Friday 21 August 2015
I leave the gite d'etape about 8.30am and set off towards the refuge des Besines. My rucksack feels terribly heavy under the weight of the food I bought yesterday. Four bananas and two yogurts is more than a kilo for a start. Since I am starting at 1400m and the refuge is at 2104m I am guessing it will be a steady 700m climb and so it proves. I feel good after the rest day and glory be, neither of my knees aches. I take my time and get there on the stroke of 12. A can of beer is €4, so I have an economical glass of wine, 250ml for €2,50, and an omelette garni. This comes with a salad, some bread and cheese which I tuck away for later, and two ripe figs cut into sections, which to my surprise taste fantastic. I have two yogurts with me, I eat one for dessert and keep the other for breakfast tomorrow.
I leave about 1pm to make a start on the next section, which is a long one. Rain is forecast for tomorrow afternoon, so I figure the more I can get done today, the earlier I will finish tomorrow. But for some reason I feel extremely sluggish. Lethargic, even light headed. It has got pretty hot, can that be it? Is it the food and wine? Am I coming down with something? Eventually I have to stop for half an hour and doze. I feel a bit better after that but still go slowly. I am aiming for a cabane, the Cabane de Rouzet, which should leave me about a four or five hour walk tomorrow morning. I eventually reach it about 5pm. There is a French couple in occupation, and they do not seem to want company. The cabane is small and has no windows, furniture or beds. It does not appeal, and I put up my tent next to a tiny lake 100m or so away.
There is a large herd of cows here, bells jangling. One comes close to the tent and I remonstrate with her. I point out that noisy neighbours are no-ones idea of fun. She says the bell was not her idea, and there is not much she can do about it. I suggest that she could go somewhere else, but she says she was here first, and that she weighs nearly a ton, as do her friends over there; how much do I weigh?
I retire to my tent and look for my trusty earplugs. Fortunately the noise stops when it gets dark. Presumably cows sleep too.