Saturday July 27th des canyons de la Soule à Saint Engrace
On the plateau d’Ardakhotchia, I find the GR10 indication in direction of St Engrâce ; passing two canyons the views are magnificent but still pastoral before I will reach St Martin de Pierre two days later.
As the scenery changes almost completely going from one valley where the water of the mountains gathers into the next one, called ‘gaves’ the fresh air of the mountains in the morning is filling me with the necessary lyrics and food for writing. Yet, I need to keep walking so writing is another story ;
The evening sets in when, after having descended from ‘Col d’Anhaoa’, I start climbing again towards Senta from Calla. Missing good indication makes me fear to find myself too far from the track and I decide I need to hitchhike. I hate myself for it, yet my feet are absolutely swollen especially the soles of them are amazingly white and mushy. (My boots never really dried up and I conclude that two days of marching in wet boots can cause this). A driver stops coming from the opposite direction; he tells me he will pick me up when coming back again, after having dropped off his carload. I thank him and tell him I will continue to walk a bit further till the first crossroad; walking on the tarmac hurts even more and every step sends waves of pain through my entire body. I sit down, looking at the farming woman gathering her sheep driven by her dogs after closing the fence behind her. How I would like to address a word to her and exchange on topics concerning the elevation, but feeling too timid, also too tired, I just lift my hand in a greeting, hardly responded to ; I sense the huge stillness coming over me. Another fifteen minutes, which no longer take me to any other dreamlike state, and there the car turns up, that will drive me to Saint Engrace. The young girl who is the spouse of the lad that initially had stopped, starts complaining about her work and the children. Luckily she leaves out the eventual comments she would have towards her man! How I regret not having been able to talk with the farmer woman herding her sheep.
Arriving at the local dormitory (there only is one and you can’t really speak of a lodge here ; everything is rather dirty, filthy in our standards, and only the elderly lady doesn’t leave her broom, but it is merely to give herself an air), I meet with some really nice people who also hike on the GR10. They make up for the very unfriendly check-in and I prefer to put up my tent (not wanting to pay the money for what I fear will be very unpleasant sleeping accommodations). The next day it turned out they were. The wine tasted sour [I only took one glass ; the first one in over five days, but drinking has never been my Achilles’ heel as I see myself rather caught up in a rit relay race, picking up the golden apples which Aphrodite will throw on her path, and feeling caught up like Sysiphus on a slope climbing my way into that other Life that will catch up with me] and only thanks to the company of Lieve over the dinner we cooked, was I able to fall asleep without nightmares. Ignorance and intolerance are no option; does it need to be said? And these people aren’t hospitable nor tolerant.
- Day 9 (clymalouy.wordpress.com)
- extract from a travel journal GR10 in Atlantic Pyrenees (clymalouy.wordpress.com)