Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

This week’s photo challenge is about the Achievement of someone we met along the way.

While hiking Pic St. Loup one day this past summer we came across a hiker/biker.  Understand that Pic St. Loup is a dauntingly huge mountain in the Hérault Valley, but for some unknown reason we thought they had ‘Disneyfied’ it with wide, smooth walking paths since everyone we came across in southern France, from youngsters to seniors, had talked about hiking Pic St. Loup.  So off  we went to conquer this montagne.

We reached the peak of the mountain after 2 hours of huffing, puffing, sweating and persevering (because we were too far in to turn back) as I noted in a previous post.  We were quite near the peak at that point and as we looked ahead we saw a biker, yes, a man and his vèlo coming down the mountain towards us.    Surely they were filming an episode of ‘The Great Race’… but no, he was completely solo. No helicopter dropped his bicycle at the top of Pic St. Loup. He took (dragged, schlepped, rode?) his bike to the top of Pic St. Loup! Quite an achievement.

The views from the top of the mountain were spectacular, and we spent the entire day debating if this hiker was l’athlète du jour or le fou du jour…still not sure.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: UP

The Pic du Midi, in the Midi-Pyrénées of France, remains for me one of the most spectacular points on earth.  It’s beauty is how it scrapes the sky, and the stillness and calm that accompanies being UP 2877 meters (9439 ft) in the air.

 

Pic du Midi Observatory started its life in 1878…people Climbed to the top…with equipment! and completed construction in 1908..no cable car until 1952!  The extremely sophisticated telescopes and equipment at the top have been instrumental (pun intended) for scientists around the world, including NASA, and now that it is open to the public, accessible by a two cable car ride, it feels like a sanctuary in the sky.  People actually whisper, not to disturb the silence.

It is not the highest peak in the world, nor as famous as some of its cousins to the east…and perhaps that is the attraction.  Straddling the border between France and Spain, its telescopes peer deep into space.  One can overnight there, and I’m certain that is truly a ‘peek’ into heaven.

An aside…there Is a restaurant at the top of this ascent…no ‘golden arches’, rather a lovely restaurant serving either a two or three course meal, including wine. This Is France, after all…never mind that we are 9,439 feet above sea level, a proper meal is a proper meal.

Here is  video of the ascent from the village of La Mongie at the bottom all the way UP.  At minute 4:17 you can begin to see the Observatory at the top.