Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Day 52

 
Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
 
Day 52 - Wednesday 15 September 2004 - Stage 43

Postcard Summary (on yesterday's card)
Hotel Residence Jeanne D’Arc to Las Illas
Long walk through Forests, partly in cloud – 8.7 hours, 14 km, 1400m ascent
After a dry start, more rain today, but over a ridge, the first sight of the Mediterranean!  Having not had a navigation error for a while, we had one today – in the cloud we struggled to find the summit of Roc de France – succeeded eventually!  But no views!  Nice route down, overlooking the sea, to Las Illas, a hamlet with a homely gite, which we shared with Vincent and Ann again, and a good restaurant with nice steak, and chocolate gateau!
 
Diary Entry (by Sue)
An ascent of Roc de Frausa Oriental (1450 metres) and our last excursion into Spain.
 
It was a comfortable, if warm and very wet night in Amelie (rather relieved not to be camping). A nice breakfast was laid out in the Salon de Telévision and we left at 8.30, where the market was set up outside.
 
It was dry to start and the path rose straight from the town centre. The steepest part was closest to town, similar to yesterday. Very humid and sweaty until we got higher. These hills are almost entirely wooded, so only occasional views can be seen, including a good one of Amelie and the Canigou massif.

 
 
Besides the trees, all we see is the forbidding farmhouse of Can Felix, deep in woods and with dire warnings not to get too close in both guide books, a tumble-down sheep farm, and a col. Mountain mix sustained us for the morning, which turned out to be long. After leaving GR10, the cloud came in, swirling around the trees.
 
 
When the path started to descend steeply, instead of climbing to the summit, we became a bit suspicious - it was incorrect and lost us 15 to 20 minutes. However, the error had been made earlier, by missing a sign to the left, so we wandered around in the cloud amongst rocks, with the occasional glimpse of the view, before backtracking.
 
Lunch was eaten hurriedly in the cloud around 2 pm, when hunger was starting to make me irritable. A brew went down particularly well. Finally, the summit was located, but no views, sadly. During the climb, earlier, the path rose to a ridge where we had our first view of the sea, with 2½ days to go. It was a welcome sight!
 
 
The descent to the hamlet of Las Illas was good, with soft ground down a ridge in beech forest, then a narrow path, and finally track and more path. The weather improved, with a cool breeze (hardly a warm Mediterranean one!) and views of hills before the sea. We came across our first border stone for weeks (number 557!) as we crossed back into France.
 
 
Looking down to Las Illas
 
Las Illas has a really nice gîte for 16 people. Arrived at about 5.30. Alone until 6.30, when Vincent and Ann arrive. We have a bowl of tea and showers. Outside, the weather has deteriorated again and rain is teeming down. After 7, we have to run the short distance up the road to the Hostel de Trabucayres to avoid a soaking. Here, a nice meal of salad, steak and excellent chocolate gateau, enjoyed in the company of Vincent and Ann. They tell us about the boat they are doing up to live in - a Dutch Chalk or barge. There is only one other couple in the restaurant. The rain has stopped when we return for bed around 9.30 pm.
 
Stats and route (Viewranger):
17.5 km, 1250 metres ascent, 8.7 hours
 
 

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