Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Saturday 25 July 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 41 - Setcases (Hostal Restaurant Ter) to Beget (Hostal el Forn)

 
 
 
 
 
Distance: 22 km (Cum: 697 km)

Ascent: 1100 metres (Cum: 39450 metres)

Time taken: 7.1 hrs including 0.7 hrs stops (Cum: 286.1 hrs including 56.7 hrs stops)

Weather: the usual blue sky start but very soon clouding over to remain cloudy all day, foggy higher up.

Well, last night's meal was fine - soup, sausage and omelette with the local 'bread rubbed with tomato' specialty, and flan. We were the sole diners in a restaurant for over 100 covers. A stroll around town confirmed that we should never again accept a recommendation from a German named Martin. (Sorry Martin!)

The matron looked a bit shocked when we appeared as arranged at 8 am for breakfast. Anyway she disappeared for some time and eventually came back with a big tray of toast, butter and jams.

Then there was the tearful (well...) farewell to Tobi, who was heading off to Barcelona. I enjoyed our week on the trail together and I hope that after this little interlude he's successful in moving his life forward. He's certainly grasped the basics of backpacking and I'd be more than happy for him to come along on any of our future trips. We will keep in touch.

So it was nearly nine o'clock by the time I set off up the path to Mollo. It was already clouding over. Today was probably the first time since Day 5 that I haven't applied sun tan cream.

The path climbed steeply through beech and birch woods. It was relatively cool and fly free, though I can't be noticing the biting insects, having woken at Núria to discover I was covered in bites. Anyway, for the first time since Benasque my first aid kit stayed intact this morning, so I must be just about back to normal.

700 metres was gained by a mixture of grassy 'rides' and steep 'thrutches'. Surprised Jays flew out of the undergrowth.

Yesterday's summits offered an occasional glimpse, poking out of mist laden hillsides. I was moving quite fast, spurred on by the cool breeze and the forecast of rain. The height was gained, the views were observed (a bit Welsh) and I descended into the hot cloud that lay above Mollo. That'll be steam then.

The lovely contouring path was empty apart from the tweets of the pipits and the gentle rush of the wind. Hazy woodland views lacked the jaw dropping element that would have made me pause more often on the gentle descent to an excellent picnic bench and water point in the pleasant town of Mollo.

In fact the path passed through an area of cloud reminiscent of the stuff I've encountered twice en route to Canigou.

I could have enjoyed a restaurant meal, but I've been picking up random bits of food since Encamp and it was about time I made inroads into what by now was a big bag weighing nearly three kilos!

The afternoon was spent leaving Mollo via what appeared to be a stream bed, then rising through deciduous woodland to an open area with views towards mist laden forested hills. 

A text message from Markus maintained my contact with the outside world - not long now, Markus, I hope you are as excited as I am. 

Beyond a small cave the newly waymarked path wound its way through some Very Dark Woods to the Beget gorge. It was slow going on the narrow, sometimes slippery sometimes precipitous sometimes both path that eventually led me at 4 pm into the pretty village dominated by its church. Whilst the views had been minimal, the last two hours of walking had been along wonderful ancient paths, crossing the gorge by way of ivy clad single arch bridges that look as if they have been there for ever. Brilliant.

Beget has several hostelries, but at Humphrey's instigation Sue had booked me into Hostal el Forn. I crashed out for a while with a coke in front of the Alp d'Huez stage of the Tour de France. I wondered whether Susan and Roy would be watching as they are somewhere nearby in the Vanoise.

I got the last available room (good thinking HMP3). It's a good one. I'll report on the meal next time, as the wifi doesn't quite extend to the room and I won't be able to access it tomorrow as I'll be having a picnic breakfast in the room and leaving before the Hostal breakfast time of 8.30.

But I don't expect to go hungry!

Last night I finally finished The Invisible Guardian, surprising myself by guessing the identity of the culprit fairly early on. It was an excellent read, suggested by Humphrey, and I notice that there are two follow up novels and the prospect of a film adaptation by the producer of Stieg Larrson's Millennium Trilogy.

What to read next?

Today's pictures:
Setcases - Hostal Ter is on the far right
The water point at Mollo
The 'river bed' path out of Mollo
There were vast amounts of these berries on the descent to Beget, I wonder what they are?
Beget, from below Hostal el Forn 

Next Day - Day 42

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11 comments:

Louise said...

I think I'd be tempted to introduce those berries to some gin...

Phreerunner said...

I thought so Louise. Could be a powerful potion!

Louise said...

Yummy, in fact!

Humphrey Weightman said...

Bernard Minier The Frozen Dead Set around Lac d'Oo and a thinly disguised Bagnéres-de-Luchon in winter. Is already on yr Kindle app!

Nightbird said...

We are a bit Welsh today! We have also encountered some thrutches on the coastal path in Anglesey. Sue reckons your next read should be her email to you!

Alan Sloman said...

"The lovely contouring path was empty apart from the tweets of the pipits and the gentle rush of the wind."

Quite lovely.
:-)

Sir Hugh said...

Still following. You are brightening my breakfast each morning. I have plans afoot to visit France shortly. Flights booked.

Phreerunner said...

Yes HMP3 I know, I'm just overwhelmed with unread books on the Kindle. I think I need a few days chilling in Argeles and a long train journey!

Phreerunner said...

No email, but quite a few thrutches here today...

Phreerunner said...

Thank you - it was just like that though...

Phreerunner said...

Great stuff, this series of postings will soon end, so Conrad's French Frolics should be a popular read...