Friday, October 25, 2019

Carros de Foc day 7, back to Vielha, 7/21/09

Really happy when it was 6:45 and we could get up pack up our sleepstuff and go downstairs. Breakfast was the usual, so we didn’t linger. Got changed, packed, and hit the road at 8.

Wasn’t sure what to expect from this last stretch. Was it 2 passes, or 1? Were they scary? Would we find our way?

We set off alone, but a Spanish couple and then 2 lone Frenchmen caught up with us on the way up the first pass. Steep but easy walking and no terror.

Then down the other side (a bit of a hassle because it was steep and we had to drop 100+ meters in elevation) but again, no terror. Also, look at that visible trail on the left edge of the picture below. So satisfying to know where we were going to go!

Then up up up again on the second pass of the day. Still, it was pretty easy going and we made it. Then down a little, and I began to recognize things.

Some people veered off to the right to summit Montardo, but not us. We simply went back up to the Guellacrestada and hugged and kissed for joy – we had completed the circuit!

Well, sorta – we still had 90+ minutes of steep descent to Restanca. But we tpook our time and – all of a sudden – could see the lake where the refuge was. It still meant 30 minutes or so inching down a waterfall, but then we were there.

We got to the refuge, took off our boots and packs, and went upstairs. The same funny older lady was there to stamp our forfaits and cheer for us. She was even kind enough to say that we did it quickly – and gave us our t-shirts and took our pictures. Yay!

Then, of course, we still had to make our way back to Viehla. So we walked the hour down the path to Pontet de Rius and found no taxis – just an annoying family of day trippers waiting for one. We sat for a while to wait, but we were being eaten alive by mosquitos so we decided to trek down to the next stop. It took us 35 minutes of walking along a very nice gravel road – nothing like the road to Blanc – to get to the next parking lot.

There was a man in the info booth who, when asked about taxis to Vielha, asked us if we wanted “expensive or economical”. I didn’t want to wait for a 4 more people to come down the mountain, so I said “expensive is okay!”. So for 40 euro we got a lift to the hotel where we were greeted with great indifference. But they got our bags for us and we went up to our room to clean up. How heavenly to shower in a big, clean bathroom by ourselves.

We went into town to get some lunch – surly service (but a decent vegetarian pizza) at the pizzeria I had been thinking of. Discovered that there are no launderettes in Viehla. And we went to the CcF offices to buy some treats: t-shirts, stickers, pins…

Then a few more errands – drink for the evening (some very nice Spanish “sidre”), stamps, etc., and then back to the hotel where we’ve been trying to wash and dry clothes in the sink. The washing was fine; but we’ll see about the drying.

As we’ve been in the room, a huge thunderstorm rolled in – it just underscores how lucky we’ve been with the weather. Not a drop of rain on us while trekking.

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