Sunday, September 09, 2007

Pyrenees Day 17: Lac d'Espingo -> Luchon

This is the end.

The day starts cool. After a late breakfast we set out at 9:15 and stop at the Refuge to pick up a picnic lunch (what crap! two slices of bread, ~100g of cheese (the butt!), a 30g package of pate, a bag of chips, a shriveled apple, a teeny crappy granola bar, and a bad packaged breakfast pastry. For 7 Euros... what crap!) and then head to the GR10. The initial climbing is in cool shade, there aren't too many people out, the views are nice.

After the first col (Hourquette des Hounts-Secs, 2275m) we're mostly in the sun and thing start to get warmer, but it is still breezy so we're comfortable. As we approach the second col (curiously nameless) the density of people goes way up. We crest the col (2272m, 12:30) into a group of 20 French, all speaking at the same time. Immediate retreat up the slope of the Sommet de la Coume de Bourg in order to have a quiet lunch. We've got great views East and West. This is, by far, our best overview of the Pyrenees yet. In addition to a bunch of vultures, we see something we're pretty sure is a golden eagle. That's very cool.

After having lunch we set out for the final leg of the trip (sniff...) at 1:15. We grab some water at a teeny spring (TiP++) and then continue on a path that's very nice to walk along but a bit too concentration demanding for serious walk-and-gawk. We gawk a lot anyway.

The non-hiker density increases with proximity to Superbagneres, which is gag-inducingly ugly. We sadly reach the end and take the gondola down to Luchon at 3:00.

We arrive in Luchon in the middle of some chaotic children's flower festival and parade. Wow is it noisy! Wow is it crowded! Gack! We find the planned hotel (Hotel Panoramic), check in, shower, do some laundry (in a machine! not the sink!), have ice cream, buy train tickets to Toulouse for Monday, rest, and then have dinner.

Civilization is loud, stinky, and hectic... we need to go back into the mountains!

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