Day 9: Diversion

Shepherds hut – Leruns (via Gabas)
Distance: 19km

Elevation: 300m
Fuel: Mars bars for brekkie (so naughty!), ham baguette, red wine and beer, gourmet dinner (steak, duck, brioche and chantilly cream, oh my!)
So, there we were in the shepherds hut. The next morning, we were afraid to open our eyes in case it was pouring with rain or a white out. But luck was finally on our side and the clouds were lifting to reveal a bright blue sky. 

“Let’s give it another shot,” Mat suggested. And I agreed. We were in a bad place yesterday and maybe the pass wasn’t as tough as we thought. In the new light of day, chances are we’d be able to cross safely to Gourette and get back on track. 

We hustled back up the hill to find the trail, our shoes still squelching from the day before. We zig-zagged up and over the ice to the point we’d reached not 12 hours earlier. But again, the ice and moraine looked impossible. We could probably get over the pass, but the north side holds the snow for longer. If this side was bad, what would we be facing on the descent? 

Cutting our losses, we started the long descent back down the valley into Gabas. Turns out there’s nothing less motivating than going back to where you’ve already been. We had no idea how we’d get to Gourette without crossing the pass. 

Hitchhike? Bus? Hiking on the road? Ugh. All these options were buzzing through our heads as we retraced our steps straight into the bar we’d left yesterday. 

The guy looked at us with recognition and a little confusion, as we ordered two coffees and ham baguettes. “What now?” 

Three hours later, the only bus passed through the town picking us up and dropping us in Leruns, a nearby town which happens to host a Tour de France stage in 2 weeks. We found a small hotel, gorged on steak, wine and chantilly cream brioche pudding, and planned our next move. It’s amazing what a full belly can do for the brain! The next morning, we would jump on another bus to Eaux Bonnes, just 10 minutes up the road, and take a different 20km trail to Gourette. 

We toasted to our new plan and…relaxed. 

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