Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Day 11

 
Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
 
Day 11 - Thursday 5 August 2004 - Rest Day in La Pierre-St-Martin
 
Postcard Summary
La Pierre-St-Martin
Well earned rest day in nice refuge
Today’s rest is well earned after over 9 days’ walking.  Shame it’s still not hot and sunny!
 
 
Diary Entry (by Martin)
We were overjoyed this morning, after a good night's sleep, no snorers, and tea and toast and jam for breakfast, when Jean produced two CV270 Gaz canisters. This facilitates onward progress without having to hitch 20km to another town.
 
We are the only people staying on, and after (pictured above) waving goodbye to our new found friends [jonathan@jonathanhunt.org; http://jonathanhunt.org] who had a nice trailer load of gear, we did shopping for 2 to 3 days. We then found a laundry to wash all clothes, and (that took all morning) returned to Refuge Jeandel at 1670 metres for a bread, cheese, tomatoes and yoghurt lunch.
 
Just as well we got the gas. Shop supplies poor but adequate. Turns into a nice day, after a cool start (I was wearing fleece - hot - and swimming trunks - cool - as the only items not needing a wash!) and the sunny afternoon gave good views of Pic d'Anie, 2504 metres, which Didier had been encouraging us to climb today.
 
It was a good day for walking, but we need the rest. Caught up with this diary and texts to the UK, which don't seem to be being acted upon as yet. Latest news is that Kate has delegated web updating to Mike. We'll see! Kate has all the daily messages.
 
So we're about 4 hours behind schedule after 10 days, and can catch up tomorrow given an early start and decent weather. We are both fit, apart from Sue's shoe problems - painful boots and disintegrating trainers. We have in fact both worn trainers more than boots so far.
 
Tent etc all dried outside the refuge this afternoon.
 


To Date: 
  • lovely walks through wooded, rolling Basque Country, but here we enter Bearn and the limestone 'karst' landscape, so the scenery changes dramatically to rock;  
  • hard to find water en route - should become easier; 
  • very few other HRP people going our way, but some going the other way, and many on GR10.  
  • Sue - 'peut-être' comment still prevails re our arrival at Banyuls. Hopefully that will change if her feet, knee, shoulder, etc problems can be resolved. 
Six English people turn up latish - makes for another convivial evening.
 


2 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

I reckon you will have read my account of the day I walked to Piere St Martin but as it was perhaps the most memorable day on the whole of my GR10 I can't resist showing the lengthy journal entry:

Saturday 21st June
Day 10
Ste.-Engrâce to
Arêtte-la Pierre-St.Martin
Ascent 1185m - Descent 165m - 12.3 km
From Ste.-Engrâce my route entered gloomy woods following an ascending limestone gorge until there seemed to be no way out, but a steep path up the left hand wall provided a dramatic exit onto a heavily forested, steep hillside. After an hour from the gîte I heard panting behind and looking back saw Blair and his mate, the two dogs from the gîte. I tried to send them back, but they were just laughing at me and would have none of it. I had the phone number of the gîte, but there was no signal, so on I went.
An hour later I cleared the forest onto open hillside, “piste” on the map, despite lack of snow. Further on I came to a small cabane where some young lads and two older shepherds and their wives were working. I explained the dog problem and we tried the mobile again and it worked, so one of the shepherds spoke to the people at Ste.-Engrâce, It was decided that these people would look after the dogs until the owners could come to collect them – there was a roadhead nearby. The dogs were put in the back of the shepherd’s van and I sweated on up the rough zigzag track to the road and col. How the shepherds had managed to bring their van down this road I don’t know, but I would have shied at it with a Land Rover.
I pressed on to arrive at the devastating sight of Arêtte-la Pierre-St.-Martin. This is a ghastly modern, insensitive ski complex with high rise buildings and bulldozed roads looking like an abandoned moon station. The wilful desecration of this region is magnified by the contrasting beauty of two splendid adjacent mountains - Pic d’Anie and Pic Soum Couy.
The refuge was the first building of the complex perched on a rock balcony overlooking the mess.
Shortly after arriving, the guardian said there was a phone call for me from Ste. Engrâce. I was asked to detail where I had left the dogs. With the help of the guardian I conveyed this information. It seemed that they had not been able to locate the dogs, but I couldn’t grasp the finer details.
Later the young girl from Ste.-Engrâce turned up by car, and again asked me for details. I was able to show her the map which had the shepherd’s cabane marked on it; she was demonstrably upset and on the verge of tears, and walked off to her car with shoulders slumped. Although I didn’t believe this incident had been my fault I couldn’t help feeling bad about it.
By this time everybody in the refuge was familiar with the story of the dogs.
The two French guys, then the two Scots from St.-Engrâce arrived, and I had also been chatting to a New Zealander and his wife. This last couple were in their sixties, and the man, who looked a bit like Sean Connery, told me he participated in the equivalent of The Karrimore in New Zealand. These are competitive events involving mountain walking, canoeing, bike riding and possibly finishing off with a marathon. They said they were trekking through the Pyrenees, and they were carrying ridiculously heavy rucksacks, 26 kgs. he said, including enough food for two weeks! I later heard that they had run out of cash, expecting to get some from a cash machine in this location, but the complex was not operational in the summer. This guy told me he intended to get up early in the morning to climb Pic d’Anie which is a six hour round trip, and asked me if I would like to join him, but something told me it would be wise to decline.
In the midst of the meal the guardian entered and announced to everybody that she had heard by phone “Les chiens sont rétrouvés” !

Phreerunner said...

Very good, Conrad, I'm delighted to see that you are enjoying this series of postings. Your route is described in Day 13 of our GR10 trip in 2013 - not quite as eventful as your day, but starting with a taxi ride from a Dakar Rally veteran:
https://phreerunner.blogspot.com/2013/06/thursday-27-june-2013-pyrenees-gr10-day.html