National Geographic : 1974 Dec
The Enduring Pypenees By ROBERT LAXALT Photographs by EDWIN STUART GROSVENOR youth. One could see that in the sweep of shoulders beneath his high-collared mountain jacket and the long-boned hands that clasped the rustic shepherd's staff. Age and hard work had shrunk him in body, but there was enduring strength in his weath ered face. In a low-lying part of Gascony they had warned me against the Aragonese shepherds who roam the high Pyrenees, saying they were a hostile lot. But I have found that mountain folk are much the same everywhere - and that flatland people are prone to con fuse reticence with hostility. Leaving our car in the valley, my wife, Joyce, and I had hiked up to a grassy knoll to picnic on cheese, bread, and wine. A breath of wind had brought to us the faint tinkle of bells, and we followed the sound, clambering up hillsides and over moss-covered rock. The mountain where we met him lay al most astride the meandering Pyrenean fron tier dividing France and Spain. It was a green mountain sprinkled with the golden butter cups of June and gashed along its flank by a Strangers to "progress," Andorran shepherds watch road builders far below carve a thoroughfare into their mountain realm. The uniqueness of the Pyrenees, born of long isolation, now draws throngs of outsiders, quickening the pace of change in once-remote communities.