Section 32: Chalet des Cortalets – Batère

So it was my 20th day on the GR10 trail. That morning, as I planned I climbed the Canigou. Another tourist attraction in the region. I was surprised and kind of disappointed by the people. It was after 6 am that I heard somebody screaming not far from my tent “hey, look! Somebody is camping over there”. I wasn’t sleeping but yells in the morning aren’t the most pleasant thing. During the climb, people were walking without paying attention to others, stopping whenever they wanted, in the middle of a path, without bothering to let pass others, throwing trashes on the ground. Once on the top, I could barely pass as they were queuing to take photos, not one but like 50. So I got to the top and return since there was no place to stand for a while. People pushing so they can have the best shot. It was such a shock from what I experienced in Ariège or even in Central Pyrenees.

You can get to Canigou by car. Actually, you could get by car to a parking space, walk for 10 minutes to get to the Chalet, and then 1,5 hour to climb Canigou. Maybe if people had to really climb more than 2000m up, their behavior would change for better. I am kind of against facilitating all those places in mountains. It is a pleasure to walk and cutting it to a minimum, is simply a shame.

After Canigou, I had some sandwich and a beer. It was 10:30 am so people were kind of surprised. I was tired that day, I kept slipping. And I already had a big bruise on my left knee, I was on a right track to get some more bruises. That day, it was the last time, I was at 2000m altitude. From then on, it would get lower and lower. I was missing my bed, clean clothes, and morning coffee!
In the afternoon, I stopped by a shepherd’s house to take some water and have a snack. The shepherd turned out to be very chatty! Instead of a 15min break, I stayed there for more than an hour. He told me, the following year he would retire, buy a truck and visit the whole Europe with his dog (Citron). I have no idea how he would manage it since his dog didn’t listen to him at all. This part of Pyrenees wasn’t my favorite one, however, the sensation of melancholy was accompanying me all the time. It was supposed to be over in few days. Still, I couldn’t believe I hold for so many days. I recalled myself, the very beginning how I was complaining all the time, those multiple times I wanted to quit so badly. I guess, we are stronger than we think and we can do things, that at the beginning might frighten us. I know one thing for sure, even if this adventure was going to end, it was already an amazing experience!

That night, I finally slept in a bed! I decided to sleep in a gite in Batère. I met a Finish doctor who was walking mountains for 10 years. She would go hiking alone during summer just to clear up her mind. We talked a lot. I listened carefully to her stories, she had done so many things. We shared a room with some Belgian teenagers who came to the Pyrenees for one week to do tour de Canigou. So brave to organize everything by themselves and come and hike it!


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