Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wednesday 31 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 47 - Stages 34 to 37 variant (3) - El Serrat to beside Rio Manegor below Port d'Ingles (2000 metres)

Distance: 19 km (Cum: 698 km)     

Ascent: 1780 metres (Cum: 40,620 metres)
                     
Time taken: 9.0 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops                                     

Weather: perfect summer's day, if a bit hot

It was great to hear from Simon Harper yesterday. Well done to him for finishing the HRP when so many others have been unable to do so. On his own as well. Respect. I'm sure that people like Humphrey, David and Alistair (not to mention Chantal) will agree. 

I decided to 'fuel up' with a hotel breakfast this morning - there are no shops here (I knew that, hence setting off with several days' food on Monday) - so that made for another late start on a hot day. But at least El Serrat is at 1500 metres, so there was less than usual woodland ascent to enjoy (endure?) before striking out over open ground. 

I soon passed the lone lady backpacker I'd seen a couple of days ago.  She is Natalie, from Brittany, walking the HRP over three summers in three week stretches. This is her final stretch - Vicdessos to Banyuls. I'm unlikely to see her again because I'll  probably be ahead of her when I next encounter the HRP. 

Today was a classic mountain day, crossing two separate ridges, each at around 2600 metres. I really felt I was making progress across the landscape, though the extensive mountain views both east and west show no sign of abating. 

The first landmark passed after leaving El Serrat was Sorteny Refuge. I recall a rather strange, ill equipped place, but now it's being made into a full service refuge. A big project. 

The flowers were great today. A series of 'occasional flowers' could result from today's sightings. I also saw  a slow worm, eagles, and a few shy marmots. 

There was lots of Thrift up at today's first col - la Collada deis Meners. It's flanked by two climbable 2912 metre peaks. I'd considered going up the more accessible of the two, but decided that the panorama from the col was more than good enough for today. 

The top picture shows the view from there back towards El Serrat and yesterday's hills.

A fine belvedere then led to an unmanned hut called Jan, where a couple seemed to be in residence. 

Today was spent entirely on the HRP path, which has excellent red and yellow waymarks hereabouts. I don't remember them from my previous visits, and the route from Jan has changed. It now contours (if a stiff 400 metre ascent to the second 2600 metre pass of the day can be described as 'contouring') round to another cabane - Cabane Sorda. This meant my planned camping spot by the Clot lakes was by-passed. I was tempted to go down there, but the area seemed to be full of horses. 

After seeing just a handful of people all day, I found hordes of children at Sorda, either staying in the cabin or camping. I hurried past.

By now I was missing my afternoon tea and fancied stopping, but the path had switched to a hillside with no water. There seemed to be little choice - camp with horses, or without water.

I was feeling fine so just continued, in the knowledge that Simon had suggested a good spot a bit further on. Then, just before 6pm, the head of this valley appeared, with flat ground, no horses, and lots of springs. Perfect. The tent was up, and a brew on, in no time at all. 

The view from my front door isn't to be sniffed at either. See lower picture. 

Oh, and who says the HRP is flat compared with GR10?  

It's back to GR10 tomorrow, probably by a roundabout route, as the direct route over Port d'Ingles looks a bit too simple. 

No signal here so I've no idea when this will 'send'.  A couple of comments from Nightbird did get through, though, reminding me to use my own photos, not Sue's, when entering photo competitions! 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

3 comments:

David Lintern said...

well done Simon. And Martin, of course ;) I found El Serrat a bit surreal. It's where they grow the astroturf!!

Humphrey said...

A mighty traverse, and a joy to read your daily accounts, filled with good humour! I set out on my minor tromp on August 20 - simply a two week bagatelle and nothing compared to your adventure! Peace to you, my brother and good fortune on the journey. Loving the Beer-o`clock, oh yea . . .

Phreerunner said...

David - it must have taken me a good half hour and 150 metres of ascent to get out of El Serrat! But they were very friendly there, and the visit served a purpose. As for astroturf, I would be less surprised to see it 'growing' in Pierre's fibreglass factory.

Humphrey, good to hear from you again, and very best wishes for your own little sortie. I think I read that you were going to take the maps on your S3. I'm using that phone, and it's great (spare batteries recommended), but as with many such gadgets the screen can be difficult to view in bright sunlight. That doesn't really matter to me but could be a problem for map reading. I suppose one of those old darkroom hoods could be the answer, though the thought of watching you use it has made me LOL!
Have a great time anyway.