Pyrenees Trip Report - day 9

After another great feed at the refuge in the morning, we're off again by 8.45.  We decide on the Spanish variante in order to save time over to Respumoso, and to make a morning climb of Grande Fache the following day a possibility.

Up and over the Col and steeply down, to a series of lakes the colour of bleached teal, with fish of all sizes, leading to a path cut into the mountainside under Frondella.

Then another astonishing change in landscape - a Mediterranean mountain wilderness, cedar and fir trees, and sun baked stone paths.  We take a high path above the GR11 onwards to the dammed Embalse de Respumoso.  Hayfever, or a cold? My nose is streaming, possibly from the flowers of fir trees.

The refuge here looks good to stay, almost a hotel, but we buy bread (!unusual to get fresh bread in the refuges, mostly they need to keep it for overnighters), lemonade, beer, chocolate and nuts, and eat under cover of a cedar tree above the lake.  Find wild chives growing near a stream and take some for the pot.

We move on to rejoin the route, a touch confusing for a few minutes, but we follow our noses and locate the dam (Joosten's book says its unfinished, but its complete now) at Ibon de Campoplano - a stunning flat plain, the clouds dancing on the summits above.

We wondered whether we could camp here, and indeed its possible though a little exposed.  But we still have a few hours light and so instead we decide to narrow the distance between us and the summit tomorrow.

Up, and up some more to a spot a little way under the col.

Our highest wild camp, rocky at 2600m, even here we find litter.  Our dinner a mix of cous-cous and noodles, tuna and those chives, hot and soupy.  Then weak shandy and chocolate, should've bought another beer.  We walk up to a ridge overlooking today's walk and watch the sun set over a collapsed caldera. Yep, just 'a bit' better than the TV.