Wednesday, 31 August. Day three
Aramits to Gourette ski resort
Col de Marie Blanque 1035m
We start very early, as this is a big day. It is still dark as we set off through the quiet cold fields with mist lying in them causing bands of white along the hedgerows. Soon we turn off the large road, which is getting busier and start the ascent of the very steep Marie Blanc. Some sections are 13%; many average 9, 11, or 12, over a kilometer. We ride up it all but I suffer later. The top is lovely; all wooded and meadows. We meet at the top and start down together following this was the start up the Col d’Aubisque
The legs are getting more tired. The col is very long and very hot Jim has stopped at the beginning of Gourette ski resort, and when he suggests staying overnight I am very pleased. We happen to be right next to a basic chalet and soon the owner popped out of his door to entrap us. He seems to be a guide alone running a bit of a rickety guesthouse but there is a comfy bed and the rest for the legs. After a rest we walk to the chairlift area and have sunny beers watching a sea of cloud in turmoil rising from the valley and wreathing itself around the tolling flocks on the higher hillsides. We eat there too and it is good although we nearly order the children’s meal by mistake. In the night there is a big thunderstorm and torrents of rain.
The lady of the restaurant has to go out and drive a large white herd of cows away from her grass and flowers. The gang are camped up in Argeles Gazost where we will join them tomorrow as it has been declared a rest day.