Friday 14 August 2015
I had been told by the friendly guardienne, Laura, that it would be cloudy today, but no rain. However, when I got up the meteo forecast pinned on the notice board said fine in the morning, but a 70-100% chance of rain in the afternoon. Both wrong, as it turned out. I set off about 7.15am, early for me, in the hope of getting to Coma Pedrosa before the bad stuff started, but once again it was not to be. Three hours walk up the valley there is a little refuge, Refugi de Baiau, and as I approached it, it started to rain. I got to the refuge damp, but not soaked, and then it started to rain very steadily. When I got there, I found a dog sitting patiently outside in the rain. She (I think) followed me in and went to sleep on a bottom bunk. What to do about her is a bit of a puzzle. She has a collar with a name and phone no., which I will note down and give to the refuge when I get there. No signal here of course. But I doubt she would follow us over the col, which is 2770m, and I am reluctant to leave her shut in the refuge or to leave the refuge door open. Thijs and his father Gert arrived shortly after me, and as usual I started to get restive because the rain looked at in for the day. However, after an hour or so it eased, and then stopped, and we were able to leave and head off up towards the Port de Baiau. I left the dog, Kira, in the care of a couple of French walkers who had arrived in the Refugi.
Climbing up to the Port was really quite tricky because it was so very steep, more than 45 degrees, a lot of loose stones and gravel - "scree" - that shift when you step on them. I was glad to be going up them, rather than down, and glad I had company and did not have to tackle it alone. Also glad the weather was cooperating, not a thing I would want to do in the rain.
Well, we got to the top in good order, 2770m up and distinctly chilly, and my mobile phone suddenly sprang into life! I received 30 emails and was able to phone Sue, who was in Cranbrook High St. . a modern miracle if ever there was one. I also took a decision to upload all the draft blogs I have written since I last had a good signal, even though they mostly don't have any photos. When I have the opportunity, I will go back and tidy them up and add photos and captions. Uploading photos in quantity needs wifi.
Coming down from the col was much more straightforward than getting up to it, and soon we were approaching the Refugio Coma Pedrosa. Here I had to say goodbye to Thijs and Gert, who are heading off down the valley and will get back to their car tomorrow, and return home to Breda. It was lovely to meet them both, a shame in some ways that it was for such a short time. Thijs has done really well to walk so far along the GR11, all the way from the Atlantic to Andorra. Good fortune to both of them.
Coma Pedrosa is an attractive looking refuge, spacious and not crowded. .. it has a rather Spanish feel to it, though: no hot water, no showers, and only they can turn lights on and off, you the paying customer can't. And no wifi, goes without saying. When I asked about it, I was told that we were here to enjoy the mountains, and my suggestion that I had been doing that all day, and now wanted to tell others about it, cut no ice. They don't really care what their customers think. Unsmiling. They did sort out the dog problem though, apparently the owners had already been in touch.
Dinner was soup with pasta, followed by... more pasta. A bit of cheese, and an apple puree thing.
I slept in a large room with about 20 beds in it, but only three of us, me and two Frenchmen. I had just dropped off to sleep when there was a lot of banging and flashing lights. .. the Frenchmen had found a rat! They chased it around the room and finally killed it, banged it on the head with something. The corpse is lying under my bed. Sweet dreams. Oh, and welcome to Andorra!