Posted by: Richard | June 18, 2009

Day 2: To Lac de la Case

June 11: We woke up a bit groggy from the storm and loud music.  We thought that all the noise may have been our friends pulling out of camp.  Alas, it was not, the campers on the other side of the hedge were quiet as can be.

Before we left, we realized we needed some food and some gas as we planned to bivouac by a mountain lake in the evening.  We went into town and the two boulangerie’s were closed and the Tabac was also closed.  I was ready to keep going, but Lynn (ever the smart one) convinced me to ask some old men if there was another store.  Unfortunately, I was not prepared that the man I talked to was either intoxicated or crazy.  It was 8am, so I thought it would be the latter, though the smell of booze made me think the former.  In answer to my question as to whether there is another bakery, I got a 10 minute diatribe about how the Socialists were driving out all the little family stores and creating mega-stores.  He also said a good deal else, though much too slurred for my french. In between it all, he indicated that there was a mega-marche just 1 km away.  Lynn and I were overjoyed.

We hoofed it to the mega-mart, and downed 2 double espresso’s each while freshening up in the washrooms. I went in and bought some pastries and we stocked up on food.  We didn’t want to leave after our affair the night before, this was heaven.  Alas, we did need to leave, but we were still short a gas canister for cooking.  This was tricky, as we needed gas too cook.  Once again, Lynn was the smart one and suggested I look in at the adjacent garden centre.  Sure enough, they carried the gas type we needed.  Full of pain o’ chocolate’s and espresso’s we speeded out of town, ready for a great day #2.

We both felt great again today for the first few hours, rising through mini-mountains with great views forward and backwards.  We remarked how we couldn’t believe that it was only the second day, as we had experienced so much emotion and different experiences the day before. 

We had an unusual experience part way through the day.  Partially up a mountain in a lovely alpage, there were a herd of cattle grazing, with many little fellows.  Eating the beautiful flowers and luscious grass.  For some reason, these cows liked Lynn and I, and started moo-ing and walking towards us.  Well, a herd of cattle can be an overwhelming group, so Lynn and I had our hearts in our throats and rushed towards the barbed wire fence, eager to get away.  We finally scurried under the fence and were safe, though we are now cautious around cows.

One concern we had with the day was a lack of water.  We didn’t have many options to fill up with more water, so would have to boil lake water where we camped.  Part way through the day, I realized that though we had gas, we hadn’t bought matches or a lighter.  A loud profanity escaped my lips when I realized this.  This would be a nuisance, as we were high enough that neither of us wanted to drop for water.  Oh well, we’d cross that bridge when we came to it, as I had some magnesium that I could make a fire with to light the gas later (or so I thought).

We finally got to our campsite, a lovely alpine lake for the two of us.  We set up the tent and I started working on getting a spark to get our gas going.  It was at this point that I realized that not only had we no lighter, but I had stupidly purchased the wrong type of gas cylinder (a snap-lock as opposed to a threaded screw top).  Another loud profanity and a quick rationing of our water.  1L for the night and 2 hours of walking tomorrow.  This was not ideal.

We ate our lovely old bread and cheese for dinner and I thought of water.  There was a summer shepherd’s hut about 1/2 an hour down the valley.  I thought there might be some water there, but wasn’t sure.  I was thirsty and worried about the night and the next day.  We were in bed when I thought I heard something. Looking out, there was a damn jogger approaching our tent!!!  Here we were dirty and sweaty and this young chap was jogging!  I came out in my undies and stopped him to gain some valuable information. He was training for a mountain race and was doing a 2+ hour job/scramble that would take him up 1,400 m and about 15km.  I was impressed.  I pressed him for means to deal with cows the likes we had seen earlier in the day (our trekking polls over our heads he suggested) and about the shepherd’s hut and water.  He confirmed there was a source of water at the hut.

Lynn and I were ecstatic, and I ran down to the hut in my sandals and gained 4 glorious litres of water!!!!  We came back to bed and replenished our bodies, sleeping happily and contentedly.

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