There's a strange upside-down mountain in the Aude of France and today we climbed it.
|Earl at the peak|
Pic de Bugarach is about 45 minutes away. It's lore is probably bigger than the mountain though. It's called upside down because the lower layers are younger than the higher ones. Some legends say there is a space ship inside the mountain. In 2012, as the Mayan predictions of the end of the world circulated, people gathered at Bugarach where they thought they would be safe from destruction because the aliens would take them to another planet. About 10,000 people gathered there on December 21, 2012. But the world didn’t end and they stayed on earth.
We had no such expectations as we started our hike today. Our friends Alain and Isa led the expedition. Alain had climbed Bugarach before. He’s French so typically underplayed how difficult it would be.
|When we started, all fresh and hopeful|
Alain said the first part was difficult but then it was easy. About an hour and a half, he said. Then when we arrived he said the first hour was difficult. Gulp!
The walk was uphill as you’d expect on a mountain. There were some tricky bits, but as we rounded a corner, the wind began to blow ferociously and I climbed with my hands up a rocky wall.
|Isa and Earl looking like they're at the end of the world, maybe walking to Mordor|
|The part that nearly did me in|
I felt like a kids’ picture of a stick person on the side of a mountain. I sat down halfway up and took off my hat then pulled on my sweater. Before I turned around and started up again. Holding onto the rocks as I climbed against the relentless wind. Half way up, I stopped and took off my hat so it didn't blow away. I also put on my jacket. As I turned around to start climbing again, a water bottle fell from my backpack but I wasn't about to scramble down to get it. I would retrieve it on the way back.
|Looking a bit bedraggled at the top of the mountain|
|Alain and Isa were not put off by the strong winds at the peak|
|A gap between ridges|
|High and rocky|
But the hike down was fairly quick and I was halfway down before Earl stopped to pick up my water bottle and I looked behind me. I was walking down the rock face, no problem.