|HRP - Day 18|
Once again I was up and away before daybreak. It was actually pretty cold this morning with frost on the ground as I hiked up to Port de Boet 2509m. I reached the pass just after sunrise, and was greeted with a stunning cloud inversion on the French side.
The descent was pretty rough as I descended into thick freezing fog to reach Etang de la Soucarrane. I was very glad I hadn't pressed on the night before, since this would have been a grim place to camp. The next section was more or less pathless and involved thrashing through tussocky wet grass and undergrowth to eventually pop out on a dirt road.
My shoes were now soaked and full of water, so I spent a few minutes wringing out my socks and trying to dry my shoes to some extent. It was much easier hiking now up to the Port de Rat 2540m which drops over into Andorra. Also the weather was brightening up, and there was an easy descent to La Coma bar/restaurant in El Serrat ski area. I took some time here to re-group and to dry my kit, taking over a couple of the tables.
It was still quite cold and windy despite the bright sunshine, but on the descent to El Serrat the temperature picked up, and for the first time in a few days it was actually warm and sunny. Before reaching El Serrat the road branches upwards and turns into a dirt track to reach Refugi de Sorteny. I stopped at the water point to re-fill, and to eat before pressing on through wonderful meadows full of alpine flowers.
The next section of trail lead easily to the Collada dels Meners 2713m, where I caught up with a Frenchman also hiking the HRP. We then hiked together as far as Cabana Coms de Jan, where he planned to stay the night. I thought I might be able to reach Refugi de Juclar, however the continuation trail had far more ascent than anticipated, so once I'd reached Cabana Sorda I decided to drop down into the valley to Camping d'Incles. This turned out to be a good plan as I found out later on.
Camping d'Incles was a grim and depressing spot with no facilities, but I found a small patch of grass good enough to pitch the tent. During the night I felt unwell and was sick, and was anxious that I'd got food poisoning.
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