Pyrenees High Route section hike: Day 12

He says

At some point I should try and figure out why 70% of my mornings begin with a climb. Possibly because of water although in this case Angelynn pointed out that they always steer the GR routes through the towns. Worth it for last night’s dinner and wine.

This morning’s climb was also of mention because of the sheer number of horse flies biting us on the way up. Mostly Angelynn actually. According to her pregnant women have more blood and produce more CO2.

At the top there was something that was supposed to resemble a tortoise. I was a little tired though from regaining yesterday’s lost height so I couldn’t really tell if it did or not.

After a shortish descent we looked at the road circling the valley at the same height and our path, which dropped down to the stream at the bottom before crossing the road again,  and took the road. Hadn’t really counted on the tunnels though.

At the top of the pass there was a man emptying a lake as it had got to high. He also confirmed our use of aqua tabs as a good idea saying that because of the livestock all the water should be treated as contaminated in summer.

A short while later we neared a group of people standing on a hill with telescopes. I thought they must be waiting for an astronomical event but later on we found that they were ornithologists waiting for a type of migrating bird to pass through the valley. With the heat getting up I had visions of cooked and dehydrated birds crashing at the ornithologists feet as they wept in despair.

On the other side of the road was a bar where we went for lunch. To reiterate how hot it was, sheep were trying to hide in the shadow of or is some cases under cars.

The after lunch walk was long. We took the wrong path by taking the right path, confused ourselves and our only saving grace was that we picked up someone’s instructions for the trail. Turned out to be some scouts migrating to Lourdes.

We are now camped in a pine forest less than a day from Lourdes. Soon this will all be over. Bugger.

She says

Despite our best efforts to head off the canicule, we didn’t leave Hotel Amulat until nearly nine, after a hearty breakfast that surpassed the advertised « continental ». The horseflies were out with avvengeance as we made the slow 500 meter ascent out of Gourette toward the tortue- a series of bizarre rock formations, including its namesake a tortoise head. From there the trail dropped into Col Sourot- a leg on the Tour de France. And indeed, the roads there were more congested with tightly clad bums zipping past on neon colored bicycles than cars, motorcycles or camper vans. At col de sourot we left the GR10 and picked up the GR101, which led  to Lourdes. The afternoon was hot, and even the sheep cowered underneath the parked cars in search of shelter from the sun. Our trail was dehydrated and dusty. But we, together with dozens of groups of scouts, trudged on like pilgrims to Lourdes. We shall arrive tomorrow Inshallah. For tonight our camping spot was hard won- an old forest road in the pines. It will do. The real victory is that we shall sleep with the tent’s fly sheet only half fixed. T’s compromise – despite the canicule, he worries about rain. Baby steps. Perhaps we shall see the stars. 

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