An unusual and picturesque evening to experience with your family or a group of friends!
The hut of Boutas is in the middle of the mountain, at 1580m (in the valley of Labail, just in front of Luzenac, in direction of Andorra). It includes a private part reserved for the shepherds and a public part open permanently. The public part has a bas-flanc equipped with 5 bunks (generally quite clean) and a table, as well as a fireplace, a grill and some candles. Wood is stored under the slope and in a shelter, but it is better to go and get it in the surroundings, where it is very abundant, and to leave the dry wood to those who need it the most, in case of bad weather for example….
To reach the Boutas hut, cross the parking lot that runs along the RN20 on the right (at the level of the Treasury) then take the small road that goes up towards Sourtadeil and park at the Gazeil barns. Continue on foot along the carriage road to the small weir of the Font de Canalette. Then take a beautiful paved path that goes into the Labail gorges and crosses a magnificent beech forest. We leave the forest towards 1340m by emerging on the small flat of the Jasse de Sauzet where Labail walks between meadows and peat bogs. We cross other identical flats (Campeilles, La Moullière) before seeing the valley widening a little. On the left, halfway up the slope, is the Boutas hut, from which there is a beautiful view of the Didorte pass to the south, at 45′, where the famous GR10 from Hendaye to Banuyls passes. Beyond the pass of Didorte are the valley of Rieutort, the pass of Rieutort, the refuge of Rulhe, the Ponds of Fontargente and Andorra.
The fauna that can be observed includes the isard, the fox, the badger, the wild boar, the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the white-winged vulture, the golden eagle… More rarely: the capercaillie, the snow partridge. If you come during the summer season, you will see beautiful herds of Merens horses and cows. Depending on the season, you will be able to pick up blueberries, currants, raspberries. And mushrooms (attention: only the ones you know!).
To reach Boutas from the parking lot, it takes 2h30 with a well loaded backpack, 2h if you climb lightly. The return is done in 2 hours. Equipment needed: good shoes, clothes against rain and cold, water bottles, walking stick, and IGN map if you decide to return by another way. Total height difference: 700m.
The ideal is to leave around 10:30 am, to arrive around 1 pm and to make sure that the hut is free. If it is not, you have all the time necessary to return to the parking lot before the night. If you leave in the afternoon and with several people, you have to foresee tents just in case… But this circuit is very little known and there is little risk of congestion.
If you decide to go, talk to your neighbors at the other gite to make sure they didn’t have the same idea at the same time…
Take the opportunity to find the geocache Le Boutas (GC4QNQ6) which is hidden nearby, see the site Geocaching.com…
Have a good hike, good evening!