River Rats

It's a bit scary leaving a trail that has a path laid out for you which allows for comfort in direction and clarity. Ryan and I have decided to head into France without any plan or understandings of what we were going to do except to be open to experiences and love freely in whatever comes our way. I know there are things I will have to do to make sure I keep growing in the ways that I have been in the seclusion of nature and do my best to keep myself aware in the confusion of cities or other distractions that comes up. This morning I woke up early to set the tone for my day and decided to make this a daily routine to protect myself in whatever the future holds. I was rewarded greatly on a small hike I took above the clouds.

  • Can you find the I'sard? This animal scared the shit out of me when I walked over a hill and it made a low grunting sound that filled the valley. Then I saw what it was and calmed down.

My alarm went off at 6:00 am and I found a small creek to clean some water for coffee to take on a small hike while ryan slept under our make shift shelter on a parking lot under a heavy sheath of droopy, wet clouds. I found a trail leading up to a small bald hillside and after a mile or so rose above the clouds and saw the mountains surrounding our valley with tiny blotches of pink light brushing the tips of the peaks. I found a nice grassy spot and sat to read and journal for a while until I got overjoyed with the excitement of beginning a new adventure and put my headphones in to dance in the growing glow of the rising sun. I danced a long while and said my goodbyes to the mountains before descending back to the parking lot to meet Ryan.

It didn't take long for us to get a ride a little ways down the mountain where we were dropped off at a parking lot next to a river where we hoped to swim for a while until setting out again into the flatlands. When we got out of the car we saw a ranger who was at our refuge a few nights before putting on a free presentation of the animals in the national park. Ryan and I talked with him for a long while and looked through his binoculars at the mountain tops before saying goodbye and finding our river. We both confessed to have a massive crush on the man with thin curly hair and heavy eyebrows resting over his deep hazel eyes. Such a hunk.

  • Ranger told us this animal is called a Desman that only can be found in the Pyrenees. Adorable.

We sat at the river for a few hours resting in the sun, doing some push ups, discussing all my existential crises and reading some Lord of the Rings. I spent a while boulder hopping by myself along the river listening to music and taking in the beauty of the river. I found a fallen tree covered with thick green moss crossing the river. I climbed up the side of it and laid down on the padded moss looking into the blue skies with the flickering leaves flashing their green dresses in the wind. It was a peaceful time for me and before I left I found a cool owl pellet with the jaw of what I assume was a mouse.

I returned to ryan and he had moved his things or of the sun and we felt the time was good for us to head back out to the road. We spent a long time trying to hitch but it was difficult with not many cars passing and the ones that did were full of families. After an hour our ranger came by and picked us up and drove us all the way down to Bedous where he told us he would come back in two hours and take us to Pau. Perfect.

We wandered around Bedous a while getting jacked up on coffee and finding new music in the small cafe on the Main Street. Around 5:00 we went to meet our ranger, but he was running late so we danced as we waited.

The ranger came with his girlfriend and took us into Pau telling us a few cool facts of the cities we passed along the way. When we got to Pau Ryan and I said our goodbyes to our ranger and headed up to the city to walk around before going to a free concert ranger had told us about.

  • I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure there were redwood trees in Pau.

Pau was beautiful and exciting. We are kebabs and walked the streets taking pictures of statues and buildings. After a while we found our way to the park and watch some live music by two dudes dressed in matching tank tops, socks, shoes and running shorts. Then a woman came up to sing after and blew us away with her energy and stage presence.

After the show ryan and I weren't sure where to go and sleep but found a sketchy abandoned alleyway with broken glass on the ground from the windows of the buildings around us. It seemed sketchy as hell to me, but we didn't have many options at 1 in the morning so we threw down our tarp to try and sleep with the sounds of the city still in a roar celebrating their yearly five day celebration of independence and freedom. All of south western France is in this celebration that is centralized in Bayonne. They say for these five days the government gives the people the keys to the city and they go wild on the streets wearing white and red partying al ours of the day.

Laying in this alleyway is sketchy and I'm nervous to be woken up by someone trying to steal our things, but strangely I feel peaceful. I'm excited to wake up without any plans and take our journey another step forward in France. Avec le vent!

2 Replies to “River Rats”

  1. You’re speaking my inner science teacher here! Love letting the kids dissect owl pellets. That Desman is awesome. I have never heard of it, but it looks like something that would be studied at Hogwarts. ha!

    Liked by 1 person

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