Section 17b: Cauterets – Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube

Again, hiking in the Pyrenees. The night before I celebrated my last day in Paris and took a night train to Lourdes. Again, I left everything behind and headed towards a new adventure. The second part of the GR10 trail was supposed to be some kind of farewell to France and the last five years of my life that I spent there. Arriving around 6 am at Lourdes, first shock: fresh air and nice people. And mountains, of course. Since I had an hour to my bus, I went to wander a little in the city, as I hadn’t know Lourdes. I took a bus to Cauterets and amazed by the landscapes, I arrived at my departure point. I bought some food and finally, I was ready to go.

The beginning was exciting, I was so glad to hike again. Unlikely most tourists, I hiked till Pont d’Espagne instead of taking a bus and continued to lac de Gaube. Since the weather was not great, there weren’t a lot of people. I walked along the lake and kept going. It was raining a little and I hadn’t seen many hikers in this part. I bumped into a guy and two of his friends. Once he learned where I was heading, he said that it is so far from where we were, and the wind was terrible. I can’t still get his point. In fact, it was not that far, and the wind? Well, there was some, but not that strong.

The way till refuge was amazing. From far I could see the Vignemale getting closer and closer. When I arrived at Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube, it was around 3 pm. I decided to stay there and not go too hard on me the first day. I slept in the refuge instead of camping as there was a storm predicted for that night. The refuge was full and once I left my stuff, I escaped on a hill where there was nobody. Just me and the mountains.

I started to smell bad and it was only the beginning. I was not so sure if I would manage to cross the Pyrenees and get to the sea. Still, my plan was more about walking as much as possible during those coming three weeks, rather than focusing blindly on arriving at Banyuls.

You can set your tent close to the cabane du Pinet, Lac de Gaube, however, you should respect the regulations. I spent that night in the refuge Oulettes de Gaube and the night cost me a little bit more than 20€. The refuge is one hour from Hourquette d’Ossoue. What’s more, you have a very nice view of Vignemale. The refuge sells as well some food. Close to the refuge, there is a nice bivouac spot.

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