“We might regret it” she said. I was discussing the mountain huts where people eat and sleep in Corsica. I had a tent. Sleeping possibly shoulder to shoulder with snoring strangers is my idea of hell. Use ear plugs people say. They don’t work, they’re uncomfortable, and not entirely the point. It’s not only about noise.

Some huts in the Pyrenees are nothing more than a room with a sleeping platform. It’s the same in the Alps. I was there some years ago and considered a two day walk but it entailed using a hut. A couple, based at Wengen as I was, undertook the walk then confirmed my doubts. They were crammed on a sleeping platform, didn’t sleep, felt ill the next day. I spoke to them the day after that and the woman was still not recovered. It’s a distressing subject when people don’t understand you and then don’t accept you have this kind of experience. It’s not fanciful although you see, sometimes, that’s what they’re thinking.

I enjoy the conversation at mountain huts. There’s usually a happy, lively, convivial atmosphere. Smiling faces and laughs. This is a typical scene for it. I’d just spoken with the guardian about my vegetarian needs. He could give me cous cous, he said. Then I went and sat outside at the table. Two British people, a Dutch lady, three French. I saw the Dutch lady a few days later, descending a hillside very slowly down to Haut Asco. She wasn’t on her own as I thought but with a friend who was vegetarian like me. I walked a little with a girl from Quebec (her first hill walking ever) who told me.

As I sat in my tent a few people walked down the hillside enjoying the sunset. I think I’d enjoy a tent, one of them said, sleeping inside your little cocoon. But if I used one, she said, I wouldn’t carry so much. There was a beautiful sky here later in the evening. Vivid orange merging into dark blue with a bright crescent moon.


Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu

Monday September 14, 2015