Le Lac Espingo

We were lucky to meet many like-minded families on our bike trip. The five Morissonneau, who we leap-frogged at campsites across Austria and Hungary, shared a love of the outdoors and family travel. We also discovered a shared love of mountains and hiking. On our last days in Budapest, they invited us to come and visit them in the Pyrenees and proposed an overnight hike up to a mountain hut. We jumped at the chance to see them again, and see this corner of France, just a few kilometres north of the Spain. This would be their first overnight hike with their three. Arthur, age 5, would set the pace.  

We started out early on Monday morning, a holiday MOnday, with a drive and then a hike up to the well-known Lac Oo (attention crossword fans- that is the correct spelling). We all loaded up with overnight packs, lots of water and fresh baguette. Love hiking in France…

 Lovely picnic by the lake for lunch. The crowds thinned out as we scaled up to a pass, which opened up to an enormous bowl, with lakes and 360 views on peaks in all directions.  We gained 1000 metres in 3.5 hours. Everyone, especially Authur, was a happy hiker. He especially loved hiking with Naeva. 

For the rest of the afternoon, we lazed by the mountain lake, watched the sheep on the hill across, caught baby frogs. The brave ones took an icy dip. Amos and Jules loved playing ball together. Delicious dinner at the hut and then to bed by sunset. The Morissoneaus had brought their tent. We opted for the refuge…no sleeping bags to keep us warm anymore (WHOOPS!)…and snuggled in our dorm room with some gentle and snoring Spaniards.

 One of the best things about the hut is being able to start early, high up, and have the mountains almost to yourself.  We had breakfast at 7:30 am and were out an hour later. The trail traversed across a mountain high above Lac Oo, then over a pass, then a second, then a third. The views were breathtaking, with Mont Aneto (highest peak in the Pyrenees) and a dozen of others pointing the way. Arthur was roped in with a homemade climbing harness, to make sure that he didn’t slip in the scree and steep slopes.

Amos, Jules and Zoe often ran ahead, and entertained themselves with many conversations en francais and races against the clock to the top of the next set of hairpins. We learned a whole new French vocabulary: hairpin = les lacets; hut= un refuge; goat = boucs; cime et sommet et pic = peak; pass = col.

After 8.5 hours of hiking, we made it to Super-Bagneres, a ski resort with a wonderful conclusion to our hike: a gondola, all the way down the mountain.  Great hike, great company.

Now having a lazy day, with soccer games, Ticket to Ride (see, we were meant to be friends!), an intense geography contest, bike ride to the next village and a long lunch. Virginie and Zoe have created a magical meringue cake for tonight’s dinner.  Onto Bordeaux tomorrow.



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