Following Waterfalls to Lac de Gaube from Cauterets

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Saturday 25 October 2014

Following Waterfalls to Lac de Gaube from Cauterets

Heading south from Cauterets on Saturday lunchtime following the 'Chemin Demontzey' we found ourselves back on our old friend, the GR10 which traverses the French Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Having had an amazing 10 days trekking along this trail last Autumn we always liked to see other parts of the trail and maybe one day we'll get the chance to walk the whole thing. Our aim for today was to head as far south as time would allow (given the short daylight hours), first climbing along the 'Chemin du Cascades' (part of the GR10) to reach Pont d'Espagne (1500m) from where the trail turned towards the Lac de Gaubet (1800m) and onwards to the lower slopes of the massive Vignemale.

As the path began to climb along the side of a tumbling stream, with frequent waterfalls ranging in size from a few metres to fifty metres, we made slow progress over the uneven ground. Sadly for us, despite the sunny weather this steep sided valley and the late time of year meant that we were in shade for the entire climb and the chilly air from the water sapped our energy a little after a long hike the previous day. This also meant that progress was a little slower than we had hoped and although the waterfalls and the golden red and brown trees surrounding us were beautiful we did find ourselves by the end looking forward to some more open slopes and views above.

At Pont d'Espagne we easily picked up the well signed trail to continuing following the GR10 south, through slightly less dense forest now to reach the Lac de Gaubet after a total of 4 hours of hiking. After spending most of the hike in the shaded valley it was a welcome sight as we arrived at the waters edge and the view opened to reveal the rocky, sheer sided cliffs of Vignemale with the tumbling Glacier des Oulettes rising up beyond the calm, blue waters fed by a high waterfall. It was stunning and so we found a handy log to just sit and appreciate the sight for half an hour.

By this point it was quite late in the day and hunger was setting in, so polishing off our remaining supplies we began the long trek homewards, retracing our steps through the trees. Our return journey took a little under 3 hours and saw us arriving back in the dark and ravenous for dinner – the motorhome was an even more welcome sight than usual!

Walk Information: 
Motorhome Base: Cauterets
Start/ End Point: Cauterets
Time It Took Us: 7 hours
Level: Moderate
Map: Carte de Randonnees Cartes no.4 'Bigorre'  1:50.000

Other Related Posts:
Hiking in the Hautes-Pyrénées & the Pyrénées National Park - Gavarnie & Cauterets

3 Big Hikes in the High Mountains of the Ariege-Pyrénées, France

See all Our Hikes in the Pyrenees

Road Cycling in the Hautes-Pyrénées - The Most Famous & Difficult Climbs of the Tour de France

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