It’s difficult to remember how the day started – it seems so long ago; the day was that epic. The cicero guide warned that it would be ‘the first really hard day’, and it wasn’t joking. For me (R), it was the first time I’ve really (really) thought about the magnitude of what we’re attempting to do. Previously, despite our hikes – me mostly packless- in the picos de europa, I’ve kind of thought of hiking as walking, albeit with hills. This is not walking over hills. It is not just walking while hauling a bag. Of course, everyone else knew that -it is the Pyrenees- but for me there was either naivity or denial, both frequently necessary ingredients of a good challenge!
So.. the challenge has started. Today was hard: good (great), satisfying, but hard.It was steep uphill from the beginning. There was scrambling over rocky peaks & tors.. & visibility ranged between 5 & 50 feet for most of the day. Yet still it was beautiful – walking through the heathland the green of the ferns seemed to practically encase us; we were swathed – or swaddled – in green. Similarly the forests wrapped us in beautiful, dippled light. And occasionally, the cloud cover broke to reveal spectacular drops, dramatic cliff faces .. and stunning villages below.
Another great day: happy birthday William Hann!
Height gain: 1260 m
Height loss: 1248 m
‘Special’ challenge: horse fly swarm – think King Kong atop the Empire State building, bewildered by the biplanes circling and doing harm: Why do you exist foul creatures?