Crossing the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean – doesn't that sound like a great new adventure? I thought so, and so I planned to take on the 800 kilometres (500 miles) and 40,000 metres (131,500 feet) of altitude difference during the summer of 2020. I expected rugged high mountains, green and blooming meadows, crystal clear mountain lakes, rustic mountain huts, and picturesque little villages. But I also hoped to find seclusion, solitude, and a big portion of adventure.
The Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne is not an officially signposted hiking trail as such, but rather an individualised route over the ridge of the Pyrenees mountains, which run along the French-Spanish border. In contrast to the GR10 on the French side and the GR11 on the Spanish side, it mostly runs over the highest passes and mountain peaks. Countless great views are guaranteed here.
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The start of a new adventure 🏔🥾⛺️.My plan for summer 2020: to cross the Pyrenees from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean 🥾. 800 kilometers and 40,000 meters of hiking fun are waiting for me 😍.When it starts, I'm excited and everything in me tingles. I walk barefoot through the warm, soft sand and dip my feet in the ice-cold water. If all goes well, I will feel the sand under my feet again in a few days. Only then will it hopefully be that of the Mediterranean.In Hendaye, I quickly buy a few little things before heading into the rolling, green hills of the Basque Country. Now it's time for a lot of hiking 😉.
I crawl out of the tent tired 🏕.I still can’t believe that I’m actually here. In the middle of the enchanting Basque Country 🌿. But it is a great feeling and I'm just really happy that it worked out this year 😊👍🏻.For breakfast there are freshly picked blackberries, which can be found everywhere here. Then I'll go hiking again. I roam the fern-lined slopes past dozens of horses. The most diverse shades of green adorn the landscape and create a wonderfully idyllic picture.Only the blazing sun and high humidity make hiking here exhausting. On this stage there is only water in the small village of Arzikun. With a restaurant, a very small shop and a hostel, this is also our goal after a long day of hiking.
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Street here and street there - walking on the street is wonderful? Well, not really, but I'm trying to get into it because we're walking a lot today Straße.But there are also some highlights waiting for us here, such as an old bunker system from the Second World War and a piece of hiking on the Camino. And wow, there's a lot going on here - against the HRP it's a Autobahn 😄. "Buen Camino!"In the evening we walk through steep green meadows to a small stream. Our planned campground turns out to be a flop and so we have to hike another hour. At the pass we then put up our tent, tired and exhausted. But whether that was such a good choice ... 🏕🙈. At least tonight we enjoy a wonderful sunset over a delicious dinner.
Summit happiness 🏔.While the clouds are still mystically covering the mountain slopes, we climb towards the summit early in the morning. Huge birds of prey hover peacefully over us.Nothing stands in the way of our first ascent to the summit on this wonderful morning. On the 2,000 meter high Orhi, the view is really gigantic 😍.
I stand amazed on the long ridge. On one side there is a thick blanket of clouds, while on the other side a fantastic and even typical view of the Basque Country awaits us.But at some point it unfortunately has to go down again - right into the clouds. It is quite foggy and so we decide to descend to a refuge. There is a chimney, enough water from a stream, but unfortunately also a few mice 🐭😅.
❗️Important Info❗️I managed to delete part of my tours yesterday🙈. My plan was actually only to delete my planned tours from the Pyrenees crossing. But I also accidentally deleted some of the tours I had already done and so I upload them all again 😉.If you already know the tours, you can simply enjoy them again or just wait until you continue with the review 😊.Fortunately, no fog awaits us this morning. When I open the zipper of the tent, a blue sky shines instead. Looking forward to this new day of hiking, we pack our backpacks and walk up the gentle meadow slopes.Herds of horses along the way and this beautiful mountain backdrop provide a view like from a picture book. This time the golden-brown horses are actually very trusting, which is actually only because they are after our food 😅🙈.
The marmot greets you every day 😄.A new day of hiking, with the shrill whistling of the marmots through beautiful wildflower meadows. The still cloud-covered mountains invite you to dream and we taste it to the full to be on the road.Around every corner, breathtaking views and crystal clear mountain lakes await us again on this day. I can't stop being amazed and raving about it. I would never have expected that the Pyrenees would surprise and inspire me so much 😮. But they have already made it and I'm looking forward to every other day here 🏔.This day ends in a ski area that looks very bleak in summer. The meadows are brown instead of lush green, there are deserted ski lifts everywhere and the village looks deserted. Only a few hotels and shops are open. Fortunately for us, at least the supermarket 😄😉.
