10-Apr-2016 -- This is the second out of four reports reaching confluence points in Southern France. The story continues from 43°N 0°EW.
At 6 AM in the morning I started cycling from Oloron-Sainte-Marie, which is 40 km away as the crows fly. After climbing and descending a couple of minor hills, I reached the Saison River (also known as Gave de Mauléon) and followed it upstream. The road along the river starts going up steeper and steeper as one approaches the confluence. At the village
Larrau the 600 m contour line is crossed. From the village, a lonely road serpentines upwards towards the mountain pass Port de Larrau, which was still closed for the winter. In general I had the impression that this area, part of the French Basque Country, is at the end of the world. To the south there is the border to Spain (1.3 km from the CP) and the Pyrenees. No car would pass me for the whole morning. I guess that the remoteness is also the reason why this confluence point has had just one visit so far.
I left the road at a distance of 950 m in a hairpin curve of the road. The walk along a decayed forest track was wet and muddy with melting snow on the ground. From a distance of 300 m, I left the track and began my direct attack to the confluence through a steep deciduous forest. The climb was not too easy with partially snow covered ground. The confluence itself is also in the forest, but enjoys a great view to Larrau and beyond towards the North.
On the way back, a thunderstorm came up. Sudden wind gusts almost blew me from my bicycle. But as I got down into the Saison River Valley, the wind became surprisingly hot. This was clearly a Foehn wind. I used this phenomenon as tailwind for unexpectedly reaching the 44th degree latitude in the evening of the same day!
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to a road: 950 m
- Distance to a track: 300 m
- Distance of bicycle parking: 950 m
- Time to reach the CP from the road: 30 minutes
- Time at the CP: 10:24 AM
- Measured height: 1358 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy: 5 m
- Topography: mountainous, steep incline
- Vegetation: deciduous forest
- Weather: partly cloudy, 9° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Foehn Wind Confluence
The story continues at 44°N 1°W.