retreat, stillness, simplicity
holidays, hikes, stays and sabbaticals in France in the Pyrenees mountains

Meditative hikes, treks or mountain retreats of the beaten paths.

Made to measure hiking & stillness meditation retreats, contemplative hikes trough the Pyrenees mountains. Pyrenees mountains guide service: for yourself your couple, small group or team.

Pyrenees Mountain Leader
Private guided hikes, treks or tailored to suit stillness meditation retreats, terms.
Levels of difficulty.
Original itineraries, some suggestions 

 

made to measure hikes and treks in the Pyrenees mountains? Hire Richard  Mountain Leader

Richard

Richard our resident is an experienced licensed Mountain Leader.
Don't worry if you don't like always following marks be it long distance footpaths (GR 10 or GR 11, La Senda) or marked parts of the Pyrenean High Level Route (HRP).
Ask Richard for that more adventurous contemplative hike, survival retreat or spiritual adventure holidays you're dreaming of. Contemplative trekking includes camping in the wild, enjoying mountain sceneries, retreating into stillness, observing wildlife, photography, ...  off the beaten paths, suiting your level of fitness, aiming to develop it.

Below are some suggestions. They're in no way limitative. Together we'll realize the made to measure mountain retreat you're looking for.
contact: richard@pyrenees-pireneos.org or call +33 626 99 33 11

Contemplative hiking and camping into the wild Pyrenees, Guide Service :  

Included : guiding, overnights at our quiet house before and after your hiking retreat.
Not included : gear, food, travel costs. When staying in huts the mountain leader's costs (board and lodging) are yours, this is usual.
When needed : cooking gear including gas can be hired. You're not allowed on planes with it.
Minimum number of hiking days : 7 (= 6 overnights).

 

Private hikes wherever you prefer in the East half of the PyreneesHikes and treks, levels of difficulty:

Use the scale bellow before contacting for Richard for your hiking retreat guide service. It helps to determine your level of fitness. All meditation hikes and mountain retreats can be designed in a way to help to improve your shape as well. Body awareness and a good physical condition are the basics of genuine reliable spirituality. 
Mountain hiking retreats combined with more or less fasting are a natural fitness training: in 2 weeks you turn excess fat into lean muscle! Meditative bodily felt hillwalking improves your body, equilibrium and movement awareness, strength, stamina and suppleness. And, needless to say, your natural beauty returns.  
Contemplative and meditation hiking mountain retreats high up in the Pyrenees need the necessary condition to carry your max. 15kg rucksack uphill.

Richard prefers wild mountain retreats along unpublished trails, through passes used for smuggling long before the European Union existed or during world war II to help people escape to Spain.
You won't find these routes in books and many of them even disappeared from the more recent ordnance survey maps. Only shepherds, hunters and people living here still know where they were and how to find them.
Ask Richard to adapt that kind of unforgettable adventure retreat to your level of fitness and wishes. He knows what's possible.

Our hiking physical condition grading is as follows : 

* Walker =  novice  You have little training, cannot yet read a map and would lose your way.
* Learner : You practice sport twice a week but don't have mountain experience off the beaten paths, crossing snowfields or orientation.
* Hiker : you do have mountain hiking experience, are used walking barely visible paths, you're able to navigate and aware of your limits.
* Mountaineer : you're an experienced all-season mountain hiker able to dig out steps with an ice-axe and stop yourself on a snow slope.

 

made to measure stillness retreats in the Pyrenees mountains

Some suggestions for a private made to measure hike, trek or mountain hiking and meditation retreat:

These are some suggestions but anything goes. Hikes, treks or hiking meditation retreats may range from a short 7 days up to 2 weeks or longer, adapted and made to measure according to your level and what you like. 

1-week through the Puigmal and Canigou massifs around the Catalan border

Level: walkers and hikers.
This hiking retreat can easily be adapted if you've less or more mountain hiking experience.
The border massif can be hiked combining camping in retreat with 1 or 2 overnights in warded huts at both sides of the French/Catalan border. Camping in the wild is not possible everywhere because of Nature Reserve restrictions. Bivouacking is always allowed.
The Carança clough is probably it's most adventurous part.
In mountain Spring the hike up to peak Puigmal is a blooming flower reserve and invitation to awe, contemplation and gratitude.
You may prefer starting from the Spanish Catalan side using the rack railway to get to former Nuria monastery and start walking your retreat from there.
Peak Canigou is one of the Catalan holy mountains since the Goths (Catalonia <= Gothalonia). The walk up is not that difficult and the views reach over to the Mediterranean. The walk downhill to Casteil runs past the world famous Saint-Martin du Canigou abbey.
Lower in the valley there is Villefranche de Conflent a Vauban Fortress where you could stay a day visiting and take the little yellow mountain train for a very special journey through the Cerdagna. 

