The path I followed through the woods that morning had been walked by Napoleon and witnessed the death of the heroic Roland. Although peace, not war, hung in the air that morning, the romantic grandeur conjured by those names fit the spectacular panoramas that greeted me after leaving the forest.
The small house on the crest of the hill is open to pilgrims in search of warmth for the night. I later found out that while I was camping in the mountain pass, three pilgrims had were taking shelter there for the night. The group, which would later walk with me, was made up of a grandfather, father and son who were completing the journey together.