We woke to the news that Les Blues had lost the Euro Final. At the exact time when Portugal scored their decisive winner, the bar below our room and full of French tourists, exhaled a collective “merde”. A pity.
Our new companions had last night warned us of the route we wished to take today. It climbed through towering Beech trees which grew straight as an arrow on the steep gorge. Across the gorge was an Indiana Jones suspension bridge and far far below scattered tree trunks, stuck amidst the rocks, tiny as match sticks. The trees here were felled and used by the French navy in the 17th century. The path up the gorge was therefore wide enough to drag the enormous proto-masts of the French Fleet down the side of the gorge. I imagined a 17th century foreman willing on the exhausted woodsmen “these trees will make the great masts of our Navy vessels…think of our boys at sea fighting the scum Anglais!”.
Imaginings aside, it was an amazing forest and we were so glad that we had made the diversion as the rest of the day was just walking through cloud with limited visibility. When we finally closed in on the Roman church of Ste-Engrace which alluded us at the final turn and added another Km to the end of a long walk, we were quite tired. The gite we stayed at laid on an amazing three course meal for 18€. Soup, pork chops, haricot beans with bacon, the wateryest (trademark on that) broccoli, and fantastic flans for desert. Washed down with plenty of plonk, naturallemente. The bunk bed sleeping arrangements allowed for a frog’s chorus of snoring. No pun intended.
Today, Tuesday 12th saw no change in the weather and all of our gear left out to dry still damp. Debate over breakfast was to:
- Take the road to the Refuge Jeandel Arette-la Pierre-st-martin, or
- Take the GR10 over the mountain.
We chose 2. Our companions (see above) could be seen tut-tutting our choice as they took 1.
2.5 hours later after another climb through very damp forests, with 4 other hikers on tge trail behind us, we found ourselves lost for the first time (tut-tut).
It took all our map reading skills, a bit of luck, google maps, a talking cow ( i wish) to get us back on track. The four behind us were part of this- the lost saving the lost. We were absolutely soaked to the skin as we rediscovered the route and climbed for 2 more hours to get where we are now, sitting in a ski refuge and waiting for dinner. It was the coldest and wettest of days so far, and we are trusting that the mountains will reward our efforts by giving us more than the view of the inside of a cloud.