2022 Adt09 Gentianesjasseengaudu Stephanemeurisse2022 Adt09 Gentianesjasseengaudu Stephanemeurisse
©2022 Adt09 Gentianesjasseengaudu Stephanemeurisse|STEPHANE MEURISSE

Nature immersion in Orlu

In the land of wolves and marmots

The Orlu National Reserve is one of the jewels in the crown of the Ariege Pyrenees! It’s a delight for children, but adults are not left out either. Hiking with donkeys is an opportunity to discover the landscape, fauna and flora, up close to nature. And don’t forget the magical moments of face-to-face encounters with wolves. “I loved it, even though Dad told me I’d got everything mixed up when I told Grandma on the phone that we were going to see wolves in the Orlu reserve! In fact, it’s not that. First we’re going on a real hike in the reserve, even though we’ll be going with a donkey and not with wolves, and then we’ll go and see wolves, but they’re in a park. Dad explained to me the difference between the park and the reserve, because I hadn’t quite understood…”

Entrance to the Orlu reserve

Donkey pace

This morning, I’m the first one up and breakfast has already started when Mom and Dad arrive in the kitchen. I take Léo’s bottle to bed to put him in a good mood. Mom asks me to stop running around with my backpack, walking stick and all my hiking gear. I can’t, I’m so happy! As soon as I arrive at the parking lot, I go straight to the donkeys. I try to get a close-up with my camera, but it’s not easy to get the top of the ears. David explains how to walk with Framboise, the donkey we’ll be taking into the reserve. She’s greedy, so we mustn’t let her stop to eat the grass on the sides of the path. I had no idea that donkeys in the Pyrenees were so big, and I’m impressed with Framboise. I let Daddy take his tether. David agrees to let us ride on his back, but we take turns with Léo and not for the whole hike, otherwise Framboise will be too tired.

Mountain life

Encounter with a cowherd

That’s it, we’re out of the forest, there are big cows everywhere with their bells, it’s a din, I can’t tell you. I’m scared, so I stay behind Dad. “Look, there’s the shepherd!”, “My name’s Raymond and I’m not a shepherd, I’m a cowherd “, “All right, what are you doing?”I’m painting necklaces for my animals”, “I love painting too”, “Come and see my paintings in my hut!come and see my paintings in my cabin if you like”… “Wow, you sleep there at night?”Raymond, can I take a photo of you in your cabin, please?”Raymond is so cool, he gives me a piece of sausage, which is just the thing for a picnic. We feast on this delicious mountain cheese, even though Raymond explains that his cows are for steaks… Who’s that whistling? It’s a groundhog across the street! She’s got her hind legs up, even Leo can see her, she’s so beautiful, there are even babies, marmottons. They’re doing their somersaults and that makes my little brother laugh, so we’re all laughing together!

Isards in the binoculars

Pyrenean chamois

Come on! I want to see the wolves now! What are all those hikers looking at over there? Zi what? Isards

“Madame, can I see through your binoculars? “Call me Thérèse! Of course you can look through the scope, just don’t change the settings, okay? “, “It looks a bit like a chamois, doesn’t it? “That’s true, but in the Pyrenees we call them isards “…

Mom and I finish the descent to the car, playing a game of hide-and-seek behind the trees and rocks by the side of the track. Léo sleeps on Dad’s back. The goodbyes with Framboise are interminable, one last photo and we say goodbye: I’ll be back, I promise, and we’ll go all the way to the En Beys refuge this time!

Wolf, are you there?

We’ve finally arrived at the House of Wolves! The girl at the entrance has put a wolf ‘s paw tattoo on my arm, I love it. Feeding begins. They look very sweet, but in fact, the man who throws them the duck’s paws explains that there’s a leader in the pack and that it’s the leader who eats first, and that only one wolf can have pups. European wolves, Arctic wolves,wolves are you there? My favorite is the Canadian wolf!

We take advantage

Something for everyone!

Afterwards, we went to see the 3 little pigs and Léo couldn’t leave the little goats. “Come and see the big fish, Léo! “It’s already snack time, kids, so let’s treat you to a pastry! “Yippee, it’s so nice to be on vacation! “. We treat ourselves to a blueberry tart, and Mum takes a photo of us in front of the waterfall with our tongues all purple. While Léo goes to play adventurers at theAkrobranch in Orlu with Mum (yes, well, it’s the Pitchouns clearing for 2-year-olds), I go to buy postcards with Dad in Mountaneô. We meet Madame Thérèse from this morning at the reception desk! I choose the cards with animals on them – there’s even one with aPyrenean bear. I ask Thérèse why we didn’t see any this morning, so she tells us the whole story and… it’s long… So I leave them to chat with Dad and I look at the beautiful books in the store. Luckily, Mum and Léo come to rescue me, because they’ve finished their adventures.

A dream day

Thanks Dad, thanks Mum

As it’s late and we don’t want to see Leo break down because he’s too little to do so many things in one day, Mum and Dad decide we’ll come back tomorrow. I’m still in shape! In my head, there are lots of images: marmots, Raymond, isard, waterfall, wolves, Thérèse, forest, rocks, cheese, sausage, cows, bear… In the car, rocked by the curves of the small mountain road, I feel my eyes closing. They sayaltitude makes you tired… In any case, it was a great day!

Ariège's little extras
The Ariege Pyrenees, your oxygen bubble!

Looking for unspoilt nature, the great outdoors and white water? In winter, ski, snowboard, skating, snowshoeing, sledging and dog sledding at Ax 3 Domaines, Beille, Ascou and le Chioula, Mijanés and Goulier... In summer, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding or canyoning... And all year round, enjoy the benefits of the thermal waters at Ax-les-Thermes, Ussat-les-Bains or the Bains du Couloubret. And don't miss the Grotte de Niaux and the Parc de la Préhistoire. Not forgetting the history of our mountains and their heritage, pastoralism and local produce! Book your next mountain vacation!