All my dreams have come true…..well, except for that one where there were murderers using art as bait and the tunnel through the hill we had to climb this morning. But quite a few of the others have.
We started at our camp at 1900m this morning and slogged up to 2100mish before ending at around 1400m.
Most of this was done in baking hot sunshine as it appears that France has decided to have another heatwave. I didn’t really notice it until we got down to the town of Gourotte at about one o’clock….ok, this is getting messy. Back to the top.
After making the pass we began a very long descent along a ridge and then down to Lake Anglais. I was going to have a swim there but at the head of the lake were some old mines and tailings. Damned if I would trust the water. Depending on the type of mine it may have had traces of arsenic and such in it.
The descent continued down a long valley to end at Gourotte which was not going to be the end of our day but it was so hot. I have bought a bottle of wine as backup and we have booked into a cheap hotel and showered. All I really need now is a washing machine.
(As an addition to this. The hotel was called Hôtel Restaurant de l’Amoulat and it is very much recommended. We ate there that evening as we were told it had the best food in Gourette. I don’t know if that is true (I didn’t eat everywhere) but it was definitely very very good food.)
In the morning we set out for the steep, arduous, seemingly endless climb over Pic d’Anglas at nearly 2500 meters. And at the top of its long summit we enjoyed spectacular views northward beyond the mountains and toward the plains. It was our last big climb in the high Pyrenees. From there, the rest of the day was a descent – a descent to a stone emergency hut, to a glacial lake next to iron and silver/quartz mines active in the 1880s, and finally into the ski resort village of Gourette. We had lunch at the family run Cafe Igloo. How nice to have a salad! T had beer, bought cigarettes and was making come true his binge fantasy. I in the meanwhile was anxious for all the work and personal emails that suddenly flooded in – being connected is overrated – and after lunch popped over to the tourist information to write a few emails. It was now early afternoon and the « Canicule » or heat wave that is smothering France was fully upon us, and under us, steaming up from the tar sealed roads.
Tourist information recommended Hotel Amulat, with its demi-pension, assuring us that it was the best meal in town.
There were no regrets about our decision to stop here. Showered, shaven and sipping his basque beer and smoking lucky strikes, T was as happy as a Pyrenees sheep dog with cheese and sausage rinds. The 3 course dinner was delicious and replete with nasturtium flowers. And so ended our lovely half rest day.