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GR10 – Etsaut to Refuge D’Ayous
Posted by pdittman on September 28th, 2018 in '18 - Pyrenees-GR10, Hiking/Trekking
GR10 Etsaut
GR10 Etsaut – our way is clear!

Our first real day of section hiking the GR10,  was a fairly big day.  The Cicerone guide we’d been using as the basis for the trip had listed the section as Etsaut to Gabas – a 14-15 mile, 5,000 feet of elevation gain, monster of a hike.  Daunting on any day, more so because we’d be with full packs.

Fortunately, we discovered and were able to secure beds at the Refuge D’Ayous – a mountain hut staffed by (what seemed to be a family).  More on that later.   This GR10 section is also famed for passing through Chemin de la Mature – a trail section carved into the rock, used in the late 1700’s to move tree timbers from the forest to the coast to be used as ship masts.

GR10 Borce to Refuge
GR10 Borce to Refuge

Read more about some of the places of interest along the way today:

Chemin de la Mature
Fort du Portalet
L’Espiatet

It was set to be a big day all around… We were up early and after a relatively quick petit dejeuner said our goodbyes to Celine and L’Espiatet and headed out to retrace our path to Etsaut and the valley floor.

Rather than try to describe the day in words, we’ll just let the pictures do the talking…

GR10 Etsaut to Col D'Ayous
GR10 Etsaut to Col D’Ayous – where we’re headed for the day
View back toward Vallee D'Aspe
Leaving Etsaut, a quick view back toward Vallee D’Aspe – with L’Espiatet a dot on the shoulder emerging in the sunshine
fort du portalet
Fort du Portalet – at the head of the Chemin de la Mature, guarding the way through the Pyrenees into Spain
Chemin de la Mature
Along the Chemin de la Mature – looking back into Vallee D’Aspe
Jeanne on Chemin de la Mature
Up close with Jeanne on Chemin de la Mature
Higher Elevations
Emerging from the Chemin de la Mature – moving into the higher elevations toward Col D’Ayous
Nearing the Col D'Ayous
Nearing the Col D’Ayous – looking back on the pastureland and our trail
Pic du Midi
Our first view of Pic du Midi – from Col D’Ayous
pdm 2
Our attempt at a selfie on Col D’Ayous, at 7000ft elevation. Pic du Midi in the background, looking very volcano like!
pdm 3
Beginning our descent to the Refuge D’Ayous – the refuge in the lower right of the photo
refuge bunks
Bunk room in the Refuge D’Ayous – another 8 spaces on the other side of the room
refuge dinner
Dinner at the Refuge D’Ayous – and hardly any English to be heard
sunset pic du midi
Pic du Midi at sunset – taken from the deck at Refuge D’Ayous

Read more: GR10 Refuge D’Ayous to Gabas

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