The snowshoe cache!

Zabdo - Sports

City
Gourette
Do this quest by
Level
Ground
Duration
+3hrs
Distance
2kms
gourette_terra_aventura
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You just added "The snowshoe cache!" to your bucketlist ! You'll be able to visualize it in your adventure logbook.

This is a snowshoe cache. To get to the Bézou plateau, there are two possibilities:

 

1. Strongly recommended by Tèrra Aventura: take the ski lifts: 6€/person, open during the winter holidays and in July-August.

 

2. Difficult: Walk your way up, all year round HOWEVER the climb from the ski resort to the plateau is not an easy one. Only choose this solution if you are in good shape and used to climbing steep paths (called « accès sportif » here, (6 kilometres there and back).

Before you begin, go to the Tourist Office to get information about access conditions: +33 (0)5 59 05 12 17.

 

Beware, dog'z are not allowed on the ski area.

Tourist Office (N42° 57.495’ / W000° 19.952’)

Snowshoes are compulsory during the snowy season ! There are several rental shops around the Tourist Office.

In winter, the ski resort closes at 5.30pm. Make sure you depart early enough (plan for about a 4 hour excursion).

Snowshoes

A few words of advice before you set off with your snowshoes!

Wear weather-appropriate clothing. Comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are a must!

  1. To put on your snowshoes, slide your foot all the way into the shoe slot. The tip of your foot must reach the tip of the shoe.
  2. Next, adjust your heal, using the small ruler.
  3. Once you have measured your foot, place it correctly and adjust the straps around your heal and toes. Make sure the straps are pulled tightly!  
  4. As you set off into the snow, remember to unlock the back of your snowshoes, so that your heels are free from the shoes. Walk with your legs slightly apart.

Is everyone ready? Let’s go!

Departure spot : the ski lift (N42° 57.451’ / W000° 20.044’)

What is the name of the ski lift? « Télécabines du _____? » Find the missing word – it begins with a B. Count the letters in this word.


Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of A : A =_____

Well done! You are now officially ready!

If you do this quest at any other time of the year, go to the next step to follow the sports path (“accès sportif”). Remember: it’s a steep, 6 kilometres hike up to the plateau and back.

Boule de Neige / Sports path (N42° 57.420’ / W000° 19.987’)

You are on this path if you decided not to use the lift.

Ahhh… there you are, my brave friend’z! Ski lifts are for occasional hikers! No one’s ever seen a shepherd on a ski lift, right? And Aas shepherds are no exception! Fearless and sturdy, they are!

Actually, Zirrinzi... You’ll see thrill seekers on this plateau all year round! Shepherds and flocks are no longer alone here on these mountain tops!

Sled-riders, skiers, snow-groomers mountain-bikers…

There are so many things to do in Gourette! Over the years, the resort has grown considerably… Did you know that the Pyrenees’ very first ski lift was inaugurated here in 1930: « La boule de neige »! (The snow ball). The resort has come along way!

Walk around « La boule de neige » restaurant, along the green way (also known as « la Balade »).

Make sure you stay to the side, as to not get in the way of skiers. Follow the path to get to the next step N 42°57.540' / W 000°20.475'.

Enter the woods and follow the forest path (purple marks in winter / red and yellow marks in summer).

In the forest / Sports path (N42° 57.491' / W000° 20.422’)

You are on this path if you decided not to use the lift.

Tell me, young friend... why exactly are heading up to Bézou?

My friend’z and I are going to pass our First Star!  We’re a bit nervous, to tell you the truth…  

I understand. I was nervous too, the first time I went skiing… Just like the Sallenave brothers, no doubt. In 1903, these two brothers from Pau left the very first ski track prints on the Bénou plateau, right by the Bézou plateau! Back then, their skis were made of ash wood !

How strange… In this forest, there are mainly beech and pine trees! Speaking of which, notice the holes in some of the dead trees…

Black woodpeckers! Mountain birds with red caps on their heads, just like mine!

They peck the wood to find larvae, living in the holes and eating away at the dead wood. Some black woodpeckers even peel the bark off trees!

Continue along the forest path (purple marks in winter / red and yellow marks in summer), then go back to the green path, a little higher up.

« Les enneigeurs » / Sports path (N42° 57.205’ / W000° 20.322’)

You are on this path if you decided not to use the lift.

Aren’t you glad you didn’t take the ski lift? This is a great way to warm up!

Do you know what « enneigeurs » means? It’s another word for snow cannons (“canons à neige”)!

Follow the green path to get to the next step.

The ski lift platform : Bézou plateau (N42° 57.052’ / W000° 20.313’)

We made it! The legendary Bézou plateau! In the early 20th century, the first « Concours International des Pyrénées » competition took place on these pistes! Contestants from Switzerland, Norway and Italy competed here, as the King of Spain and 2000 spectators watched on!

