tumble to the bottom.

In an earlier post I called the slopes improbably steep. It is hard to imagine what is keeping the soil and vegetation from sloughing off down. You could call this the "aaaasssss yyyyyoouuuu wiiiiiiishhh" shot.

The trail heads down the valley and back towards the main road (though a few hundred meters above it). From this vantage, just before it swings back around and up, you can see well to the south, up the road leading to the Spanish border. In the foreground, at the base of the ridge, you can see a small generating station that is fed by pipes that run straight up the ridge, providing a modest flow with about 1000 feet of head. I have seen this in several places around here - microhydro generation.

What a couple of characters! But there are smiles on their faces, too.

The cloud deck descended as we ascended, such that by the time we reached the end of the woods and the top of the ridge, we could see nothing but white about us. It did make for a beautiful finish, however, as it was darker under the trees than it was out in the fog, making it appear that the ridge was backlit and shining down to us.

I would like to say that we had lovely views of the valley from way up high, but alas, no. As I mentioned, the clouds had descended more or less to the level of the village, so we could not see much of anything until we descended back down to some fellow's farm at the edge of town. Even so, we had an enjoyable walk, and look forward to what's next.

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