|HRP - Day 19|
Having been sick in the night, I was feeling apprehensive this morning. My mood was not helped at 6am by the fact it was still pitch dark, pouring with rain and a full-on thunder storm was raging. I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to leave the shelter of the tent just yet, so re-inflated my thermarest, got back in my sleeping bag, and went back to sleep for an hour to let the worst of the storm pass.
At 7am, the rain was lighter so I leapt out of the tent, stripped it down and started splish sploshing up the soggy trail into the mist. It got really quite cold, rainy and unpleasant as I approached the Refuge de Juclar. I expected to have the place to myself so was surprised when I walked in to find about 30 school kids all looking like they'd had one heck of a party the night before.
Once more into the mist and rain, and I was soon over the Port l'Albe to leave Andorra for France. The descent was super rough and rocky, and played havoc with my sore toes. I stopped at the first big lake to try to dry my sodden shoes and re-tape my toes which were in a terrible state. A group of 3 French hikers suddenly appeared and we had a bit of a chat, before I got a move on for the descent to l'Hospitalet.
I was expecting some sort of shop at l'Hospitalet, but there was nothing open apart from the Hotel du Puymorens. I made myself comfortable in the vestibule, and ordered coffees & croissants and tried to get my shoes dried out, and re-taped my toes. Soon the 3 French hikers who I'd seen earlier appeared. We had some more chat and all decided to walk to the Refuge des Besines later in the afternoon. I had planned to go a bit further, but without any food, the staffed refuge seemed a better option.
The hike to the refuge was on easy graded trails and took just under 2 hours at a fairly rapid pace. This gave plenty of time for dossing around and recovering and for eating the most enormous amount of food during the evening meal. A good social evening.
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