Some say that skiing in the Pyrenees began right here in Gourette, thanks to the competition! Prior to this event, the northern sport was unknown in the area. The locals quickly converted to skiing after that!

What a perfect spot for a First Star! I wonder where our ski monitoris. Zirrinzi, are you ready?

Oh, I’d rather watch you from the cabin … After the snow has melted, shepherds lead their herds to summer pastures, where they settle down for 3 and a half months. Here, the sheep chew on licorice plants and wild thyme, which gives their cheese such a particular flavour.

Opposite the ski lift platform, there is a communal cabin for shepherds, who could use it if they paid a tax called “baccade”. What are the main materials the cabin is made of?

  1. Stone and wood
  2. Bricks and cob
  3. Straw and slate

Write down the number of the correct answer.


Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of B : B =_____

Go past the restaurant called Le Cairn. The marker indicating the departure spot for the snowshoe track is located at the “tapis du coq” travellator arrival spot.

Snowshoe track departure spot (N42° 57.064’ / W000° 20.350’)

Over here friend’z! I’m Zépapeur, your snowshoe monitor. By the end of this first class, everyone should be able to earn their First Star!

What is the altitude of the snowshoe track departure spot ? Have a look at the orange waymark to find out! Add the 4 digits up to get a new single digit number.


Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of C : C =_____

Go down the right side of the travellator, then follow the purple pickets that lead over to the opposite side. The path upwards begins here, then crosses over to the other side of the lake.

The lake (N42° 57.185’ / W000° 20.637’)

This is a hillside water reservoir…

A nearby river runs into the reservoir, where the water is pumped into the turbines of the snow factory...

The water is cooled and put under pressure before being expelled by large diffusers called « enneigeurs » or « snow cannons ». When they hit the cold air, the droplets freeze, covering Gourette’s pistes in a thick white coat!

The area’s snowmakers produce this artificial snow moderately and in a way that respects nature. That is really important to all of us, isn’t it Zarthus? Zarthus?! Slow down!

I caaaan’t !!! Oh dear… SPLASH!

What object, located by the « Lac » (hillside water reservoir) sign, could you use to help Zarthus out of the water?

  1. A canoe
  2. A life belt
  3. A life jacket

Write the number of the correct answer down.


Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of D : D =_____

Do not walk around the lake. Head up to the next step.

Pyrénées legend (N42° 57.258’ / W000° 20.770’)

Brrr…

What’s wrong with poor Zarthus? He’s shaking like a leaf!

He must be cold… Or scared…

I’m not surprised. This forest is quite eerie… The only trees that grow here are beech trees. A sea of clouds comes to a standstill at this altitude and supplies the trees with the humidity they need. Most of them are barely even 40 years old!

Centuries ago, before the Pyrenees mountains were formed, the area was very different. They say Hercules passed through here on his way to beat the Amazons, during one of his 12 labours…  

That is where he met Pyrène... Lovely sweet Pyrène, daughter of the King of Bekrydes. She pleaded for Hercules to stay by her side but he had no other choice than to accomplish the task given to him by the gods, and at dusk, he was gone…  

A few months later, when he had finished his labours, Hercules returned, but alas the king informed him that the heartbroken Pyrène had fled into the forest, never to be seen again…

Hercules rushed into the forest ! He looked and called for Pyrène for days… to no avail…

Then one day, on the edge of the land of Bekrydes, a great noise was heard and the ground began to tremble : Hercules had built the finest of graves for his beloved Pyrène. A chain of mountains covered with gold and diamonds, which he named “the Pyrenees”!

If you listened carefully to Zellé’s tale, you’ll have no trouble deciphering the following statements and finding the odd one out.

  1. Pyrénées - built - the - Hercules
  2. Daughter - is - Pyrène - king – Bekrydes’
  3. The - kidnapped - Amazons - Pyrène

Which statement is false?


Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of E : E =_____

Follow the purple marks in winter, and the red and yellow ones in summer. The path is a large circle which heads to the left then winds to the next step.

40 million years ago… (N42° 57.121' / W000° 20.665')

You can’t be serious! Please don’t tell me you believe Zellé’s outrageous story! Everyone knows the Pyrenees mountains originated beneath the sea, 40 million years ago, when two pieces of the earth’s crust collided. It had nothing to do with Hercules!

Well, anyway, let’s get back to our First Star, shall we?

Make sure you get a good look at the limestone on your way. There is a great amount of this type of rock in the Pyrenees massif. An undergound network of caves formed in the limestone, due to erosion.