Another suggestion for a private hiking retreat Pyrenees area:

made to measure private hike observing chamois and mouflons

1-week or longer hiking and enjoying nature around Lanous lake and nature reserve.

Level : motivated walkers and learners.
This hike or hiking retreat is in the French Pyrenees Orientales county. It's an especially nice hike or hiking retreat in mountain Spring (about half of June when snow has melted) because of its flowers and outstanding natural beauty.

These massifs can be crossed starting from Col de Puymorens or any higher Cerdagna village. Or, from the Ariege county walking up from Hospitalet. Or hiking through the wildest part of the wildlife reserve above Ax les Thermes too.
You may combine camping for retreat into solitude and stillness and staying in huts. Since large parts between peak Peric and peak Carlit are nature reserve and reserve of outstanding natural beauty, camping is only partially allowed and bivouac restricted. Peak Carlit can be hiked up starting from the lake Bouillouses hut and running down to 'castell izard' where, when being quiet, one can observe many herds of wild sheep (mouflon) and chamois. There we could camp and retreat for a few days enjoying, contemplating and experiencing nature's stillness and awe.
Estany de Lanós as it is called in Catalan is the largest lake of the French part of the Pyrenees 2,5 km long and 500m wide (1,71km²). Superb views on Lanós and another 12 lakes in a not that difficult to walk area.

next suggestion for a private more relaxed hiking retreat

made to measure private hike in the Pica d'Estats massif observing chamois and mouflons

1-week or longer private hike or retreat exploring Pica d'Estats massif off the beaten paths.

Level: Hikers and higher.
This hike, hiking retreat or trek, mainly in Spain, is one of Richard's alternatives to marked long distance round tours on the border between France and Catalonia.  We hike past deep blue tarns through the first +3000m massif of the Pyrenees mountains with ever more beautiful views. 
The scenery is a harmonious mix of summer pastures, mountains and lakes. Offering most beautiful places for retreat, bivouac, observing nature, contemplation and being still.
Climate is delightfully Mediterranean and generally dry. Although end of August first snow may make this mountain retreat more adventurous above 2.700m. 
We may follow poorly marked paths, with here and there a cairn, crossing the scenery in silence.
Eagles and vultures rule the skies and wolves or lynx can be seen from time to time, and perhaps also one of the few remaining bears.

An overnight in the Certascans hut and/or Pinet hike is possible. However, combining with camping in the wild in more hidden most beautiful wild spots is a much more rewarding retreat. Hiking of the beaten trails into the side valleys, camping into retreat for 2 or more days .
We may climb the peaks of Puig d'Estats ( 3.143m) and Montcalm (3.077m) and trek back into France along old almost forgotten smugglers' paths. Rambling through quiet valleys, observing chamois and marmots. And, maybe surprise a lynx or lonely wolf or stumble over some bears trail. Stillness all around.

freedom trail escape from France to Spain1-week Escape to Freedom trail high level hike or retreat.

Level: motivated hikers and mountaineers.
Combining wandering as an hermit off the beaten paths, we follow trails used during World War II by passeurs to smuggle crashed pilots and Jewish families across the border to Andorra. This hiking retreat is quite difficult since parts of the trail aren't clear anymore. But maybe the trail never was very visible as smugglers paths often are. And, we may wonder how untrained families managed to cross here overnight in silence, avoiding to make any noise that would betray them to the Germans.
The path from the village up to the summer pastures is overgrown since it's not in use anymore. Higher up the trail runs high up above the valley and its old mule path to port de Siguer. Which the freedom route had to avoid, as it was controlled by the Germans.

Made to measure hiking mountain retreats as you wish they were.

Level: from walker on.
Looking for a shorter than 4 weeks grand hiking stillness retreat? On times that suit you? Off the beaten paths high up in the Aston, Pica d'Estats or an other massif in the Eastern part of the French or Spanish Pyrenees? A time-out combining trekking, camping in the even more wild? Hiking stillness retreat and all the time you need to pick up your innate need for balance between contact and withdrawal, movement and stillness.

More information on these adventurous and contemplative private hiking retreats or treks exploring lesser known and hiked massifs between Vall d'Aran and the Mediterranean? call or mail Richard +33 626 99 33 11 richard@retreat-stillness-simplicity.org

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