Saturday 22 August 2015
So. The weather forecast is for rain in the afternoon, with a risk of storms. With that in mind I set off early, about 7.30am. It doesn't start to get light until after 6.30, so that is about as early as is practical.
The first task of the day is to get over the Portella de la Grave, 2426m, which I do. Then it is a long, and mostly gradual, descent to and along the huge Lac des Bouillouses, almost 3 miles long. Once I'm over the col, it occurs to me that the weather is not looking good. That peculiar orangey light, that is not at all good news. I change into my wet weather gear, in the nick of time. The heavens open and it rains heavily. It is not yet 9am! It rains for an hour or so, then stops, then rains again a couple more times. By the time I reach the Lac des Bouillouses, about 11, it is looking brighter and as I walk along the banks of the lake, there is even a glimpse of sun. By the time I get to the dam at the far end of the lake, around 12.30, I am more or less dried out.
This seems a popular place, I see quite a lot of people walking, and by the dam, there are even coaches. There are a couple of hotels, as well as a refuge. Years ago someone told me the hotel Bones Hores was very good, so I went there. The man I spoke to looked shifty, and after a bit he told me they were full. Perhaps they really were, it is August after all. Then he tried to overcharge me for a beer. So I recommend avoiding the place. The Auberge Carlit looked nicer, and they were very friendly... but also full, desolee. So here I am in the refuge. It is not full, in fact it is totally empty, except for me, though I think they do have some bookings. It is a good refuge so far as they go. I am in a room with four beds. There is a basin with a hot tap that actually delivers hot water. There is a shower opposite, and I feel I ought to make use of it, even though it is hardly two days since the last one :-).
I am perversely pleased that it is now 4pm and raining heavily, complete with thunder etc. However the forecast for tomorrow is also bad. I cannot afford to lose any more days, so I must walk anyway. My daughter and grandchildren return to Qatar on 2nd September and I want to be home before then.