Saturday 15 August 2015
*** I have republished the updates from Day 35 to this one, with updates and photos. .. so apart from today we are back up to date now. And wherever I am today, at least it has wifi! ***
The guardienne at Coma Pedrosa was unfazed by the rat incident and informed me gravely that it was a mountain mouse, not a rat. I told her it was the size of one, she remained unmoved and totally unapologetic.
Even breakfast was poor, served on a tray you collect from the hatch, and I left at about 7.45am, mentally composing letters of complaint to the relevant Andorran government department. It has moved ahead of Respomuso and Viados, as the worst Refugio so far.
All went well for an hour or two, (except that it has rained on and off all day) until I arrived at the Pla de l'Estany. There was a neat little Refugi here, which I inspected, and then carried on. I came to a junction, the instructions said to turn R and head SE up a grass bank, so I did. The path was not shown on my map on the phone, but that is not very unusual. The phone map seems to have limited coverage in Andorra. There were both yellow and red/white trail marks, so the path obviously led somewhere. After some time, it became clear that the route was not matching the guidebook's instructions. Something was wrong. I carried on a while further, but the weather deteriorated, I was also getting seriously high up, over 2600m, and I had no idea if I would be able to get back on track. Or, in fact, exactly what had gone wrong, since I hadn't seen any other choices. There was nothing for it, I would have to go back down to the Pla de l'Estany and try to see what had gone wrong. I got back there about 2.30pm having wasted about four hours walking, and sat down to look at the map hanging in the refuge. It was clear from that, that the right turn I had needed to take was actually a half mile before the refuge, not after it. I shouldn't have come here at all! another careful read of the guidebook showed that it said "If you turn left etc etc, so it was not an instruction, just "helpful" information, however unclear the wording. Oh well, at least I was back on track. I thought about staying at the little Refugi, since it was clear I would no longer have time to get to El Serrat today. But I saw there was another unmanned Refugi, de les Fonts, a couple of hours along the track. It was followed by a stiff climb, so I thought I would walk along to it and that is where I am now. Tomorrow morning I will do the climb, and continue to Llorts and El Serrat.
This is a very nice little refuge, with a water source, a fireplace, and a good supply of wood. So I lit a fire, it is cheerful and will help to dry everything out. It has rained for much of the day, but it has stopped now and I hope for better weather tomorrow. Without any Internet access I can't find out, but I hope. . this refuge is in a rather isolated position, and I shall be surprised if anyone else turns up, but we shall see. Andorra is proving a little tricky, so far!