Readers’ wildlife photos

May 6, 2021 • 8:00 am

Today we have more  travel photos from Anne-Marie Cournoyer of Montreal, who guided treks all over the world. Her captions are indented, and you can enlarge her photos by clicking on them.

Euskaraz badaizu? Do you speak basque?

Souvenirs from hiking trips I guided in 2004.

I visited the « pays Basque»  a few times, and remember it as always green. Guess why! One must not forget to carry an umbrella!

When I was scouting in May, the skies were mostly clear. On the other hand, September was more moody and gray, creating a mysterious ambiance that delighted my clients hiking under the rain.

The Basque country is situated in the western Pyrenees, in adjacent parts of Southwestern France and Northern Spain. Both sides have been sharing the same language, culture and traditions for centuries.

The Basque language might be one of the oldest language spoken in Europe; it has nothing in common with French and Spanish

Meeting a Pottok on La Rhune, a mountain tied to Basque mythologies. The Pottoks are semi-wild ponies roaming the Pyrenean pastures. Notice the gentleness of my client: presenting himself and letting the horse decide whether or not to make contact.  One should never impose on a horse. A true relationship emerges from a dialogue, not a monologue.

Rain is in the air: a typical old Basque house.


Walking on the GR10 (hiking route) toward Ainhoa. GR is an abbreviation for «  Grande Randonnée » which means « long distance hike » . This hiking trail runs the length of the Pyrenees, parallel to the Spanish border.

The red and white lines found along the trail signal that we are on a GR route and the direction to follow.  The 2 other signs refer to the Camino de Santiago Compostella road.

«  Les Aldudes »  is a French village and a valley situated in Spain. The region’s pastures are administrated by France, which is paying a rent to Spain. Every year, at the end of May, the transhumance begins.


Cattle are marked with a red iron before being led to high pastures for the summer.


Crossing the Pyrenees from St-Jean-Pied de Port to Roncesvalles, one of the most beautiful hikes in the Basque Country.


Entering Spain on the Camino Frances toward Santiago de Compostella.  I took the next two pictures on the way down. Same hour of day, very different weather.

Entering Spain on the Camino Frances toward Santiago de Compostella.

15 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Beautiful photos Anne-Marie! Thanks for sharing these. I read about El Camino in The Journey in Between by Ken Foskett. He’s a bit irreverent (generally) and full of himself; but he tells the story of this long walk quite well.

  2. Beautiful photos – many thanks! My wife’s mother came from a city further along the Spanish coast which pilgrims on the Camino del Norte route of the Camino de Santiago pass through. The coastline is lovely, but there’s a reason it is called the Costa Verde!

  3. Beautiful photos, I got incentive for hiking.

    But also I have some hair-splitting to do here.
    “The Basque language might be one of the oldest language spoken in Europe; it has nothing in common with French and Spanish”

    These two statements have nothing to do with each other. Just because it has nothing to do with Spanish and French, it still could be a newcomer language in Europe.
    And it is good that the first part contains a “might”, because there is not much reason to assume that the roots of Basque have a bigger time-depth in the Geographical Europe as a whole than the roots of Spanish or French. The most that can be said that Basque has deeper roots in Spain-France, because it was already spoken somewhere around there before Roman times (well, something that was the contemporary predecessor of modern Basque), while Spanish and French developed from local Latin dialects that set foot there with the Romans.

    1. By the way, what are the oldest written records of Basque? I could look it up…

      Equally, it has, like a ‘living fossil’ (daft term) had just as much time to evolve as any other language, as you point out!

      Another thing – we are too ready to equate language with ethnicity, especially historically. (Not you!) Many people acquire a new language/culture.

  4. Without your “same hour of day, very different weather,” I wouldn’t have realized there could be such a difference!

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