The Spanish Respomuso refuge is not far from here. The area was familiar to me. My dinner was about half the quantity I needed and storms were forecast either for the night or next day. I sneaked into the shower as I did last time then decided I would sleep at the refuge as it seemed fairly quiet. I scouted the rooms and asked for one in particular which only had two or three people installed. An hour or two later an elderly couple were there. I reasoned they wouldn’t be any trouble. Half an hour later again a mother arrived with two small boys. That was it. Enough. I was getting tense and unhappy at the prospect of (not) sleeping with snoring strangers and now boys needing motherly attention at six in the morning. Possibly in the bed beside me. I went back to the manager and explained, getting more tense because he was a vaguely hostile person, saying I would not sleep and had decided to camp. He said something about not being a hotel and returned my fifteen euros.

I panicked because I’d emptied out my rucksack then stuffed it all back randomly. No checking off, no mental note everything was packed again. But everything is vital. The smallest thing – your tooth brush, spoon or knife – is important in the mountains.

I stumbled in the rocky darkness seeking a flat preferably grassy place beside water. It was too dark to go far so I took a risk camping near the refuge which is forbidden. I slipped into the lake, my feet got muddy and wet, my sandals covered in gravel, hoping, finally, there wasn’t rain or a storm. Occasionally one wonders why one does this. One answer is for photographs such as this. That’s Teberrai on the skyline. Keep going and you reach Pico Infiernos on the Spanish GR11.


Pyrenees Photography: Respomuso Lake

Monday November 25, 2013