Hi me dears, here in Bagneres de Luchon, nearly half way and the start of the remote, no shops, no accommodation except shepherds huts and the chance of meeting a bear!! (very remote). so since the last post:
Monday 21st june. luz st saviour
Didn't have time to explain the shoulder thing, I was walking down a road and I fell off the tarmac with 17kilo of rucksac falling on my left shoulder and wrenching it rather badly. Good job the doc gave me some painkillers before I went away. lay there like a turtle for a few minutes trying to right myself. Got to Luz and very slowly put up the tent. ate out that night, appalling service le patron said cet un catastrophie ce soir!
Tuesday 22nd June Luz to bareges
Most difficult thing was stuffing my sleeping bag one handed, but hey, I managed and pressed on. Steep ascent but unevenful day and relatively easy. Highest point was 1460m. Gite Detape was good, large french party in, but none walking GR10. Room to myself.
Wednesday 23rd June Bareges to Chalet Hotel de L'Oule
A 14 miler and a bit fraught. easy walking for some time but the highest col on the route to tackle, col de Madamete at 2509m. Needless to say eventually it got to be a gruelling climb and I started to fall behind time. there was a fair bit of snow on the top but the views were magnificent (same old same old really, lots of snow covered even bigger mountains!). getting down the other side was tricky, up to my thighs in snow at one point. On my back in snow at another and difficulty righting myself again, so I got off thesnow onto an area of boulders. Big mistake, they were the size of houses and I quickly got stuck in them. Retraced my steps and went down the snow to a lakeside. fairly straightforward after that but getting late and still several hours to my refuge, I eventually turned up at 7.30, 11 hours after starting, utterly exhausted! Only 2 others at the refuge and they walked off together next morning.
Thursday 24th June l'Oule to Vielle Aure
Reasonable day with some nice walking over the col de Portet 2215m, another high one but no probs this time. long descent through the usual woodland to the village which was nice and sleepy. I camped here and cooked a meal.
Friday 25th June Vielle Aure to Germ
OK it wasn't catching!! Again a straightforward walk although very hot. I was late away as I overslept. Came down another interminable hill to the village of Loudenville, got some more Euro's and pressed onto the Gite D'Etape at Germ, it boasted a swimming pool. Trouble is it was one and a half hours of very steep uphill. place was quite busy with a group doing Thai Chi. Only a couple of walkers, a swiss couple and 2 young swiss girls going in the opposite direction. I waited t62 years to meet a swiss girl and 3 came along at once!!! I never used the pool. food wasn't great but lots of it.
Saturday 26th June Germ to Lac D'Oo
Away bright and early before 8 after having to find and get breakfast. I left with the swiss couple but quickly drew ahead of them. another high col to pass 2131m. lost the trail for a while at the start of the ascent but quickly picked it up again. Relentlessly up, over the col d'Esquierry. Then a long descent and a turn up the valley to Lac D'oo. Reached up a mule track a trip which took 1 1/4 hours. It started to thunder and rain. arrived at the small refuge and had an orange juice. they gave me my own room again. Other residents were two families, day trip walkers. we passed a pleasent evening. The owner booked me a hotel in Bagneres de Luchon.
Sunday 27th June Lac D'Oo to Luchon
An early, before 8 start. The lake is in a large depression and I had to climb out of it. rain was forecast for the pm. I made good time and got over the first col 2275m ok. The descent from that one was horendous and very steep. Made me realise I ought to not do it on my own. It started to rain and hail heavily before the next col and on reaching the summit was faced with snow! My heart sank, soakinfg wet and weary. However it was not a lot and the following descent was easy. The sky blackened however an an Orage threatened (thats a major thunderstorm). I met up with some french ramblers and went down to Bagneres with them and booked into my hotel, guided by Michael. I had decided to stop and phoned Henry. He informed me he was coming out to join me so new plans!!!
This place is closing now. More next time.