There are some days that just beg to be spent outdoors. When the morning sunlight pours down across the Pyrenees mountains, shimmering with a bright, cloud-bursting, dew-glistening beckon to adventure, its call simply must be answered. And there are so many absolutely stunning sites to explore within a day down here in The Aude, it's a wonder we get anything else done.
Our latest excursion took us on a glorious hike up the infamous Pic de Bugarach. Shrouded in myth and mystery, mount Bugarach holds a special place in the hearts of the New Age movers and shakers down here in the Aude valley. It is said that the ever mysterious mountain harbours many strange and surreptitious treasures within its deep and hidden caverns.
Characterised by a plethora of New Age and intrigue theories, Bugarach is renowned as a sacred site of great mystery and enchantment. Not to mention the glory of its magnificent rocky peaks.
With its limestone caves and meandering, mystical fairy forests, it is no wonder Mount Bugarach has inspired the imagination of so many throughout the centuries.
A geographical oddity, Bugarach has been called the “upside down mountain”, as its top layers are millions of years older than the lower strata. It is almost as if someone shot the mountain up into mid-air and flipped it around, before landing it wrong-side-up. Yet another Bugarach mystery.
Ever the enigma, Bugarach is heralded by many as a star-gate or portal to other dimensions. It is even said to house an ancient dragon within its darkest depths. Some even believe that Jesus and Mary Magdalene are buried inside the mountain. The radical tales and myths of the mountain are endless.
The mountain achieved new levels of notoriety surrounding the 2012 'end of the world’ scenario, as predicted by the Mayan calendar. Due to its celebrated New Age status as a sacred site, journalists from across the globe flooded in to record the much anticipated migration of thousands of 'esoterics', who apparently believed that the mountain would play an important role in the apocalyptic saga. As the story goes, it was said any person present at mount Bugarach on December 21 would be saved from destruction when the end of the world commenced on that day. It was also said that alien beings might intervene in the cataclysmic saga, and that they may even rescue and transport those present on the doom-full day to another safer dimension. But alas, not so much as a single esoteric soul turned up for the fateful event. And so, the world press had to make do with a story about a total and utter lack of a story. Only in the Aude.
Its controversial history, combined with the stunning views, make Bugarach a must see of the region. It has certainly become a favourite hiking and yoga spot for us. But to grasp the magnitude of its mystery and beauty, this deeply enigmatic site really has to be experienced first hand.
Whenever we hike up Bugarach we really make a day of it, packing plenty of water and nuts to snack on, as well as Gertrud’s well-loved chia seed lunch pack to fuel our journey. The mountain rises 1230 metres above sea-level and the drop is 750 meters from the summit ( 1230 m ) and the village of Bugarach ( 480 m ), taking approximately two hours to climb to the summit. And the view from the top is just breath-taking.
We really love Bugarach and highly recommend a visit. There is something about the mountain that is utterly transfixing and impossible to put into words. It leaves you with a lasting sensation of wonderment and awe. Perhaps it's all that lovely fresh air and open sky. Or, perhaps the conspiracies do hold water and what the New Age folk say is true… down here in the Aude the proverbial veil is indeed drawn exhilaratingly thin.