Today’s walking was delightful. We walked into alpine territory reaching 1542 m. We covered a range of terrains from forest, to Nordic ski runs, alpine meadows and heathers. The biggest delight was the acres of wild daffodils. They were above the snow line and just covered hectares in single flowers. We were enchanted. I carried daffodils as my wedding bouquet so I felt it was very special.
The climbing was well graded so no major grunts except after lunch. By that stage I was tired and hungry because we had only one pastry each and a bit of apple for breakfast. Just when I was about to eat my elbow the cafe at Col des Beal (a pass) appeared. I had been very sceptical because the first pass we came to, the place wasn’t open yet. I had face timed Jonathan and Ziggy while we were there but it was really cold and the mists were coming in. I could barely believe there would be an open cafe after our usual experiences.
Lunch was very satisfying with pasta, sausage and salad and coffee! Peter was feeling tired and Karen tried to get him a lift but to no avail so he needed to keep walking. They took the road and Andy and I took the GR3 up the mountain. Looking at it I felt tired but it wasn’t as bad as it had seemed. In fact all the hills were pretty easy though at first glance they seemed intimidating. We walked, and walked and for the first time we actually met people. A walker, some mountain bikers, some horse riders with a pack animal as well, a dune buggy type of car, a Nordic skier in training. Later we passed a family where the mother was passed out on the grass, the dad was looking bushed and the kids full of energy. We did have a concern for them as it was quite late in the day. It was a busy day on the mountain and as the day wore on we had several stops with packs off and lying on the grass. We were all beginning to think where is this next Gîte? The path was flat now but seemed to go on for ever. I saw another hill and thought, ‘ I can’t walk any further, I will pitch the tent here!” But of course the Gîte was just there off the road and it is wonderful. Very modern, friendly owners and great food. And a bar! We treated ourselves to beers and fancy tonics. It was a gorgeous walk but we were done. The woman from last night just walked to the first pass and stayed. Wise woman.