Day 6: Family Camping Larrau; Hiking Gorges Kakuetta with Kids

Success!  We’ve crossed the French border and arrived at our camping site with no problems.  Camping Larrau serves as our homebase for a hiking trip to Gorges Kakuetta (a canyon with a cave, tunnel and waterfalls) and Passerelle d’Holzarte–a narrow footbridge suapended 180 meters above a canyon. Fun!

At about 3.8 kilometers roundtrip hike, up and down and slipping and sliding on narrow rocky passageways, the canyon or gorge was quite a challenging family adventure for all of us non-hikers.

But the boys did it and we are proud of them for not giving up.

It took us about two hours to get there and another hour and a half coming back after about a two-hour break at the waterfalls.

Of course there were lots of complaints and whining along the way.

Frequent stops, a picnic, the 20-meter waterfalls as incentive, and a sense of adventure made it possible for our 8 and 4 years old kids.

After much sweat, hidden pains and some tears for me (dad) I needed to dive into the pool of turquoise colored pool by the waterfall.  Lo and behold, the water was soooooooo cold, I thought I had lost something precious amidst the wild and wet pebbles… may be not as precious to my angelic wife, but certainly to my mucho macho manly mad main man self πŸ˜‰

The boys managed to get their feet wet though and play what-do-you-call-that-thing-where-you-throw-a-small-flat-stone-over-the-water-to-make-it-skip-the-surface-as-many-times-as-possible-in-one-throw for an hour???

Tips to make your family hike to Gorges Kakuetta (what the boys call “Jorge’s Cacahuetes” in Spanish… or George’s Peanuts) much more pleasant:

The terrain is made up of narrow, rocky, slippery passages, going up and down on the side of the canyon, some with wooden walkways and guardrails.

Often a group of incoming people would need to stop to let others pass.

Make sure you have good pair of hiking shoes, ones that have soles that do not slip.  The rocky terrain can get slippery.  When you are there and it rains you might as well wait for better weather.

Bring long-sleeve shirts/sweater/pullover because it can get xold down the canyon and the weather can change unexpectedly.

Stop frequently.  Remember; for every step you take, the little ones would take two… or for some of you vertical freaks three.

Be close to your little ones and be prepared to hold their hands for most of the trek.

Once you get to the waterfalls you, adults, might as well go ahead and take the 200 or 300-meter extra hike to The Grotto–the end of the course.  It’s worth seeing the little stone structure there that some say resembles a mother holding a child.  Go check it out and you be the judge of that.

Bring a towel and change of clothes.  Swimming is for the coldblooded and is technically not allowed however.

Camping Larrau is exactly how we wanted:  on a mountainside in a small bucolic village with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.  It even came with neighboring cows whose bells make themselves known throughout the night as they graze the land, and a little stream running next to it.

It’s likely a blessing that it rained the next day when we had planned to climb to the suspended footbridge!  Many folks have said it’s for at least battle-ready 6 year olds.  You know what they say, “Better leave some for next time!”

Oooopppsss…. that’s not 12 sentence, as I had planned. Next time then!

Next: Down the mountain to Condom… France. Really!

Exiting the charming mountain village of Larrau a day earlier due to rain.

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