Along the path, have a look at the piles of sharp stones. Water and snow caused them to merge. This type of rock, called “brèche”, is typical of the Gourette area.  

Before heading off to get to the next step, answer this : F = E x 2.


Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of F : F =_____

Continue along the path. Head slightly to your left, then down towards the lake.

Kids (N42° 57.102' / W000° 20.487')

Find the name of the chairlift for kids. Count the letters in this word that begins with a P.  


Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of G : G =_____
Hint
The orange waymark.

Congratulations! It’s as if you were born with snowshoes on your feet! Keep it up and you’ll have earned your star in no time!

Well, not everyone… Zarthus is still way behind us...

Zarthus? He left the group about 30 minutes ago! I don’t know what happened but he looked terrified! Something about a ghost named Pyrène, haunting the forest... He’s hiding in the shepherd’s cabin.

What a scaredy cat!

The shepherd gave him a few sips from the bottle he usually keeps for tourists. You know, the one with the frog inside it… The ideal way to keep warm!

Oh dear, Zarthus is probably fast asleep by now...

Local fauna (N42° 57.104' / W000° 20.445')

And now for the final test! I’m so proud of you, class! In order to obtain your precious medal, you’ll need to approach a wild Pyrénées beast ! Be quiet and pay attention. You need to respect the mountains if you want them to cooperate…

There! I found one! In a niche above the dog sleds! (Only visible in winter)

I’m not a wild animal you ninny... It’s me, Zahan! You’d better be quiet and keep your eyes wide open if you wish to succeed in your last mission! On the Gourette mountainside, if you look closely, you can see marmots and « sarris ».

“Sarris” is the Béarn name for « izards »! In fact, the « Pène Sarrière » peak is named after these Pyrénées chamois! Just like the majestic Ger peak, which can easily be recognized thanks to its large inclined stone slabs, and Pène Médaa, to its left.

Go back to the « tapis du coq » travellator and up to Cairn.

The "Cairn" (N42° 57.070' / W000° 20.365')

Stop! At last! Our patience is about to be rewarded!

Excuse me, Zabdo ! It seems as though Zéfaim has a bad influence on you ! I thought we were here to tame a wild animal… Oh, I see, you’re hungry like a wolf  ! 

The fresh mountain air does build up an appetite !

Nearby is the famous mountain restaurant « le Cairn ». What do you think a cairn is?

  1. A Gourette peak, visible from the restaurant terrace 
  2. A local drink
  3. A stone pyramid used to mark a path…
  4. A Pyrenees animal

Write the number of the answer down.


Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of H : H =_____

The cache!

Do not head downwards! The cache is on a flat spot, hidden among branches.

Well done friend’z! Now good luck! This is what I called a well-deserved award!

« Attention geocaching friends ! No need to lift rocks, pick walls apart, or uproot plants... the cache is most likely there, right before your eyes! Remember that your quest must remain environmentally friendly ! Thank-you ! »

If your answers to the riddles are correct, the GPS coordinates of the cache will appear in green in the mobile app. Click "locate the cache" and let yourself be guided!


Cache coordinates: N42° 5((G-E)+B).11(A)' / W000° 20.(H)(F)(C/D)'
 The mystery word is written in the log book, inside the container


Hint
Look for the « raquettes à neige, double sens » sign (« snowshoes, two ways »)!

To get back to the ski resort, take the lift back down or follow the path you used to get here (sports path, 3 kilometres).

Well done, you have found the cache!
See you soon for more adventures!

Contact :


Office de Tourisme Gourette / Eaux-Bonnes
Avenue Castellane
64440 Eaux-Bonnes
Tel
05 59 05 33 08
Mail
info@gourette.com

Terr'Aventurers' comments

12 jan 2022

Coz'toujours has found the cache

magnifique parcours fait sous un beau soleil. un grand merci au sage pour cette nouvelle découverte !!

08 jan 2022

Djepssy has found the cache

sympa merci

08 jan 2022

Lii Lou has found the cache

super parcours physique

08 jan 2022

Lii Lou has found the cache

Sympa mais physique

08 jan 2022

LES 3B has found the cache

magnifique balade, une aventurière de 5 ans a trouvé zabdo!!!!

08 jan 2022

FloEmy has found the cache

questions sans grand intérêt mais superbe balade

08 jan 2022

EmyFlo has found the cache

super balade en raquettes mais déçue des questions qui peuvent se faire toutes depuis le resto. magnifiques paysages

06 jan 2022

Rhama has found the cache

beau parcours dans la neige ! merci !

04 jan 2022

MayaCool33 has found the cache

une belle découverte en raquette par un temps idéal !

04 jan 2022

VALNO33 has found the cache

une superbe ballade en raquette avec le soleil