lunes, 6 de julio de 2015

Old Pyrenees Glaciers

At the time of the last glaciers in the Pyrenees, 20.000 years ago, the biggest one in the range, matching the present ones in the Himalayas or the Andes,  would extend for more than 60 km and 600 m thick from the Bujaruelo mountain pass, near to Gavarnie, onto the village of Lourdes, in France.

Presently disappeared, it has leaved two major proofs of its former presence: the remaining Gabietous glacier, perched between the Three Thousands Taillon and Gabietous picks...

and the Cretaceous limestone rocks polished by the glacier action.

Taillon (Left) and Gabietous (Right) picks
Down, Gavarnie valley with "La grande cascade"

In the early XIX century, Gavarnie becomes the cradle for the newly born alpinism fever in the Pyrenees, from where the virgin un-stepped Mont Perdu (first named in French), Vignemale and Troumousse massifs are to be discovered.

These mountains have always called for mankind legends. Yet, back in 778 AD, Charlemagne’s nephew Roland, defending the back of his retiring uncle’s army against the moors is overwhelmed by the numbers.  Not wanting to leave his spade to the enemy, he tries and break it against the rocks,  opening the famous Brèche de Roland, a natural pass between the both National Parks of Ordesa (Spain) and Hautes Pyrenées (France), the both conforming an amazing Unesco Natural Heritage.

Bujaruelo middle-ages bridge over a bucolic freezing azure river pond… an inviting place for relaxation after exhausting mountain hiking and a bathing spot for daring ones.  

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