The HRP / GR11 blog series
Rest day in Benasque
Total miles walked: 94
HRP Stage: GR11 Variant day 2
Location: Camping Aneto, Benasque
Last night was not particularly restful. Shortly after moving into the bothy, I realised that it was inhabited not only by Death Watch Beetles (which were incredibly noisy) but also a family of acrobatic mice who liked to caper about upstairs and squeak loud enough to wake me up. The stars were out so I relocated to the lawn. Since I couldn’t be bothered to pitch my Trailstar, I put up the poncho tarp and sheltered beneath it instead. Technically, wild camping is not allowed in the Posets-Maladeta National Park, but since it was after 22.00 I didn’t think anyone would mind.
Despite some rain, this arrangement worked fine until an almighty peal of thunder woke me with a start at about 05.30. I saw lightning flickering over the summit of the Posets and decided to take my chances with the mice.
At about 08.00, when the storm had passed, I continued my descent down the GR11 to Benasque (for reference, there’s a footpath next to the main road so hikers are not at risk from traffic). Benasque is a fascinating town filled with sturdy mediaeval architecture – all narrow alleys, steep tiled roofs, and megalithic stonework. I found a cafe and took shelter just as the second thunderstorm of the day descended on the town.
With today’s forecast I realised that I wouldn’t be doing much hiking, so I decided to take the day off. I’ve resupplied (there’s a supermarket in town, and a very serviceable shop at the petrol station just to the north), and washed my clothes at Camping Aneto, the very large campsite a mile up the road. As I type this, the fourth thunderstorm of the day is rolling around the hills. Tomorrow isn’t looking too bad so I’ll be back on the GR11 in the morning.