UNESCO GAVARNIE MONTE PERDIDO

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On the week of the 31 of July to the 05 of August Mountain Sessions guided a group for a french company called Natura. The trip is a full circumnavigation of the UNESCO World Heritage site that is Gavarnie Monte Perdido. Classed for it’s natural wonders as well as for it’s cultural heritage this area is my back yard, and it was my pleasure to guide this group through it. Continue reading UNESCO GAVARNIE MONTE PERDIDO

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GR 10

mountains sessions @mtnsessions pyrenees mountain holidays, climbing, hiking, mountain bike, adventure walking.

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The GR10 is a Grand Randonnee route that traverses the Pyrenees from coast to coast. Generally speaking it takes about 60 days to complete the entire trail. I was fortunate enough to take a small group upon one of the week stages of the trails. We did the week that takes you from Luz to Bagneres de Luchon.

Day 1 Luz – Bareges

Day 2 Bareges – Refuge de l’Oule

Today was really an amazing day. The views, the weather, the rhythm, the stage… Everything came together to make a really wonderful day in the mountains. We left the Gite de l’Oasis in the cool of shade. The sky was blue above our heads as we headed out towards the Pont de la Gaubie. The Ardiden mountain, behind us, was shining brightly in the sun. We enter into the Neouvielle nature reserve after a little snack break and drink of water. Today the route is long and will be hard under the beating sun. The route takes us up into one of the most beautiful areas of the Pyrenees. We head up into one of the most savage valleys of the reserve. Along cool mountain streams, past dried up mountain lakes, through the pine forest, into the high altitude plateau where the little caban d’Aygues Cluses Continue reading GR 10

HRP

mountains sessions @mtnsessions pyrenees mountain holidays, climbing, hiking, mountain bike, adventure walking.

For me, a simple mountain guide, the Haute Route Pyrenees is something special. There are treks in this world, lines drawn out by man over mountain ranges, that bring us as humans to our knees in respect. The Pyrenees high route is one of them. From coast to coast, it takes us by foot from an ocean to a sea. It draws a line between two major European countries and marks the meeting point of two tectonic plates. These are ideas so huge that sometimes it’s hard to comprehend them on our small human scale. It not click and download. It’s weeks of hard trekking in one of Europe’s last surviving wildernesses to bring us back to our natural state. That’s to say our human state.

“Nature can be as spectacular as a right hook delivered by Mike Tyson to the jaw.”

What really strikes me though is not the geographical experience but the human experience. I’ve walked this route many times and know it well. Each time I learn a little more about the intimacy of the route. What I’ve learnt is that nature is awesome. Nature can be as spectacular as a right hook delivered by Mike Tyson to the jaw. Nature is always amazing. What makes the experience of nature human is the people we experience it with. As a guide I have the chance to be able to experience the HRP with all sorts of people. Some people make the trip feel like work. The sort of work work where you look at the clock every five minutes in a desperate hope to make the time move faster and be able to go home. Some people make time stand still however. Many of the people I’ve lead across the mountain range have made me feel like I’m in an alternate reality where all that matters is the mountains and the joy they bring us.

If I was to try and describe the HRP step by step, refuge by refuge, I would need a book, so I’m not going o try. In fact I would need more than a book. A good bottle of whisky and warm fire a long winters night is what I would need. No there’s no discribing treks like the HRP step by step. There are simply too many. Each one adds to the narrative like a painters brush to a canvas. The HRP is my canvas. It’s everyone’s who embarks on its arduous paths.

“Tomorrow will be a big day.”

Generally with my groups they ask what the day ahead will bring. I generally reply as simply and honestly as possible. ” a big up, followed by a big down, followed by a big up then a long down.” Tomorrow will be a big day. I cannot attempt to describe the trek because tomorrow is not here and yesterday is gone. If ever there was a world where you live in the now, it was in this one. In the world of the Pyrenees High Route. In the world of mountain treks. And it’s not a fleeting moment in the now like we get when we are on a snowboard or surfboard. It is a long in the now. Sometimes too long for some. Being with yourself, alone, with only the beauty of nature and your footsteps can be a difficult transition for people. Here we live at a 3kph speed. A human pace. A pace we were designed to be at. Moving, like we were designed to do, forward, one step at a time.

“It’s an experience that makes us human again, if only for a short while. “

It is an experience that is worked towards. One can’t just turn off the computer on a Friday and hope to skip along the HRP the Saturday. One needs to train. One needs to walk. One needs to move. When this is done a door opens to people. A door that leads to humbleness and a peaceful mind. Sure some people resist. Some can’t wait to get back to the smart phones, Internet and tv. But for those who are able, it’s an experience that we never forget. It’s an experience that rejuvenates us. It’s an experience that makes us human again, if only for a short while.

I’m lucky enough to be able to embark upon this voyage every year with new people. Embark on this journey to discover new experiences. Experiences that are as genuine as they get. This fortune is brought to me thanks to my work. Thanks to my credentials. Maybe it could be an experience waiting for you. The mountains are patient. They will outlive us. They will wait. One day we want it and the next on your own mountain adventure.