Today, our guest blogger Carina Evans continues to share her experience of walking Le Chemin de la Liberté. We’ll be sharing part 3 later this week.
We started early, walking uphill southwards towards the Pyrenees, where we passed Paul Barrau’s house and were cheered on by supporters. We all felt a sense of purpose and pride that we were playing a part in keeping alive the memory of those who had attempted the crossing during the war.
The first part of the journey was a steep road climb and by 10am, the temperature had risen, and the heat was intense. Our guides were excellent, setting an agreeable pace and encouraging where necessary.
We made it to one of the highest road points in the Pyrenees, where we met locals who brought us lunch. Due to the intensity of the walk, some people decided to withdraw at this point.
After lunch, we passed through fields of wild raspberry and stunning mountain flowers. We came across a shallow mountain lake and paused for a swim – which my body needed! After 15 minutes in the cold water, I was ache free.
At about 4pm we came to our camp site at La Cabane de Subera. A beautiful green expanse of mountain pasture sheltered on all sides by boulders and rocky crags. We set up tents, gathered firewood and had a really lovely evening singing and eating by an open fire. There were some beautiful French folk songs sung by one of our guides and someone brought out a harmonica.
We had another early start and I had to draw on my reserves as I’d had a bad night’s sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about the children who had made the crossing; the woman with little in the way of sturdy footwear, under intense pressure to keep their family quiet.
It was a beautiful day again, but the going was steep, varied and really quite tough. The morning was spent walking through rugged rocky pasture where sheep and horses grazed.
We were, as the guides had told us we would be, completely on our own. We spotted the stone building that was to be our home place for the night. It looked so near, but it was in fact another hour and a half’s knee-breaking descent through more boulder fields before we reached the comfort of the Cabane de Estagnous.
Find out out about the final day of Carina’s trip later this week.