I walked here from refuge Ayous and the day was cloudy and rainy. For a short moment the rain was torrential and I retreated to the shelter of a large boulder. I considered a distant hut, retreating further, and staying there for the night. I wouldn’t survive that kind of rain. It lessened, became light, then increased again as I reached Col de Peyregret and descended to Pombie. There was nothing to see. I waited at the col for photographs. It became worse.

My sandal covered feet were cold and wet for the evening. Goretex socks are not very effective. It was unpleasant when I eventually left the hut to sleep in my cold, wet tent which took me forty minutes to find in thick mist. I tried, got lost, went back to the hut for directions, and they fortunately understood my description. Over there, in the dip at the end of the slope. The same place I camped in 2009. Fortunately she spoke English.

Dinner was pleasant with three Canadian ladies I’d met two days ago, and a German party one of whom was Taiwanese but lived in Germany. I love Europe, she said, because it’s so diverse. She struggled with the walking and injured herself a few days later. Her head cover was a winter fleece hat when the temperature was in the eighties. You become disoriented in the mountains with sensations you’re not used to. I’ve been ill a few times with heat stroke. I’ve taken the wrong route and got lost. I’ve escaped dangerous conditions – cold, wet and wintry in summer – because of luck rather than skill. Every hill walker has their stories.

Halfway through dinner one of the Canadian ladies noticed the evening light in the window behind me. I stopped eating and immediately went outside for photographs and video. This effect lasted only five or ten minutes. It redeemed the day.


Pyrenees Mountain Photography: Pombie Panorama

Saturday May 2, 2015