This week we took advantage of the perfect weather in the Pyrenees to accomplish a project Phil had in mind for many years: an overnight snowshoeing trip in Aspe Valley, staying at the remote – but cosy! – Refuge de Larry, an unwardened mountain hut run by French Pyrenees National Park.
Gustavo, Phil and I headed out for two days and hiked in some valleys that were new to us and showed us the great variety of landscapes and environments of this hidden corner of the cordillera.
What looked quite an easy going excursion on the map turned to be a rather challenging hike as we had to carry big back backs for this 2 day trip, and the snowy slopes slowed progress a bit. The Larry hut was just reward for our efforts though.
A beautiful place really well looked after. There was one bunk for two plus a mezzanine that would sleep 5 more. It’s got everything you need: wood burner with firewood, china plates and bowls, glasses, blankets, candles, saucepans, frying pans – even a colander. There’s no booking system so you just have to hope no one else is there but it’s in a quiet spot and in winter we knew there would be no trouble – in fact we only saw two other people in the whole two days.
We started the trip in Peyrenère, at 1430 m, near the Spanish and French border, just down the road from Somport pass. And we ended the next day lower in the Aspe Valley, at Chemin de la Matûre (700m), close to Urdos Village.
The hike took us through several different side valleys, crossing several passes and going up to Ayous ridge at 2150m: amazing views from that point, as it’s the meeting point of the Aspe and Ossau valleys. We looked over to a snowy Midi d’Ossau and down onto the frozen Lacs Ayous.
The final section of the trip was on the Chemin de la Mature which is a path that was blasted through the cliffs in the 17th century to bring lumber down from the forests above for warships. It’s a great path and was a suitable way to finish the hike. Phil’s written about the history of the Chemin in a previous post.
And on our way back home we did not forget to stop in a traditional small farm and buy some tasty sheep cheese!
Great trip – can’t wait to head up there again.