Thursday, July 25th Col Bagargiak Ugartzé and Larrau
I regret not having made the effort to find a more even spot, and the sloping hill kept me awake, as well as the bites on my legs from horseflies and all sorts of flying insects. No, I can’t agree to this attack on my body, yet suffer with all the patience that is left in me. I won’t quit until I see the forest of Iraty. And then?
The morning makes me cover a fair distance up to the Chalêts d’Irraty. The path quickly turns into forest (mainly beech) and hampering over the pass ‘Col Bagargiak’ leaving Iratiko to my right; I’ll arrive at the ‘Col d’Héguichouri’ (1319m) and descend towards the ‘Châlets d’Iraty”. It is a real easy hiking to the Bagargiak pass as I stay above 1000 meter all the time; and afterwards I will decide to take the direction of Larrau, where I will be able to buy food. I didn’t have much left for breakfast; the scenery and people I met made up for all the discomfort and I leave thinking nothing better will be ahead. I wasn’t far off, because the friendliness I’ll encounter is unlikely to be equaled again I keep thinking.
There I check out the Tourist Office, but don’t think I’ll find the information I need, having worked at tourist offices in this country, and quickly step out. I meet another hiker who seems more confident than I am in finding the right route, so we march together for a while, until I discover that I have the better intuition for route finding, and decide to leave him at his pace (which he prefers). It is a nice walk bringing me into the forest of Iraty; my overall impression remains poor; our planet suffers from human presence, then again, maybe our presence will alter something? (I will write on this more extensively one day)
I am glad I prefer walking to driving and feel sorry for those with their cars, driving up to get here, and then staying in their same lives. I think I’m more in touch with nature and feel completely transformed by this experience.
As said, I decide to take the variant that will lead me to Larrau, being very tired and in need of food shopping.
Larrau turns out to be an absolutely wonderful hangout; the village is well populated with the large, four star? Hotel at the entrance, serving what looked like a very extensive dinner course, but with the scent of my clothing and the apparel I didn’t yet want to put on, saving it for worse to come, I decided to look a bit further on to find something to eat and a place to sleep. I got a fair reception at the camping site Ixtala ( should mean a little brook someone told me, but also the dawn in the morning), where I decided I’d stay two days to recover and enjoy the scenery, as I would be leaving Basse Navarre for the Pays de Soule, where I’d decide on the rest of the journey.
A visit to the local bakery store, already closed now, but women taking in the evening on the porch told me I could come in the morning (not before 9.00 hrs though!) to have shopping done. I asked no further, not wanting any more than what I had had.