Let us start with a math question. Say you are traveling with the subway at 62 km/h. You are on your way to catch a 7.14 AM train. You are 11 minutes early — even if 7.09 AM would be considered as late. The subway train has 11 cars and you are in the 3rd car. Now, the question is: What is the probability of bumping into someone you know at the next stop?
Frankly, I have no clue what the answer is — if one exists. What I do know is that on last Saturday I was traveling on the subway, on my way to catch the 7.14 AM train to the Pyrenees. I was way too early. The subway stopped at the Clot station. Mike — my fellow hiker — walked into my car and our trip together to the Pyrenees started a few stations ahead of schedule.
We arrived at the Ribes de Freser train station shortly after 9 AM. We took a deep breath of the fresh mountain air and went off in search of the starting point of the PR C-190 path that would lead us to a mountain called Taga.
We quickly found what looked to be the right path. To be sure, we asked an old man for directions. He shook his head and told us we were on the wrong path. However, when I showed him the map with the marked route, he confirmed we were indeed following the marked route. We were thus on the right path according to the map, but on the wrong path according to the local expert. Since both the right and the wrong path lead to our destination we decided to follow our current — right or wrong — path.
The path to the top was rather straight forward — apart from a slight deviation when we were put off by misleading signs. Two signs indicated one direction but a third sign voted against that direction. We went with the majority. However, after asking some locals for directions we learned that we should have trusted the minority in this case.
We reached the top of Taga (2038m) after about 3hrs of hiking. There was quite a crowd on the top. A combination of adult hikers eating their lunch and children running around. There is something inherently lovely about children at play. We hated it. We felt demoralized watching the children running around, trying to catch each other — while we stood still, hands on knees, trying to catch our own breath. We came up with several explanations of why the children were so much better shaped than we were. They had been resting on the top for a while, they had come up an easier path, etc. Never did it cross our mind that maybe we were significantly older than they were.
Having caught our breath at the top of Taga we sat down and had our lunch. We could admire the view of the Pyrenees to the north. The view to the south was covered with clouds. According to some pictures we saw on a sign somewhere mid-way the view to the south can also be nice on a clear day. We will have to verify that next time — weather permitting.
The way down was rather uneventful. Pretty much like the way up — but down — and without an extra detour. We did some experiments with artistic photography and tried to come up with ways to become millionaires without doing hardly any work. The main conclusion was that the creative photography was not a good candidate to make us millionaires.
Back in Ribes de Freser we checked into the hotel before exploring the town. The exploration ended with a couple of beers and sandwiches at popular square in town — where popularity is defined as a place containing more than 10 people. The beer was followed by a siesta, pizza and a good night’s sleep before Part II of our weekend in the Pyrenees.