Lescun Village to Refugio d’Arlet
This morning was crazy and frustrating trying to figure out how to extend our French mobile phone plan. In Paris we bought a prepaid Holiday sim card from Orange, France’s largest mobile provider. The plan was only for 14 days and was set to expire tomorrow. It’s supposed to be easy to topup online. It isn’t. I gave up last night and tried again this morning. I had 2 French people try and they had no better luck. I finally sort of figured it out but then my credit card denied payment because of fraud concerns. I even called them and they said it would go thru next time. But it didn’t. Jim had the same issue with his credit card but his debit card worked. Mine didn’t but Jim was able to top up my plan. So now I have a phone plan again. Just as I’m going into an area that I probably won’t even get service. I don’t really need the phone. It’s so so nice to have for so many reasons. And my mother really likes it when I phone her.
By the time Jim and I left we had been in town for 24 hours. What a difference those hours made in how I felt hiking today. Of course it helped that this was a short day and rated a 2 or moderate. There was still almost 4000 ft (1300 meters) of climbing but it wasn’t as steep as other days. We even had switchbacks!
It was foggy in town this morning but was lifting by 11 when we started walking.
Wired left 3.5 hours before us and hiked farther. This may really be when we part ways on this trip. We each want to hike the HRP differently. Jim and I want to maximize our sampling of Refugio food…. both because it is different than what we can do most places and because we don’t have to carry it. Wired wants the freedom of camping and eating where ever it works out each day. Both are good strategies.
Our last water source was right at a shepherd’s house. They had the best outdoor funiture.
Just as we got to the water the fog really rolled in and we couldn’t see much. It was at one of the places today where there was no trail. The guidebook did give a direction to head. That and a gps app made things much easier. The Pyrenean fog is legendary and dangerous and I have a healthy respect for it.
We sat down to eat lunch and right away the fog lifted again. I’m loving eating the French way. Our sandwiches were amazing.
Just as we were ready to start walking again 2 women from the SW coast of France walked up. I loved their pants! They could speak English and it was fun to talk to them. They are very strong hikers. Today they were climbing 3 or 4 of the surrounding peaks.
As the fog rolled in and out we had some great views.
We are at Refugio d’Arlet camping outside where the air is better but eating inside where the food was fantastic. Pea soup. Couscous, beet and cucumber salad. Roasted duck legs and a yellow lentil stew. Dessert was applesauce and a cookie. $17.50 and a donkey carried it up here. Johan from last night was here also and even bought us a beer before dinner.