The temperatures have dropped, and after being pretty spoiled in January with quite a few sunny days of +15 C., February hit, and the forecast for the next week is highs of +5. Snows are coating the lower ranges. The budding blossoms tempted out in January are probably a bit regretful. The mimosa trees are my favorite, the whole tree turns bright yellow, glowing balls of sunshine scattered about.
Tris managed to squeak in a trip up Canigou in the snow while the temperatures were mild. Snowshoes and food for two nights, planning to stay at the refuge below the peak.
The plan? Text me with updates and when he’d be returning. The reality? Me, spending 50 hours gnawing my fingers while radio silence reigned, picturing a crumpled body at the bottom of a steep cliff, getting covered with snow, being chewed at by gristly wild boars. I remembered how steep and sheer the final scree slopes are from my own November climb. Ice covered and in a high wind: not easy. Kept looking up at the mountain, wreathed in dense clouds. Probably snowing up there, I’d muse. Must be chilly.
After about 50 hours a text came buzzing in, interrupting my (unpleasant) daydream of searching for the corpse. “Sorry! Haven’t been able to get a signal. Took two days. Can you pick me up in Taurinya in a couple hours? Melting snow for coffee.” I hopped around alternately shaking my fist and grinning, and went to check the charts on the wall for Taurinya, a little mountain village.
Then there was his reality. Couldn’t get to the top the first day, and it took the entire day to go up and back on day two (instead of an afternoon) since he was, from the sounds of it, clinging on all fours gingerly working his way along: like when you get to far to turn around but the way forward is sheer ice and steep slopes.
I went and collected mountain man who was hungry and fine though had nicely sunburnt lips. Apparently Canigou had spent the 3 days in sunshine, warmer than down below, sleeping in the refuge was overly hot, and he was looking down on the clouds around us! Lucky guy.
So here he was, safe and sound. Hurray! Not two days later in our backyard playing soccer with Jordan he twisted his ankle, resulting in a bad sprain and nastily swollen purple foot. He’s been limping ever since.