Ascent: 1000 metres (Cum: 14400 metres)
Time taken: 8.6 hrs including 1.3 hrs stops (Cum: 109.1 hrs including 20.8 hrs stops)
Weather: sunny and very hot
Another good breakfast at Hotel Sabocos set Harry and me up for a good day on GR11.
We drove up to Baños de Panticosa and recommenced my GR11 traverse with just day sacks. This made the superbly graded 900 metre ascent to Cuello de Brazato past a very depleted reservoir, Ibón dero Brazato, less than taxing despite the noises coming from a distant pipe that sounded as if someone was trying to cut it into pieces using a powerful saw.
On the 2566 metre col, about 30 children from San Sebastian were enjoying a backpacking trip from Panticosa. Harry was delighted to be in this wonderful spot. He sent an enthusiastic message to a good friend who sadly suffers from cerebral palsy.
Here but for the grace of ...
Boulderfields featured strongly in the descent to the Ara valley, together with stupendous views towards Vignemale.
The nice people at Sabocos Hotel had provided an excellent lunch. We ate it shortly before meeting Sue, who had driven round via Torla.
A knee deep crossing of the Ara united our threesome for the fairly windy three hour walk down to the medieval bridge at San Nicolás de Bujaruelo, where Sue enjoyed a cold dip in the river before driving 3 km back along the dirt road to pick up Harry and me. We'd continued that distance into the next stage of GR11 along a lovely undulating riverside path past a few pill box like 'caves' through shady woodland - shade that was most welcome on another day of temperatures in the 30's Centigrade.
The day also featured frequent marmots, the debris caused by unseen wild boar, and the usual proliferation of flowers - notably an ascent through Alpenrose and orchids, meadows of deep blue Irises, and hillsides tinted bright yellow with broom.
There were plenty of people about in the Ara canyon, and whilst I didn't spot any GR11 walkers, Sue may have met one or two as she walked up the valley from 1400 to 2000 metres to join us.
Welcome beers after the hour long drive back to Hotel Sabocos were as necessary as ever. As on all Collett's holidays, the staff have a day off on Wednesdays, so we went with the Irish contingent (Harry and Ann) and Stephen from Melbourne, for a lavish spread at the restaurant with two cows outside.
A full day, so a brief report. Thanks also for all your comments.
The morning view back down to Baños de Panticosa and its western ramparts
Backpacking children with Vignemale
Harry and me in the Ara valley
Next Day - Day 18
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