Sunday 23 August 2015
This (Bouillouses) is a perfectly nice refuge, no complaints at all, but they have given me my least favourite meal, melon followed by, you guessed it, pasta. This pasta obsession the refuges have is really getting to me.
WARNING! No pastaphobes should attempt the HRP! Nor, I think, the GR11 or GR10..
When I woke up around 6.30am, it was raining hard. Not an encouraging start, but after a leisurely breakfast it stopped and then seemed to brighten up a little.
I set off for Eyne about 8.30am, out seemed the weather could go either way. There was sun, and some clear sky, with some cloud cover lurking in the wings. The first hour or so of the walk is delightful, as you pass by a series of lakes, each more scenic than the last. Then things go downhill a little, so to speak, as you enter skiing territory, crossing pistes, going under chairlifts, passing rows of chalets. Something depressing about ski resorts in summer.
About 12, I arrived in the village of Bolquere. En route I again met three young French walkers I had seen several times before, Emilia, Yinis and Natalia. . (I can't believe I've spelt those names right; if you see this, chaps, do put me right) They have been walking along the HRP for a week or so but this is their last day, they will go back to Paris tomorrow. Natalia told me that Emilia had proposed to her during their walk. I didn't ask, but I think she accepted. ..
Bolquere has a small supermarket, which we reached just before it closed. I bought a couple of essentials - four yogurts and a can of beer - and then went to the only restaurant in town, the Ancienne Auberge.
Even though it was the only one, it was not crowded. The menu choice was limited but the food was ok-ish and there was plenty of it. The others followed a few minutes later and we say together. Afterwards I said goodbye and set off again for Eyne, and hopefully beyond. Between Bolquere and Eyne is all road walking and I was tempted to stop when I for there, but the only gite in this tiny village looked all shut up. I decided to carry on. The next stage is a long one, with an intimidating 1700m ascent, so the further I could go today the better. It is a steady uphill from Eyne, and I went at it steadily. The weather looked more and more doubtful but it didn't rain. By 5pm or so I had reached a cabane, the Orri de Baix, at about 2000m. I decided to stop here, but the shelter itself was a grave disappointment. The guide says "A primitive shelter" and golly, it really is. The entrance - no door, just a gap in the walls - is so narrow I had trouble getting in at all. Inside it is dank and dark. There is another small gap intended to act as a window but it lets no light in to speak of, and a torch is essential. I had to back out, bent double, and quickly decided to put the tent up instead. No sooner had I done so than it started to rain. I'm happy enough, dry in my tent, and with a beer. The weather is supposed to improve tomorrow, but recent forecasts have been rubbish, so I will just wait and see, fingers crossed.