Thursday, 11 November 2010

Into the hills

It is only 15 minutes from here to the village of Montsegur from where the GR de Pays du Tour du Massif du Tabe leads you up into the mountains and eventually to the Pic de Saint Barthélemy. Anybody who may have thought we had abandoned the mountains for the flatlands should think again - they have never been so accessible!!! So, with chilly but sunny weather this morning, we set out on an exploratory walk/jog/run to check out the snow level and to test out my legs once again.

The route takes you up through the woods on good tracks and paths before a clearing is reached from where the snowy Pic de Soularac comes into viewThe tracks continued to ascend through the woodland but the going was good and the legs felt strong, thank goodness! We pressed on until the woods gave way to another clearing at 1500m (Jasse de Pratmau) beneath Pic de Soularac where we were greeted by a dusting of snowThe GR led us straight ahead before climbing again, up past the well-equipped cabane (a great spot for an overnight bivvy before a winter assault on Barthelemy), through some more small pine plantations and eventually, after 1hr 40m/5kms/900m+, to a saddle at 1800m from where we had amazing views back down the valley and to Montsegur...
...round to the Pic de la Frau ....... to the Col de la Peyre and high mountains beyond...
... and to the ridgeline that leads to Pic de Saint Barthélemy
The snow was ankle deep and we weren't kitted out for winter conditions so decided to leave further, higher explorations until another day. But with an early 'Alpine' start (sans pooch, naturellement!), Pic de St B is within our reach this winter which is quite an exciting prospect.

We re-traced our steps and were back at the car within 3 hours. My legs were giving me warning signs on the steeper sections of the descent but so far this evening I have no pain, so fingers crossed I will be OK in the morning. If so, things bode well for bigger, longer days out in the mountains this winter. I am also optimistic about getting back into the running again. Entries have just opened for the 2011 Trail des Citadelles at the end of April. Would I be tempting fate by putting in my entry, do you think?!


D'lish said...

Hi Sis,

Glad to see that you are settling into your winter home and your new surroundings- from one beautiful place to another! - hope you are very happy there.
We have snow either side of us at the mo - fells to West and pennines to East - beautiful yesterday in the sunshine but blowing up a hooly today so not fit for anything but cosying up in front of the fire.
Keep up with the running but look after those legs - you will need them for a long time yet!

love Dx

penny said...

Hey sis! Lovely to hear from you :-D Yes, we are certainly able to get more out of every day here and stand a better chance of staying active (and therefore happier!) through the winter. I bet the fells are stunningly beautiful at the moment. Oh, and I owe you an email! Have you got Skype back on your computer? Would be ace to 'chat' if/when you have time to spare!!

gabriele gray said...

I still owe you the map instructions, will do so a little later.
Synchronicity: I read Ariege News online this morning and came across this article which of course made me think of you, only to find this post of yours this afternoon. So perhaps you already know about the overlook...