Ascent: 200 metres (Cum: 13400 metres)
Time taken: 5.0 hrs including 0.8 hrs stops (Cum: 100.5 hrs including 19.5 hrs stops)
Weather: sunny and very hot
After rising at 7, I finally departed from the idyllic spot at Ibón Azul Alto at about 9. With great reluctance. I'd watched the evening turn to dusk and the sun then the alpenglow slowly fade from distant peaks to the east. Later, when the moon had shifted beyond the horizon, I savoured the deep black of a starry night unencumbered with light pollution.
Eventually, after a long sleep in the cool of the mountain meadow, I woke to the first signs of dawn, eventually leading to the slow undrawing of the shadow to reveal our home for the night in all the glory of the new day.
I didn't need to move from my bed to witness the calm waters, the glistening snow and the solid reflections.
Three others had arrived late last night, and others passed on their way up to the Cuello. It was all quite jolly.
The walk down to Baños de Panticosa started over rock scenery typical of the Central Pyrenees and concluded down a deep V-shaped valley.
I found excuses to stop whenever possible. There are lots of photos of flowers to sift through. Primroses feature strongly. Yellow Wood Violet and Alpenrose proved less photogenic.
At some point (or even last night) I put my sunglasses down and moved on.
Baños de Panticosa was reached after a very leisurely three hours. It's a landmark on my GR11 crossing as it's the point where I veer off to the village of Panticosa, some 7 km down the valley, included in today's statistics.
After a welcome cold Pepsi outside Refugio Casa de Piedra, I strolled off down the road to Panticosa, eschewing the offer of a lift from Vincent and Maria as I wanted to be able to brag about having walked all the way to Hotel Sabocos from the Atlantic.
Pride comes before a fall, or so I'm told. Having lectured myself on how now on the tarmac road to Panticosa a fall was most likely, I proceeded to trip over my own feet and spreadeagle myself headlong on that same tarmac.
So I arrived bleeding at Collett's base in the Pyrenees. I'm three days early, so I have six nights here. GR11 will have to wait, but I've now walked 13 of the 45 stages, so there are plenty more to go. Just bear with me for a few days while I chat to the amazing screeching swifts of the Sabocos Hotel.
Today's pictures show the early morning view from my tent, rock scenery on the descent, and my home for the next few days.
Next Day - Day 15
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