GR11 – Homecoming

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After couple of weeks of walking, my hike through the Pyrenees faced an unexpected end as for the first time, a trail “beat me”. Nothing too dramatic happened, it was more a sum of several things but when reaching Benasque near the half-way of the GR11, I didn’t want to push any further. Simply, I wasn’t enjoying enough. But don’t get me wrong here, the experience was great and blister-free, landscape beautiful and fellow hikers super nice. I was just missing that something to justify the upcoming weeks.

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To be honest, I was afraid too. After reaching the high Pyrenees, heavy thunderstorms started frequently to roll in. Slow to build, they erupted late at night and were hard to anticipate. Most of them were flickering far enough to cause any real danger, but one night me and one Irish hiker got caught right in the middle of a long and furious double storm. Through the night silent flashing illuminated the sky, keeping me half awake until around four in the morning, it was there. A dark beast came unseen from behind the col of Collata las Coronetas and suddenly, I was far off my comfort zone. Camping high up in the mountains we were dangerously close, feeling exposed and vulnerable, lightnings banging all around us for hours. I think for me this, probably the scariest night of my life, was finally the last drop.

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The upper part of the Ordesa sector and the long descent to the Anisclo canyon were the real highlights of the trail. After passing through such a beautiful places, it was a hard call to make and for a moment, felt like a massive, embarrassing failure. In the end it was the right thing to do, though, to follow how I was feeling and to transform myself from a thru-hiker to a section hiker!

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As usual, full summary, photos and video will be added later on. In the meantime, I recommend to read wildpilgrims’ awesome GR1 journal.

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