In the evening at refuge Ayous I enjoyed pleasant conversation with a French chap, Pete, who was walking the GR10. We spoke of tents, food, Goretex, GPS and rucksack weight, and a chain of French outdoor stores which seem superb. There are several and they each specialise in one area of kit. If you want a tent, go here. If you want rain wear, go there. At the respective stores you find knowledge specialists to advise you. Pete was on my left. To my right, there was a pleasant French family with an adorable little girl who ran to me the following day when I met them again, seeking reassurance and telling me the craic. There was a dead cow and a pack of vultures were fighting over it. Oui, I said, le petit dejeuner pour les oiseaux. I think French for vulture is similar but with a pronunciation I couldn’t manage, which would confuse her. Pour quoi vous etes vegetariane, she asked me at Ayous. I had a different meal to everyone else. There were so many ways her question could go. She was a child, there are different answers to that question, and if possible I wanted to talk in French. Par ce que j’aime les animeaux, I said. I was pleased with my answer. It was child talk, appealing to a child’s enjoyment of animals, and I’d said it en Francais. Half way through the meal both Pete and I went outside to photograph the lighting effect on Midi d’Ossau. I’ve seen better, but this pink reflection was worth another shot. My tent is tiny but visible here beside the lake. It was precisely the same place where I camped in 2013 and 2009. Last year, 2013, I remembered the stone in the water on which I’d perched to wash and fill my mug. There it was again.


Pyrenees Mountains Book: Midi d'Ossau Evening

Friday October 3, 2014