Spectacular Wild Camp Spot on GR11 and Sharing our Real Camping Routine | Basque Country Hiking Day 17
That day we didn’t have a big plan and thought of doing only 7 or 8kms further down the trail. We wanted to make it a chill out and relaxed day and to have time to recover more before the last major day of the hike. Also we had an idea to film more of our camping routine that normally we simply don’t have time and powers for.
We got up later that day at around 7.30am because we had a bad sleep and couldn’t rest very well. We again were camping under the beech and oak trees that were very cinematic looking in any time of the day. The base terrain below our tent was far from perfect and thus we were sliding down all the time as well as couldn’t get a comfortable sleeping position all night. In addition, we were hearing the town and big road noise almost all night. It was the specialty of these places when we were hearing everything that was happening quite far away as if it was just around the corner of our tent. For example the noises of the farm houses and cows were very loud always. It was all because of the sound reflections due to the hilly terrain and lots of gorges and ravines, the sounds were travelling without borders.
So we wrapped our stuff, had our breakfast and packed the tent with no rush. That day we almost ran out of power and needed to charge up our batteries so we set up our solar panel on top of the backpack hoping for the sunny weather.
We went out on the trail at 9am which was quite late for us. At first we hiked through the same path that we already did yesterday going back and forth. Then we met a water fountain located right on the territory of the private house. It was nice and kind of these people to provide a source for the hikers as sometimes it was hard to find and reach for. So we filled the water bottles and walked through the beautiful backyard garden with lots of different flowers blossoming.
The trail continued to follow the car road the next couple of kms and we were walking by the private houses and nearby gardens and fields. It was quite easy and gently coming down and up again with no steep parts. There were many blackberry bushes on the way that made for a good snack.
At one point the trail turned to the narrow forest path and went 100m steep downhill all the way to the lake. From up above we could enjoy the nice panoramic views of the lake and its green banks as well as the high magnificent mountain range that looked like a solid wall in front of us. On the map, we saw that there were some hiking paths going along the ridge and through the peaks themselves. We thought that probably it made a very scenic hiking trail to do one day from which you are able to get the amazing views of the ocean coast we could imagine. Nevertheless, it looked very challenging and steep and better done with no backpacks at all.
During all hiking days on many tops of the hills we were seeing the white antennas that were probably transmitting the phone and internet signal and its thanks to them we were having the good 4G coverage almost anywhere we ever stopped. So it was very convenient and nice.
Soon we came out on the car road which went quite steep the last km or so to the lake. There we passed by some restaurant that was closed on weekdays and so we couldn’t buy any ice cream there as we wished. The car road part continued and there were no picnic area or rest areas as we expected at the banks of the lake. We came out to the dam and it became obvious that it wasn’t a natural lake. So we had to cross it and then the trail turned to the right away from the road. There we saw an info board of GR11 saying that there is 21km left until Heria Irun and it was very nice as we could see a relief map of the terrain a bit. But of course there was no clear idea of what expects us next and where there would be more chances to find a better more flat camp spot.
There on the field we had our lunch break, we still had some cheese and tomatoes left so it was quite delicious. For the dessert we got the cookies and some local Navarran chocolate that we found in the small grocery shop the other day. And it was tasting amazing with added cranberries and 85 % of cocoa. In general, we love discovering and finding such goodies as chocolate and cheese in the local small shops, sometimes we find the real gems this way.
After an hour or so we got back on the trail again, the sun was shining high and strong already but the wind was refreshing so even in the middle of the day it was fine to walk. We said good-bye to the flat field that looked like an ideal camp spot but just too close to the road and wish we could find something like this further down the trail.
We started to tackle the uphill of 250m but because we saw it was going in a zigzagging mode following the gravel car road we were sure it was doable. And even though we were already tired because of the lack of sleep we still hoped to find a nice camp spot somewhere up.
So it actually turned out to be an easy route climbing uphill in comparison to the others we’ve already done. The views and landscapes were amazing of the high green mountains surrounding us and beautiful violet flowers growing in abundance on the side of the road. The road was closed for an exclusive use of authorized vehicles and so there was not any traffic at all if not counting the cyclists.
When we were almost at the place we could collect the water from the small stream and continued hiking for the next couple hundred meters. Then we faced the crossroads and started scouting the area for some possible camp spots. And to our happy surprise we found several good more or less flat spots further into the forest. Our happiness was over the roof as it was definitely one of the best spots that we found on this trail overall, the flattest and with the best panoramic views. It was an awesome final stop for this GR11 hike to remember.
It was 16.30pm when we arrived and so we had time to take a shower with our flysheet set up as the wind was a bit cold for being under the sky. It felt nice and refreshing. And then we set up our tent trying to find the flattest spot possible there. Then followed our usual camping routine with cooking, unpacking sleeping gear, and looking at the map and making plan for the day ahead. Closer to a late evening some dark clouds appeared on the sky but we hoped it was not going to rain. The next day we had another 10kms to do to our final destination for the GR11 – Irun at the Cantabrian Sea. So it was an exciting and at the same time sad moment as we were close to finishing the trail. We went to sleep with a nice feeling of accomplishment and mooing of the cows and their bells in the distance as it became usual.