“Goodbye, cozy bed” and “Hello nature” 🏔.Although saying goodbye is a bit difficult for me in the morning, we can get ourselves up after a long hot shower and continue hiking. Quickly into a huge number of day trippers. I am not used to the fact that there is so much going on after the last few days on the HRP.It's almost like when I crossed the Alps on the E5 a hiking highway here. Fortunately for us, it turns into a country road so that we can enjoy nature to ourselves 😊. Exactly how I prefer it.
The land of a thousand lakes 🏔.I bid you a warm welcome to the Lakeland. Every few kilometers there is a bright blue, crystal clear and sometimes emerald green mountain lake. Most of them lie quietly and quietly between large mountains.Because of the sea romance, we find it difficult to hike today. But who wants it and resent it? It's just too beautiful 😉. We also take a break with cocoa and cake at a rustic hut and I almost think this day couldn't be more beautiful.Unfortunately that changes in the afternoon. On the next steep descent over a long scree field, Jana's shoes wear out after just 12 days and 250 kilometers. The sole comes off, which makes the descents a real challenge. We try to fix the shoes with duct tape (that's always wrapped around my hiking sticks for me 😉), but how long this will last is questionable.
Fit and well rested 👍🏻.So I join the crowd of tourists the next morning. In single file it goes up the mountain and constantly I or others have to step aside for myself. But the nice thing is: the higher I get, the fewer day tourists there are.So I grit my teeth again, overcome the last pass and am all alone again. In this ancient and gigantic mountain landscape, I feel very small and empty 😮.After my long ascent, there is of course another descent. From a large reservoir I have to follow a road for a long time to a small village. Over a cold apple spritzer in the bar, I get into conversation with a French woman. We hardly get out of raving about hiking and this wonderful area.This means that I leave late and only set up my tent at dusk. But in a fantastic place in the middle of the mountain panorama.
Experience hiking adventures 🥾🏕.At breakfast I first chat with two boys who camped nearby. When they hear how far I hiked yesterday and where I still want to go, they are initially speechless 😮. We say goodbye with the compliment “You are a tough girl” 😊.I go to the nearby water source. But then I get a lot of stress because she has dried up. The next spring also no longer contains any water. Phew - luckily I still have an emergency liter of water with me. I should probably take it to the next lake 🙈. The feeling is still uncomfortable.But I distract myself with singing and while the sun is climbing up the mountain, I make rapid progress 😄. When the lake finally comes into view, I immediately drink greedily from the cool water. Of course, only after I've filtered it 😉.
New day - new luck 🍀?I sleep in late in the morning and then try to clean up the supplies. Yesterday I was still hungry for shopping and a lot came together 😅. Among other things, 500 grams of yogurt and a large cake. Well, at least there will be cake for breakfast for the next few days 😍😄.When I finally start it is already very hot and unfortunately the first few kilometers are back on the road. While the cars are racing past me, I try to get back to nature as quickly as possible 🏔. To where I feel most comfortable 😊.The landscape is not that spectacular today, so I use the day for music, audio books and thinking. There is really a lot of time for that on such a long hike 😅. When I find a nice campsite right next to a shepherd's hut, it's over for today ...
It's a Monday ... 🙈.A Monday on which I no longer feel the desire to wander for the first time. Not even a tiny bit. Instead, I'm very homesick. I long for family, friends and my home. After a warm bed, a shower and a fridge with lots of delicious things in it 😍.The long and exhausting ascent doesn't exactly improve my mood. Today the motto is: grit your teeth. At noon I reach a campsite and only a little later meet a hiker I already know. “Flowerman” runs the HRP the other way around and we met on the 2017 Pacific Crest Trail.The HRP also makes him pretty bad and together we state: "This is so much harder than the PCT" 😅. The path is not marked, sometimes there is no path at all and I climb up the mountains across fields. That can be very grueling at times ...
Where is my wanderlust?For a few days now it seems to have been blown away and this morning I am dragging myself up the mountain more. The steep ascent is not really fun and I am slowly beginning to question this hike 🙈: "Should I continue hiking?"To be honest, I don't know at first. But then a lake comes into view and instead of sinking into doubts, I decide to go for a swim. And what should I say? That works wonders 😄. I feel so free and weightless and afterwards I'm finally in a really good mood again.To reinforce this, there is something decent and, above all, to eat in the mountain hut. I hope that this mood change continues and that a few better days will follow ... 😊