Today was a hard one for me. The hardest of the hike. The milage and elevation was on par with our other average days, but I really struggled mentally, causing the physical work to be really hard.
The hotel provided an awesome breakfast which was the fuel I definitely needed. After breakfast we packed up our bags, but a little rubber seal of my straw had come off. All two liters of water in my bladder had leaked out and drenched everything in my bag. We had wanted to be at the local grocery store when they opened at 8:00 and this water issue caused a delay, making me feel really guilty, all self-imposed. I quickly did my best to dry things off, swap straws with our spare, and head to the shoe room to catch up with the family.
We swung by the grocery store to grab mediocre looking sandwiches for lunch and hit the trail. The first several miles were rolling ups and downs and not too challenging. The temps were high and it was so humid, the sweat was just pouring out. Once the up started, I began to really struggle. It certainly wasn’t much harder than other days, but every step seemed to hurt in new ways. I could also feel a shift in my joints and my hips and knees really began to ache. That’s the arthritis in me announcing that it’s going to rain soon. Sure enough, a drizzle quickly turned into a steady rain shower. We were so hot and sweaty, and putting on a plastic raincoat made me feel even yuckier.
Just shy of the highest point today was Alp Bovine. Hikers going clockwise have been telling us about this place for days. The best tarts on the trail is the claim. I think a slice of pie was the only thing that gave me the motivation to get to the top. By the time we reached the outdoor cafe, it was pouring. We put on our rain pants and ordered delicious peach tart. I kept my plate under the table to try to keep it dry. Well worth the stop, even in the rain.
The rain was off and on the rest of the hike down. It was really steep and slippery. I took a good fall and almost slid off the mountain. As I was tumbling I heard Zak yell to put out my arms. Fortunately, I stopped and was uninjured.
All in all, we did 11.71 miles, 2,947 feet in gain, and 3,560 feet in loss.
We’re in a cozy rufugio tonight, a private room with a shared bath. The thunder is echoing throughout the valley and I’m going to bed earlier tonight. Tomorrow is going to be a great day.