Camping,  Hiking,  Hiking in Europe,  Hiking in France,  Hiking in Pyrenees,  Hiking Trail

Challenging hike to the Peak Carlit in Pyrenees-Orientales, France | Bouillouses Natural Site

It was the second day of our 2 day hike to the Peak Carlit. That day we hiked 18 kms through the beautiful lakes at the Bouillouses Natural Site and ascended to the Pic Carlit (2921m).

That night we slept really well, it was very quiet and calm with no people around us and the temperature was very comfortable, not too cold but very humid.

So we got ready quickly, ate our breakfast and started our 18kms hike for the day.

We wanted to leave our backpacks somewhere in the forest so that we can hike as lightweight as possible. We had a very good previous experience with Puigmal when we were glad we did it as it would have been impossible to get down from the peak. So we tried our luck at the hotel situated right at the lake Bouillouses and they let us leave our backpacks in their living room with no problem. One smaller backpack stayed with us for some food and water carrying.

The trail started quite challenging with the huge rocks on the way to climb but then got easier going through the forest and lots of lakes.

There were lots of people on the trail probably because it was weekend so we couldn’t rush through them. But we needed to move moderately fast cause we saw some big clouds coming out and we didn’t want them to block the views on the top.

The area we were passing by was extremely beautiful untouched places with lots of trails to take and secluded corners to explore. The lake views were so surreal with the perfect reflections of the mountain range in the calm waters and different unique flowers around. The rock formations were also very impressive with lots of shapes and forms. We wished we had more time to explore this area taking photos and it deserves to do the separate hike.

We saw the peak Carlit from far in all its glory and as always doubt our abilities to get there. But it already happened to us before and we knew that by doing one step a time we are going to make it.

So the half way to the peak was going on relatively flat paths and had little uphills and downhills. And then we saw the sign telling that from this point the trail is starting to be very hard and it is only recommended for expert hikers. We never saw this type of signs before so it was a bit scary.

So the trail surely became a constant uphill with more and more little falling rocks as normal for any peak in the area. We met several little waterfalls with the frozen water and there was the snow in the mountain comb that was melting down slowly but was still saved in the middle of the hot summer. That was incredible to see.

Melting Snow in August

We started to see some impressive views from above over all the lakes and mountain ranges.

But at one point we seemed to lose our track that we didn’t realize at first as there were so many different routes and crossroads and also we followed the people that is not always a great decision.

And so we had to make our way through some animal paths and climb several rock formations that we did for the first time in our lives and were really glad that we left our heavy weight down. Also we regretted not having any gloves for the hands to protect it from scratching.

But this experience of losing our way and climbing the rocks made this hike even more memorable and when we reached the top we felt like we overcame so much, including our fears.

So the amount of reward and happiness at the top was hard to describe and express in words. The views were unbelievable and as the peak was very steep from all sides and it is the highest in the area we really got to experience the feeling of being on top of the world and above everything.

The clouds were really close to our heads and all of a sudden we heard a thunder and the sound was so different from what we are used to being lower. It was the scariest thing ever but at the same time the most authentic. It was a manifestation of nature in all its power.

So sadly not having enough time to contemplate all this beauty we had to start our way down. The downhill wasn’t easier than the uphill without using the hands it was absolutely impossible to step – this steep was the trail.

And we were just in time down at the lake before the clouds completely covered the peak and it started to rain. We waited for some time for the rain to calm down and then moving slowly because it was all slippery we went down to the hotel where we left our backpacks.

For us it was for sure one of the hardest trails we’ve done so far but also the most rewarding. It took us in total 6 hours to do both ways. It is a must hike for everyone who is in the area and the lake Bouillouses natural site is very well worth to explore too. We wouldn’t recommend going with heavy weight and the trekking poles are also not very useful sometimes. Wear some good trekking shoes and use some gloves for the hands. Take the right side of the mountain when it gets confusing and you will be on the right track. In the summer months to the Bouillouses area you can get by bus as well, taking the first one in Mont-Louis and then changing to the other one at Pla de Barres campsite.

Here is the link to Google map to follow the hike:

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