Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Friday, 19 July 2013

Thursday 18 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 34 - Stage 25 (part) - Fos to Étang d'Uls

Distance: 15 km (Cum: 493 km)     

Ascent: 1400 metres (Cum: 27,950 metres)
                     
Time taken: 5.25 hrs including 0.75 hrs stops                                     

Weather: sunny at first, clouding over by 1pm, raining by 3pm

We should have known better than to try St-Béat yesterday.  I wanted to give them some business after their troubles, but they were still clearing up, and with no food available we made the decision to go up to Fos. 

The whole valley has been inundated with a thick layer of mud - I'd guess about 8 inches. As Fos is a bit higher it hasn't been so badly affected. But Philippe had spent the last three weeks shovelling mud when he should have been getting his accommodation ready for guests. We used it anyway. Thanks Philippe. 

Thanks also to Pierre and Yolaine, who must think we are stalking them. It was helpful to have their assistance with the gite booking yesterday, and a pleasure to have their company last night. 

We breakfasted with them and set off up the GR10 path around 8.30am, half an hour after they had left. We'd waited for fresh bread to be delivered for our 'picnic' provisions. Pierre and Yolaine had got food last night from the small shop that the Cicerone website said was closed.  That was our reason for going to St-Béat, whose shops are currently submerged in mud.

It was something of a surprise to come across Pierre and Yolaine fairly soon after we'd set off. They are pictured with Graham, explaining how both they and a couple of Dutch lads had taken a wrong turn and found themselves on an alternative GR10 path back to Fos.

The route spent a gentle 8km or so on tarmac before heading up steeply into trees. A fine track all the way - an old mining/mule track I'd guess. 

We passed and re-passed both Pierre and Yolaine and the Dutch pair, who introduced themselves as Matthew and Jonathan. They are backpacking GR10 from Luchon to Aulus-les-Bains, a nine day trip, so we may see them again. 

Incidentally, Roland and Marie apparently decided to omit a section of the route after needing to visit Lourdes for 'repairs'.  So they are now a few days ahead.

There was a slightly iffy stream crossing under a huge bank of snow. We all got across that fine, but Jonathan seemed to have executed a nose dive into some thick mud the other side when we wandered past.

We arrived at our planned camping place - Cabane d'Uls - shortly before 1pm, which was about when the rain was due to arrive. I insisted on eating my lunch. Graham wanted to wait until after we'd set up camp, so waited patiently for me to finish. 

We then decided to divert from the GR10 path and head for a further half hour or so to this small lake, Étang d'Uls. On the way we passed Pierre and Yolaine. "Just like Scotland" they correctly observed. Our campsite is shown, shortly before the rain arrived, and indeed it could be an image from the TGO Challenge! 

It's a perfect spot, with no animals and no troublesome insects. Perhaps the bears have seen off all the other animals. ..

There's no phone signal, so if this posting does transmit you'll know we have survived the bear threat for at least tonight. 

Having got the tents up by 2pm we've been able to enjoy an indulgently lazy afternoon and evening, rather confined to barracks due to the rain. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

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