Thursday 30 July 2015
So, it's 9.30am and I am still sitting in my tent. I'm in full wet weather gear and outside the rain is absolutely hammering down, and there is thunder and lightning, a proper pyrenean storm. The tent is dry inside and quite snug, except I am all packed up and ready to knock down the tent and set off. Not going anywhere in this, though. .. sitting on the bare tent floor is not very comfy but the Neoair air mattress is deep inside my rucksack. This is the Zpacks tent's first serious rain test and so far it is doing very well. It has a clever design whereby the outer skin overlaps the sewn-in groundsheet all round, so rain runs down straight to the ground. It also means the doors can be left open without the inside getting wet, unless there's a lot of wind.
My plans for today are already looking iffy because it is doubtful if I can reach Refugio Viados before dark. I decide to go down to Parzan, and if necessary Bielsa 3km beyond, and see if I can find a shop and a hot meal. Then I can perhaps walk on towards Viados and camp. .
The good news is that so far I haven't got wet, despite all the rain. The bad news is, I reckon I'm going to, soon enough . .
It was after 11 am when the rain finally eased off enough for me to wipe down and pack away the tent. I was astonished to see that the river, which was just dry stones yesterday, was a raging torrent. Not a dry valley now! I had walked across it last night, but crossing it now would be out of the question. I set off, but the rain soon restarted in full force, such that the path itself was flooded. I was still more than an hour from the road to Parzan, and I had to cross three streams before I finally got there. Fortunately I managed to do so without getting my feet too wet.
When I finally reached the main road - it is the one that links France & Spain via the Bielsa tunnel - I was not sure what to do. Walking 5km down it to Parzan looked quite hazardous in the pouring rain, with no verge or pavement and mainly Spanish drivers. Hopefully, I stuck out a thumb for a couple of cars to ignore, but then a car parked behind me in the lay-by opened its window: where was I trying to get to? And a very nice Belgian couple gave me a lift to Parzan, bless them. Technically this is not allowed I suppose, but I really don't see the A138 as part of the hrp. Anyway, I shall have to walk 2km back up it, tomorrow.
This is probably the last wifi until salardu in five days time, so updates may be delayed.
Oh, and I'm now just about half way. ..