Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 18 - Planoles to Nuria

20km, 1100 metres of ascent
Last night I had started to think that a 22-day finish might be on the cards, however today didn't go quite as planned. In fact things went a bit wrong right from the start.

Since my watch had packed up on Day 1, my policy for getting up in the morning was to wait until the first signs of light percolated through the walls of the tent, and then I was start stuffing everything away.

So this morning I woke up, saw light filtering in from outside, thought I'd make a nice early start, packed everything away, crawled out of the tent, and realised it was still the middle of the night. What an idiot. The light was coming from one of the campsite nightlights.

Of course a few hours later when it was really morning, I didn't feel like getting up!

My breakfast consisted of a handful of broken biscuits and some water before starting up the 700m climb to Collet de les Barraques. I could tell something was wrong straight away. It was like having hollow legs. I tried to ignore the problem and use mind over matter to kept some rhythm going, but I was barely moving at all.

My stomach was not happy, and when I reached the col my trip to the toilet confirmed what the problem was. I had some sort of horrible food poisoning, just like being in Nepal, when you get very little warning of your next toilet stop!

The next few hours were a bit of a blur of repeatedly losing the trail and repeated bouts of diarrhoea. At one point I suddenly woke up and realised I had fallen asleep lying next to the trail. I thought this is not a good sign, and must try to keep moving.

When I finally reached the funny purpose-built mountain resort of Nuria, I made a beeline for the first patch of grass, crumpled to the ground, and just lay there.

I had no idea what to do next, but eventually summoned the energy to locate the camping area, pitch my tent and crawl inside and fall asleep, despite it being the middle of the afternoon. Later I woke up feeling cold and achey. I had nothing to eat, but still felt awful so went to the hotel in search of inspiration.

I located the hotel doctor and had a consultation. The doctor gave me a re-hydration drink plus paracetamol and loperamide hydrochloride capsules, and I was told to go to bed without any food, so I retrieved my tent and checked into the hotel and treated myself to a wonderful night's sleep in total comfort.

View GR11 - Day 18 in a larger map

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