Pyrenees 2004: Leaving Gavarnie for Barroude
After a rest day in Gavarnie where we enjoyed restaurant food, ice cream and beer we packed once again and joined the HRP towards Barroude. The path climbed steeply up towards the Refuge des Espuguettes then dropping down along the Western wall of the Cirque d’Estaube. Plodding bored down some switchbacks on the road we were surprised when a British registered Nissan SUV stopped and asked if we’d like a lift.
We certainly did.
We were driven down to the valley and deposited at the campsite near Chapelle de Heas. We thanked our countryman and booked into the campsite.
The mist rolled in and we headed for an early bed.
The next morning we left Heas and climbed up towards the Aguila hut. The visibility was still poor and we decided to make a short day of it to see if the weather would improve. We settled down in the hut and played cards for the remainder of the day before spending the night there.
After Aguila we set off for the Hourquette de Heas to take the path to Barroude and the hut there.
The path was unclear. Part misty, part snow covered and all over a jumble of rocks. We weren’t confident we’d be able to stay on the right path so we decided on an alternative. Descending to the bottom of the valley we could follow an easier path and reclimb up towards Barroude.
A few hours later we were back on the snow, following boot prints to the hut. Walking the last few Km through the mist we felt as though we were on a wide open plateau -we could see nothing.
We booked into the hut and sat down for a coffee. The mist outside briefly lifted and the Barroude wall appeared. This is a long high wall forming a barrier beyond the lac de Barroude.
We were some of the first guests of the refuge this season, the hut had only reopened the day before. We paid for dinner and waited excitedly for it to arrive. To date, the food we’d had in refuges had been excellent; tasty, plentiful and restoring. We were keen to see what we’d receive in Barroude.
Steaming bowls of a rich tomato soup and plates of bread arrived and were scoffed quickly. The warden brought us a large kilner jar of homemade pate. Delicious.
Time passed and our hunger grew. What would be the main course? A stew? What delight awaited us?
Time continued to pass and we muttered amongst ourselves “I think this pate is IT!”. “Thats no good, I want something more”. “Well, if thats all there is, I’m going for it!”
I tucked in to more of the pate. Then more. Then dinner arrived! A stew of beef and vegetables. I felt bad that I’d eaten so much of their pate. Leaving too little pate for them and too little room for my dinner.