July 21st

Welp, today did not go as planned, but I'm sure not complaining at all! We left the house at 8am to make the 1hr drive back to the trailhead. It was foggy and rainy, but from the forecasts, it seemed it would be clearer at the trailhead. The Pyrenees are tricky because weather can be quite isolated. It can be storming in one valley and sunny in another. 

As we drove, there was hope with breaking clouds and bright blue sky. We crossed over to the Spain side of the Pyrenees, and the defining moment was when we went through a long tunnel that spit us out on the other side of a mountain. Unfortunately, instead of clearing skies, we found ourselves in steady rain. We parked at the trailhead and decided to wait hopeful it was going to clear. The weather seemed that it would be clearing as the day continued. 

As we sat there, a handful of cars arrived. They were all older hardened Spaniards who confidently got out of their cars and prepared to hike getting their layers on and donning their packs. I commented that I was feeling like a wimp as I wasn't even getting my shoes on. Lightning struck many times down one valley and thunder rumbled about 3-4 seconds after each strike. Still hopeful it was moving off, we waited. I laced up my shoes and stepped outside with Paul and Chantal. 

Then a cloud came over us, it rained steadily, and more thunder and lightning came. Just as quickly as the people arrived, they all jumped in their cars and were gone. It was quite comical. We agreed to 15 more minutes to see if it would pass and it wasn't going anywhere. We looked up the weather the best we could close to the trail and it was now saying it would go on much longer into the day instead of clearing. Back home we went for my second zero and more chocolate ice cream! Village vortex!

It isn't tough to enjoy a zero here at Paul and Chantal's with how relaxing it is. However, it is tough for me to not feel like I should be doing something. When we first got home, it was still quite dreary, but then blue skies came out for the afternoon. I had to keep reminding myself that it was probably raining and possibly storming where I would have been hiking. 

To feel productive, I took advantage of having a computer accessible. As a substitute teacher, there are basic trainings (child abuse, blood borne pathogens, workplace ethics, etc) that need to be renewed online each summer. I took time to complete those that have been posted thus far, and it felt great to get those done. I also did some behind the scenes blog stuff that is needed, but I'd been pushing off. Also really great to get that off the to do list. Believe it or not, very little time was spent on shows. I've watched some of the new Netflix series, "Friends From College." It's stuck on one storyline, but has potential and I'm waiting to see if it expands a bit. 

Paul and Chantal have picked such a calm and relaxed place to live in retirement. I feel like I could totally retire in a place like this. The food, oh man, the food. I think I may be rolling down the trail if I'm not careful. The French eat so differently. I'm learning to pace myself with so many parts to the meal. The range of local food they have is pretty remarkable. Just in my two days here, I had trout, lamb, steak (twice!), and veal. They couldn't convince me to drink the healthy vegetable juice they had and the champagne is waiting to be popped for Why Not and Jim, but I did eat cantaloupe with each meal, tried some cheese, fruity desserts, and great salads (green salad, tomato and goat cheese salad, and a cucumber salad). The chocolate ice cream was my chocolate milk substitute. 

Let's see, what else. Oh, we waited for Why Not to push her inReach again to see if the weather impacted them at all. They landed at the next refuge and will be here in two more days. We called the refuge and got to chat again, which is lots of fun. They did have some hard rain in the morning, but it cleared enough to make for an awesome day for them, thankfully. I look forward to those photos. 

We also did my resupply at the grocery store. This second zero pushed me to where I'd land in the town I next need to resupply in on a Sunday. No bueno, as the store would close early before I'd get there. Turns out it aligns with when Paul and Chantal will be driving that way to get Why Not and Jim. We arranged for a spot and time to meet, and they are bringing me my resupply for the biggest gap between resupplies. The timing just worked out perfectly! So, for sure tomorrow, I'm hiking out. Really, I am! This village vortex is dangerous…

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