Saturday 11 July
The trek today to les Aldudes is not strenuous, the guidebook says it takes 5 hours with 800m ascent. I decided to set off early, and left around 7am. The first two hours or so is all uphill, and I was pleased with being able to keep a steady pace to the top of Burga (872m, Arizkun being at 280m).
The weather was cool, cloudy and damp. Not ideal because it affects visibility, but better for walking in than the hot sun yesterday. At one point it started to rain in earnest, so I put my wet weather gear on, but of course five minutes later it stopped again. . Still, the damp made stopping difficult so I ploughed on and reached les Aldudes just after noon, in time for a nice lunch (confit of duck, frites) and a sit. Then I decided to carry on a bit further, and see if I could find a suitable spot to camp for the night.
By the way, on the way down to les Aldudes I saw a large mountain hare. There are lots of big birds about too. I would like to think they are all eagles & kites, but I suspect it is instead that the vultures, for whatever reason, are thriving hereabouts. Still, a big bird's a big bird, isn't it? What's a bit of carrion-eating between friends? Also saw a huge stag beetle wandering across the path, almost two inches long.
Having had a sit I decided to carry on and am now at the col de Meharrozleguy (!) about 3 hrs beyond les Aldudes. My new friend Sean from Washington DC, who I met yesterday in Arizkun, has turned up too and we are camped on the col side by side.
I am really pleased with how today has gone. No aches or pains to speak of, and steady progress with climbing. My legs have definitely improved, and so have my lungs though there is still a puffing Billy effect at times. Heading in the right direction though.