Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Day 19

Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 19 - Friday 13 August 2004 - Stage 16

Postcard Summary 
Crowded but friendly campsite to Lac des Oulettes d’Estom Soubiran
Superb 1500 metre ascent of Valley du Lutour – 7.5 hours, 13 km, 1500m ascent

Here, beside the lake with the long name, it’s a gorgeous evening.  We are alone, miles from anywhere, with only my slightly sulphuric farts for entertainment.  We’ve had watercress soup, salmon and pasta with a mushroom sauce, and lots of mint tea.  The fish are jumping in the lake up here at 2360m, and the swifts are hoovering up the insects.  We spent the whole day climbing out of Cauterets, including a mid-afternoon stop beside a beautiful lake with a Refuge which marked the end of the ‘day walk’ zone.  We enjoyed our favourite lunch today – goats cheese and tomato on fresh bread.  It’s chilly now, and as it’s after 9pm, time to turn in.

Diary Entry (by Martin)
Not an unlucky day! We discovered that camping in the proximity of GR10ers doesn't stimulate an early start! I stifled both our alarms and we slept in until about 8 am. First up amongst the backpackers, yogurt and bananas for breakfast, socializing and packing, a phone call to Julie, whose texting skills lack the ability to actually 'send' her replies to our earlier messages, packing away and sending off used maps, lending one to Brett and Freddie, phone call to Sue's mum, etc etc - and away we went at 10 am.
We liked Cauterets, with its Victorian thermal springs, spa resort atmosphere. And so we continued our trek, on the belvedere path to the east of Cauterets, with fine views of the town through the trees.
People zoomed past with day sacs. We ambled on, secure in the knowledge that we don't need to come down today. The shady woods gave way to sunny glades with the rush of streams nearby as we passed above la Raillère and beyond.
12 to 12:30 - hot chocolate at La Fruitière - hotel/restaurant/water available, etc. There's a car park here, so after this we saw many day walkers, babies, dogs, etc, out for a stroll up to the beautiful Lac d'Estom in this picture postcard - Lutour Valley - area.
We lunched in an idyllic spot at 1485 metres below a waterfall. Baguette, goats cheese, tomatoes, delicious. The sun beat down on our sun tan creamed bodies, but up ahead the upper slopes of some of the mountain were shrouded in cloud, but summits were clear.
Lac d'Estom was a lovely tranquil spot despite lots of people dotted about. We lingered here for 40 minutes and chatted to two lads from Brittany we had seen at Wallon. They are going down, but worry about getting to Lourdes due to a papal visit. We try to warn Julie but the mobile has no reception.
Beyond Estom there are very few people and we are back with the red and white paint and an indistinct path. Proper HRP country. We meet people coming down: "Bon courage - steep and difficile - there is an easier way". The easier way isn't marked on our old map, so we continue up steeply to the second high lake - Lac des Oulettes d'Estom Soubiran. A bit of scrambling but ok. So we've risen from 900 to 2360 metres in the day. Very leisurely. No wind, swifts hoovering the insects, and a sandpiper or dotterel pair going "tweeweewee". Mint tea precedes a fine pasta and soup (not in that order) at this fine spot in the sun, where we cook and laze outside until the sun goes down at 8.30 and diary/ postcard chores follow.
Stats and route (Viewranger):
14 km, 1550 metres ascent, 7.5 hours

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