Day 11

Sunday July 28th

The chapel of Saint Engrace which we visited yesterday evening (I invited Lieve to come along) was breathtaking ; it is a UNESCO classed monument and the walls heave over so much that you think yourself in the tower of Pisa, only with the more humane and romantic character of the roman art that is displayed. As it is closed, I will not paint again today and decide to start off after the four other hikers towards Pierre Saint Martin have already left. I finally am able to walk again; not thinking about my feet will help me; they look much better today! I catch up with the others after the canyon of Kakouetta, and although tempted to explore it, having read it made up for a paying visit, and still wanting to keep going for my aim, I declined the invitation of some cool shelter. Ahead of all of us (a French couple, Lieve and I) walks a 70? year old gentleman; he really sets the pace, and I can only thank him for it. We arrive at distant times at the ski resort, Arrête La Pierre Saint Martin, and after a good meal, I continue, saying goodbye to my fair companions. They stay engraved in my heart and I’ll be missing them throughout the next days and longer.

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Finding the indication to get through ‘l’Arre de Soum Couye’ takes me over an hour! Very poorly indicated, I again conclude that certain indications must have been removed on purpose. I finally decide to follow my intuition which so far never left me, and I am overwhelmed by the arid and wild beauty of the scenery; feeling smaller than a mouse and blind as mole, I keep climbing (probably at the speed of the latter) hoping my feet won’t slide on some rock to catapult me from impressive heights and risk serious injury. In the end I turn around at the ‘Pas de l’Osque’ 1922 meter and the scenery is compelling, seemingly crying out ‘don’t go further! Yet, the devil in me hasn’t quieted down yet: come and take your chance at measuring yourself!’

I can’t decline even if I’d have liked to; my real intention ‘Pic du Midi d’Ossau’ is within reach, yet I still don’t know whether I’ll go that far.

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It is a very long and beautiful descent towards Lescun where I am brutally left on my own after asking a lady with her two children for indications towards the camping. It is dark now, drizzling rain starts falling, and my eyes can’t discern the panels on the road no more. I just keep walking, hoping to find the way, asking once again at an elderly couple in their car, if I am on the right track. Always straight ahead they tell me, not even taking the time to stop, while the road doesn’t stop swirling and showing intersections at about each turn! Hopefully I won’t end up becoming like them I think to myself; their hurrying to me is more a sign of rudeness than rush, but who knows, probably they are both : hurrying and rude; what a pity for them.

At the camping the warden and his wife who runs the camping look at me with great surprise; as if they saw a ghost. Luckily (for them?) I don’t play those parts and the lady shows me to a very neat and clean dormitory where I’ll be spending the night alone. She leaves me to my own, not asking nor saying much, but telling me payment will be accepted in the morning (they were just going through the accounts which caused some differences ; this capitalistic system destroys more families than it helps to create new modes of living). The dog comes to lick my feet, I seem to remember.

I sleep well after a shower.

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