Posted by: Richard | July 14, 2009

Day 22: To Bouseyias

July 6: Well, this was the end of my week or two of feeling great, and for me when the trip started to get hard.  I woke up feeling terrible, with a sore throat and feeling really weak.  There was no place to buy food in town, so on the way out of town we stopped at a campsite and bought some food.  We watched the English blokes (a group of six50something English guys doing part f the GR5) roar past in the back of a pick-up (they weren’t walking on roads they said).

We entered Mercantour national park and ate our heavy cantaloupe which was lovely.  We then started up to the first of two lakes.  We did well, considering I wasn’t well, and had a nice long break at the late.  It was another scorcher, and we set off for the second lake not having seen other walkers (we were the last group today).

The second lake was nice, but we saw a pretty foreboding route up ahead and Lynn and I got a bit antsy.  It looked like it was on scree (debris from a rockslide) and was very steep.  We continued on and though the route was easier than it looked, Lynn was a bit spooked and found it very hard going. 

Getting to the col, we looked down on a route that is hacked into a cliff.  It was much more foreboding than the way up and a misstep would mean a lengthy fall and many broken bones as a best case scenario.

We came down and were happy that far below we could see some people.  I was feeling like rubbish and just wanted the day to be done. 

As we descended, Lynn noticed a giant flock of sheep moving roughly to where we were going.  Immediately we got worried of Pastous and started to hustle, passing an American woman who was having a cigarette (the only smoking walker we saw this year) and a french couple who were slow like molasses.  We evaded the sheep and got to our second col in a heck of a lot of pain, especially for Richard. 

For me, there was a moment coming up the second col that was tied with the time coming into Refuge Alfred Wills as the hardest of the trip for me.  It was just terrible being sick, tired, hot and pushing to get up ahead of the sheep.

Coming down the col there was another disused military barracks.  In addition, the damn nicest tarmacked road I have seen at 2500m.  Turns out the Tour de France was going on this road and it had been completely refurbished. 

The way down was terror.  I sat down and almost fell asleep and was a bit non-sensical, continually worried about my camera (which Lynn was graciously carrying down).  Of any night when a hotel was needed, it was tonight, but the town we were coming to had only a couple of buildings, none of which were a hotel.  We were relegated to the gite, and this one was terrible.  One room of 10 feet wide by 20 feet deep full of beds o sleep 16 people, the top bunks (where we were to be) being so close to the low ceiling that you couldn’t come close to sitting up.  Lynn was not impressed.

We sat on the patio and Lynn started to work on me to use the tent.  We’d send most of it back, and only had the emergency bits that I was keeping mostly because I had to keep the poles and thought the shell might come in handy in an emergency.  And tonight was the emergency.  The gite was rubbish, and Lynn wanted to camp in a nearby field.  After making a strong case, I agreed and we went out and pitched our tent. 

The tent looked lovely and we definitely had a better night than in the gite.  We didn’t have pads for beds or a fly to keep out bugs, but we did ok and had tolerable sleeps.  Alas, i didn’t get any better during the night, but I don’t think I got much worse….

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