Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 13 - Estany de Sant Maurici to Estaon

32 km, 1500 metres of ascent
In my excitement at seeing Muffy & Dave today, and having gone through the halfway point yesterday, I was up and away shortly after 6am.

Camping in a mosquito-infested forest was also an incentive to get a blummin move on, and the 12km hike down to Espot only took me a couple of hours, so I was in the village centre just after 8am. Needless to say, Muffy & Dave were nowhere to be seen, so I took full advantage of the fantastic pâtisserie that serves proper coffee and pain au chocolat.

Eventually Muffy & Dave appeared, and after a much-needed shower in their apartment, and ditching some of my disgusting socks, and off-loading my pan and gas burner and some clothes I'd never used we went back to the pâtisserie for more coffees and frenetic chat.

I was in danger of slumping into total inactivity today, so it was an effort to get away from Espot shortly before 11am. Muffy & Dave accompanied me along trails, well known to them, as far as Jou. At the point the GR11 plummets down the hillside to La Guingueta d'Aneu, so Dave headed back for the car. Muffy stayed with me as far as the next village for leisurely cold drinks, and then awaited a lift from Dave, whilst I slogged up the 1300m climb on the other side of the valley in the mid-day heat.

The climb to Coll de Calvo 2207m dragged on a bit, and was a bit confusing, but eventually I was on the descent and dropped into the back of Estaon, a tiny village consisting of converted farm buildings and housing about 8 people.

The well-appointed Refugi d'Estaon was open but deserted. In fact the entire village seemed to be deserted. I waited and waited, and then spotted a buzzer by the door. No sooner had I pressed it than the guardian appeared as if by magic.

So I had the Refugi to myself for the evening, with my own personal table service and meal provided, which felt strangely self-indulgent after the grim nights in the forest with the mosquitoes.

View GR11 - Day 13 in a larger map


Anders Aagaard Hansen said...

I am going to hike the GR11 beginning next monday. I see that you decided to ditch your stove. What would you typically eat during the day? How much food was the most you had to carry?

Chris said...

Hi Anders. Good luck with your GR11 hike. Yes, I found a stove unnecessary hiking in the Pyrenees. From memory, I lived off picnic food supplemented by proper meals every few days at Refugios. I guess the longest I needed to survive was around 3 days, or nights out. I lived off things like bread, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, cereal bars, biscuits, sliced meat, etc. . Quite often the mosquitoes were so bad in the evening, you just wanted to zip up the tent, so it was much easier with no stove. Have fun, Chris