Camping,  Hiking,  Hiking in Europe,  Hiking in Pyrenees,  Hiking in Spain

Tiny pretty Basque villages and rocky climbing on GR11 in Navarra, Spain | Day 11 from Hiriberri to Auritz

We had a bit of disturbing night at the wild camp spot we found close to the village Hiriberri because it was extremely windy and at times there were very strong gusts of wind that were waking us up. But nevertheless we managed to get few hours of sleep and were determined to start the day early. As we had a pretty big plan – to do 17kms again, walk through two villages, climbing the steep 600m uphill and come to the village Auritz. We did change our plan a little bit the evening before so that we have the water sources nearby our potential camp spot. And we hoped that it will work this way.

So we started the day at 6am waking up and as it was still pretty dark we spent another half an hour in bed. We began to roll up our mats and stuff at 6.30am, then had our breakfast and finally wrapped up our tent. We were out on the trail at 8am which we were pretty happy about.

We collected some more water in the source we found yesterday and that turned out to be clean and nice drinkable water. Then we had 2km downhill to do to the village Hiriberri. The place where we stopped to camp we named the foggy mountain because of the amount of foggy clouds coming from it. It created a very high humidity in the air, that’s why we got quite a bit of condensation on the tent in the morning.

It felt very nice to start early and have the trail all to ourselves. Also all the first part of the trail we had cloudy weather with low clouds and aerosol feel of drops of water on our bodies. It felt very nice to finally not having to use sunscreen and just to enjoy and breathe fresh air and wind.

The first several kilometers went down quite a gentle downhill and soon we were in the village Hiriberri. It looked very similar to all the other villages in the region with the white walls and huge rusty roofs that seemed to occupy half of the buildung. We didn’t know for sure why these houses were built like that but our theory was that maybe because of the high humidity people stored some harvest goods at the top of the roof.  And overall the architecture reminded us of some northern Scandinavian style of buildings for some reason.

Then the trail turned to the gravel farm road for some time and went downhill to the next village Orbara.  It was going through the bushes and on a very narrow path and went quite steep. There were many blueberries growing on the sides of the route. We already were seeing the next village from above and the low clouds stayed in its place covering the tops of the hills.

We crossed the bridge over quite a big river surrounded by very dense forest on both sides and headed to the village Orbara. It still felt refreshing and nice to walk and the temperature was not more than 20C.

We walked through the village fast and faced the major uphill for that day of around 600m. We saw on the map that it may go quite steep and when we started hiking it proved it right. During 4.5kms the trail went narrow sometimes through the rocks made as steps, sometimes through dense dark forest and lots of bushes. We met only couple of hikers climbing up and all of them were day hikers we thought because of the small backpacks they were carrying. Although the weather was cool and fine for some reason we got sweaty very fast and got quite hot. Maybe the high humidity played its part there.

So it took us quite a lot of effort and several breaks to make it to the top and there the trail opened to the small fields and beech forest. We love beech forests because they always look so scenic for the shade they create and also because their branches are quite high and wide and this way you can see far in the distance through the forest. The trail was still going up a bit but went much more gentle and all in the shade that we enjoyed quite a lot.

We began to meet lots of horses pasturing in the forest and then came out to the fields and farm road. From there the trail went in an easy way along the fields for some time without major elevation changes. The time was around 11.30am and we felt like taking a break and having lunch. So we did right on the side of the trail, stretched for a moment and just gave our bodies some rest. We’ve noticed that overall relaxing the muscles by putting the backpack away every hour of hiking or so helped quite a lot to extend the time of hiking without much sacrifice.

The fields were pretty and filled with many colorful flowers where we saw lots of bees working. And the views were amazing from there on the green hills and low clouds in the distance, peaceful pastures with horses and some yellow fields.

We continued hiking and we knew we had around half of the trail left for the day – 9.5kms. The most challenging part was done and we knew we will be able to do it. The path was going through the forest and gentle uphill and then the downhill part started. First it went across the field for 1km quite steep and then came out to the pine forest wide road that went steep at first and then continued quite gently down. It was all going in the shade and with a nice breeze, we enjoyed it quite a bit.

Then on the crossroads we continued in direction to Auritz for 5 kms more. The trail went through the forest wide roads and cow pastures on the sides. Sometimes it went a bit up and then down again and partly was going in the sun. But this part turned out to be very easy overall and we made it quite fast.

We met a couple of river streams on the way already and in 2.5km until the village we faced with the dilemma whether to continue on till the village or stop there nearby a water source. And because it was Sunday afternoon we knew that it is unlikely that we encounter any supermarket open at such time. And we needed to resupply many things already. So we decided to stop before the village to be able to come the next day on Monday morning and resupply there.

The spot we found was located nicely and secluded in the forest near the field with the ground covered in leaves and many potential flat spots. So we found quite flat spot, set up the tent and collected water from the river. It was still quite early in the evening around 16pm so we took our shower under the sky with previously heated water and began cooking dinner. We quietly ate our mashed potatoes dish with usual mushrooms and tomatoes, as well as we had biscuits with chocolate and some nuts and seeds. Then we still had some time to rest a bit before going to sleep.

We felt like the night could be quite cool because of the cold wind blowing so we prepared all our warm clothes to keep at hand.

It was a nice laid-back day for us overall and in big part the weather was a huge helper as it wasn’t hot at all. So we hoped for the next days to be the same way and with such thoughts, we went to sleep.

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

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