|HRP - Day 22|
Once again, up and away before daybreak to begin the long traverse around Pic du Canigou on the so-called 'Balcon du Canigou'. I started off my headtorch along the narrow greasy path. Within minutes my feet were sodden from dew-laden grass overhanging the trail.
After a couple of hours I suddenly arrived at the Maison Forestiere de l'Estanyol, where I took a break for a minutes from the cold misty dampness to sit inside. I then pushed on for another couple of hours to arrive at Gite Mines de Batere, quite tired and with sore wet feet. Once inside, the place had a lovely mellow atmosphere with quiet gentle music and a wood fire burning. A stayed for several cafe au laits before venturing back out into the dreich mist.
The descent to Arles-sur-Tech was fairly confusing down woodland trails, and more complex than it appeared on the map. I imagine this section is normally descending into scorching heat, but today it was pretty grey and overcast. I arrived in Arles just after 2pm, but the Spar supermarche was closed until 3pm, so had a few minutes to re-group, dispose of rubbish, re-tape toes etc.
The climb beyond Arles was back into dense forest that completely throws your sense of direction. I did have a vague plan to bivvy high on the Roc de Frausa, but when I arrived at Gite Moulin de la Palette just after 6pm, the place had such a nice welcoming atmosphere I immediately decided to stay. Plus it meant I could have my first shower and shave for quite a while to feel a bit more human again.
The evening turned out to be an enjoyable social affair, with 2 big tables for the evening meal followed by French-style guitar playing and singing.
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