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Album: photos:20021017

Oloron-St. Marie - illicit railroad underpass campsite
17 October 2002
Day's km: 27
Overall km: 263.5

I got a lot of use out of my new poncho today. I started late after sleeping in. Fortunately, this meant that I missed the morning rain, but I had not even left Oloron St. Marie before the rain returned. It has been cold with off and on showers ever since.

One interesting place I got to see as I left town was the oval ring in Place du St. Pierre. This oval was constructed in the 12th century (I think) for jousts to celebrate the Treaty of Oloron between King Edward I of England and King Alfonse III of Aragon. It did not look like much though.

So after several hours of hiking, the route really became interesting. The path became narrow and slippery. Below the Gave d'Aspe flowed swiftly and above me breaks in the clouds revealed a blue sky. I entered a gorge and the chemin was somehow hacked out of the steep wooded slopes. I saw great views of the gorge and mountains through the trees and occasionally an old stone farmhouse or the remains of one would be visible through the vines and creepers. I took a lot of pictures in that section.

My immediate future looked bright as I left the woods near a small chapel and headed into Sarrance along the road. It even stopped raining, and I felt the warmth of the sun. I felt really good entering the town and took out my guidebook to find accomodations for the night.

The rains returned figuratively and literally. The hôtels and gîte at the monestary were all closed up and the locals could not recommend anything else. I had no choice but to move on. Then it started raining again.

It was 5 o'clock and I was hungry because I only had 1 croissant all day. I was really counting on eating and sleeping in Sarrace. The next place was 2 hours away by trail and from what my guidebook said, it probably would not have anything open out of season. So, I headed up the road hoping something would present itself.

And something did. After almost an hour I came across a rather mysterious and apparently new railroad underpass. The trains don't come through here anymore though - there are trees growing on the tracks. But it was big, dry, clean, and level for sleeping so that is where I am writing this from. it is really nice actually. Everything always works out. I am cautiously optimistic about getting a decent night of sleep here. The two problems I foresee are cold and ghost trains. I'll let you know how it went tomorrow if I survive.

Good night. It is too dark to see what I have been writing anyway.

G

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Photo album generated by album tool a Marginal Hack written by D. MadisonTue Feb 10 23:43:58 2009



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