lundi 11 septembre 2017

Carros de Foc - day 1

Jasper and Ruby arrived from the UK on Thursday for our trekking holiday the following week. We had arranged house/pet sitters in advance (Jan and Pauline from New Zealand) and they arrived yesterday so we could brief them on how to look after the sheep, cats, chicken and vegetable garden. The weather forecast for the holiday has looked pretty awful all week and last night it tipped down! We set off at 9.00 bound for Espitau de Viehla, an abandoned hostel (following a fire in the 1980's) beside the southern entrance to the Vielha tunnel. There's space to park here and its the starting point for the climb up to the Estany Tort de Ruis and thence onward to the Refugi de Restanca where we would start the "Carros de Foc" (Chariot of fire) a nine hut circuit in the Aigues-Tortes national park, which we hoped to complete in 5 days.

The rain stayed away and the weather improved throughout the day. It was 23 years since I was walking here last, though much of the way I can still recall well. Are packs were lighter than on previous treks as this year we had opted to stay in refuges and pay for evening meal and breakfast.

Ruby found the going tough, despite our nagging she hasn't done much exercise this year, but she soldiered on and made it through the day.

After lunch at the Estany we made a long descent towards the hut before a steep uphill to the hut which was reached across a dam. Last time I was here I slept in the ruins of the old hut (now demolished). 

The hut was busy, but the meal was good and filling. A large french group from Pays Basque decided to sing through the evening at full volume (when everybody else was trying to sleep) and were quite inconsiderate when they finally decided to come to bed waking everybody up. 

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