Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 3 - Wednesday 28 July 2004 - Stage 2
Dewy lawn to Dancharia
Cloud inversion then hot and sunny on good tracks. Nice quiet campsite – 7.75 hours, 17 km, 400m ascent
Brilliantly hot sunny day – up in the 30’s C. Enjoyed a long lunch en route to Dancharia, a border village with a huge supermarket. Also a nice quiet campsite and restaurant where we enjoyed some beers and a meal under the shade of some plane trees.
Diary entry (by Martin)
Steamy in Dancharia
Wake in night to fog under the stars. Still foggy when the 7 o'clock alarm announced it was time for a brew.
Soon we had a superb view of La Rhune (see above), over a sea of cloud. The view east was just as good. Above the cloud we were on our own in a different sun drenched world, with distant sounds of jangling horse bells, neighing, and the hum of agricultural machinery somewhere.
I wore boots this morning, as I did yesterday afternoon. They are quite comfy despite being new (cheapo KSB 300 GTXs) [they lasted to the end of my first TGO Challenge in May 2007] and only worn once before this trip - on a short evening walk.
Reached Col de Lizarrieta at 9.50 after passing two large shaggy ink cap mushrooms. Clear to the east. Cloud inversion the west. Two teas with lots of hot milk (had to drink most of that first!). A few cyclists and others about here - first people seen all day.
Then on along Véron's route. A huge hunting tower was passed. A 10-ft ladder would be needed to reach the entrance! The tower needs to reach above the massive and magnificent beech trees hereabouts.
Suddenly I stop abruptly. The snake I was about to tread on squirms across the path. About one foot long and half an inch in diameter. Not sure what sort, but it didn't look like an adder.
Continue on in magnificent scenery, completely clear now, with views of La Rhune and the French coast, and to the east the lovely green rolling Basque countryside with its bright white houses dotted about.
Lots of Pottock ponies, in family groups; just couple in each group have bells, and there are lots of youngsters.
des Trois Bornes,
after a zone of dragonflies and spent cartridges, we stop for a brew and to dry
out the tent a bit (thinking we wouldn't be using it for a couple of days).
Other people were walking here. A group of Pottocks lazed nearby, and were
frightened by mountain bikers who occasionally flew past. The tracks hereabouts
are excellent for that activity. Col
And so, after a 35 minute break, we ambled on past Atchouria mountains, where fauve vultures glided magnificently. Eventually Collado Urbia was reached and we walked down the road to the hamlet of Zugarramurdi, where we were immediately attracted to a bar for lemonades and hot sausage sandwiches.
The chewy chorizo sausage on a French loaf. A happy hour 2-3pm was spent here before we donned trainers, and I put my trouser legs on to avoid sunburn, for the hot 4.5 km to Dancharia. 31°C. Immediately on entering the place we spotted a campsite, where we were welcomed by a friendly and chatty proprietor who told us "another HRP walker came through at midday". We booked in, and washed and showered. (We were very sweaty.)
Then we explored. Not a nice place - just a huge border supermarket - great for supplies if we needed them. Ainhoa, 3 km away, is apparently the place to go. Next time, perhaps. [We subsequently stayed there on 18 June 2013.] Not even any postcards of Danchuria, but the campsite is a haven. A brilliant sunny day, but by 7.30 it has clouded over. It's still warm though and ok to eat outside the campsite restaurant.
Stats and route (Viewranger):
19 km, 730 metres ascent, 7.75 hours