|HRP - Day 15|
The next day, thankfully my ankle was OK... I was away from Estany deth Cap deth Port at daybreak, slightly nervous about reaching the Salardu shop before siesta. The initial section was on vaguely familiar terrain having hiked this during the GR11 last year. At Refuge Colomers I peeled off northwards at the dam to descend a nice broad valley. Luckily I reached Salardu at about 12.50pm with the shop closing at 1.15pm. I grabbed some food, and also bought some more strapping and ibuprofen at the pharmacy. Whilst re-packing I lost patience with lugging around the Kahtoola Microspikes, so left them behind under the bench.
I grabbed a quick plate of pasta before setting off on the afternoon shift. Initially the route appeared to be heading in completely the wrong direction, but in fact picked up a nice shaded trail through the woods before hitting dirt roads up to the vast skiiing area covered with grazing horses. The climb continued steadily past a few lakes until I suddenly bumped into Rick DeLong coming the other way. We had corresponded by email beforehand, so it was good to meet in person. Rick had already thru-hiked the PCT so knew all about travelling light, and had a pack way lighter than mine. We chatted for half an hour before heading our separate ways. I was a bit anxious now that it was getting late as I flogged steeply up Tuc Something. A pretty dramatic rocky summit. The continuation along the ridge was seriously rocky and slow-going.
I eventually reached the Coll d'Airoto and my plan was to drop to the Refuge d'Airoto which has a water source, but I made the mistake of trying to go around the lake on the north-eastern side which turned out to be an horrific boulder field that was wearing on the nerves and time-consuming. So I kind of ran out of time to get to the refuge and instead just wind-camped high above the lake on the first bit of flat ground I could find. This meant I had very little water for the night which wasn't ideal.
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