Pyrenees Trip Report - day 7

Up fairly early, only to burn a hole in my trews by setting the stove down somewhere unstable - its fairly near the essentials, so a cautionary lesson! I think something homemade is in order to make the whitebox a more stable proposition.

Here's the Pic in the morning, once we get up the first hundred metres or so.



Its an exciting, almost tropical walk up, the cloud is moving fast, and every second the scene changes.

 
We feel energised after a second breakfast of chocolate and rye bread.  A beautiful lake, a magnificent boulder field that's a joy to tackle, up to an incredible col, we sit and savour this for a good while.


On our way down to Refuge Pombie, T's knee starts to give her trouble.  Our descent is not helped by the enormous, noisy Spanish group about 40 strong who are being led by the nose over the col and into the refuge - we feel like we are being chased down!  I call a halt and let them pass, willing them to shut up with little success.

 
  el respeto de las montañas!
 
This kind of large scale tourism is totally unsustainable, in my view - I'm all for access, but not like this.  They are here for themselves, not to bear witness - they just aren't quiet enough to let any of the outside in.  If it's a defence mechanism, it's one I'm seeing everywhere - are people unconsciously bewildered and frightened by the scale of the landscape, do they shut this out with gadgets and chatter?   Either way, education is essential, before we end up destroying it all.  The Pyrenees is a garden of Eden, but its not our garden.


We buy coffee, a can of beer and some long - life bread at the refuge, and take a long lunch, dozily listening to a mother sing nursery rhymes and staring at the tops, letting T's leg rest.  I harbour an unspoken desire to climb the Pic, but all things considered that will have to wait for another time - I don't mind too much, its a lovely day and the walk up was amazing.  

We then descend a long path past horses, bathe our feet in the stream, down to a road (which is a shock), but again leaving the crowds behind.   I am dwelling on a best man speech I need to write, for some reason...the brain is idling, that's a good sign!

 
We get down to the valley above Fabreges, and meet late walkers looking strafed coming the other way - they probably won't make their meal at Pombie now.

 
We're also pretty beat, and the haul through the woods is the last straw.  Luckily my estimate of an hour is way over and we emerge after only 40 minutes.  Its really tricky finding a pitch, the ground above the woods looks sort of OK on the map but we have to cross the river to find a level patch not covered in rocks and tussock.  Boots and socks off, its icy cold.

Someone has been before - there's an old fire ring, so we make a tiny blaze and cheer ourselves up with pasta and that shared beer - it doesn't take much if you've been walking all day!