A mid-mountain ridge route in the heart of the Basque country, to be done over two days. Departure from the village of Bidarray, accessible by TER from Bayonne or Biarritz. When leaving the train, cross the “Pont d’Enfer” and go up to the village itself. From the church, we have a nice view of the ridges that we are about to climb. Then follow the GR10 which climbs regularly to the peak of Iparla at 1044m.
Not far from the summit, a not-so-fearful vulture was quietly observing passers-by! He must have been feasting not long before: a satiated vulture is generally so heavy that it becomes incapable of flying. To learn more, you can read Hulot.
At Iparla peak, the path follows the ridge for a few kilometers. This is then the opportunity to have a clear view over a good part of the Pyrenees.
The GR then descends to the Col d'Harrieta, an ideal place for a bivouac. In the photo on the left, this is the pass hidden by the rocks. There is a spring a little further on the Spanish side, and you can take a small detour to the Astate peak from where this photo is taken. We were lucky to have beautiful weather for the evening. As a bonus, a porcini mushroom to cook, found along the way!
The following day, go back down the path that starts from the Col d'Harrieta. After a quiet day in rural landscapes, we reach the village of Saint-Martin d'Arrossa which is on the train line. I have excellent memories of this place because we arrived in the middle of a Basque festival to which the locals happily invited us. Their enthusiasm to share their customs and traditional dishes warmed our hearts!