/ˈzēˌrō/
(noun)
  1. No quantity or number; naught; the figure 0.
  2. A day in which no miles are hiked.

Our first summit!

written Aug 8, 2019 @ 07:58 PM after hiking 22.50 miles

Oh boy, what a terrible night. Not earwig-terrible, but still bad. An hour after I fell asleep, we had a family of horses (bells and all) decide the that grass we were sleeping on was the best grass on the entire mountain range. Crash got up and chased them off, but they came back an hour later. I got them to leave, but they returned even faster. However, when I got up and flapped my towel at them, they got startled and took off for good. Yay, sleep!

Then, it was super duper windy, which didn't bode well for either of our tarps. And the bad part was that it started to rain, so the tarps were necessary. However, around 5am it stopped raining, so we both took down down our tarps at 6:15 or so and got an hour of sleep because we'd need it.

Then disaster struck: I tore my sleeping pad. After dozens of trips and more than a thousand miles, it finally reached its literal breaking point. Crap. I reached out to my awesome friend Ari in Paris and asked her to start doing some research on options and we got to hiking. (It was at this time Crash realized that his bandana blew away in the windstorm. Damn.)

Bedtime (6:22am)

Pretty sunrise once we got up though!

We got to hiking towards our first peak, Pic d'Ohry. This peak was stunning in the horizon and I was excited to see what it was like to climb.

But first we had to get there. And thankfully, the weather was cooperating: clear skies and a positively howling wind. At least it's better than hot and humid and still!

Crash starting the sweeping bowl traverse

After a large -- but gradual! -- climb, we were at the foot of the peak. The climb was stunning: it was a sharp knife edge with no alternative.

Crash starting up the lower knife edge, with the sharp edge in the background

After some serious scrambling, we found ourselves on the actual knife edge. Thankfully (because of the wind) we didn't walk the actual ridge, but it was still quite the sight (and you could go look over any time you wanted, which I often did).

Sheer drop off to the left

When we got to the top -- 2017 meters -- we remarked that it didn't feel like we had just climbed an extra 600 meters. Maybe it was the dry air or the humidity or the scenery or our fitness or the grade, but it just felt like a good hike.

And what a view we had!

After we had some "lunch" (really snacks, meals out here are just different) we headed down the other side. It was fairly similar, but not as dramatic of a ridge.

I don't know if I'll ever tire of these views

Once we reached the parking lot, we set off cross country. Our goal was to reach the end of day 8 in the book, and we were only a third of the way through day 7.

But first we had to make some friends.

<3

After that, we just cruised through the miles -- crossing valleys, jumping fences, going through forests.

At one of our stops to get water from a spring, we patched up my pad as best we could -- we'll see if four-year-old epoxy still works.

I can't believe walking through these all day is my life

We literally had to jump electric fences

Forests were a very welcome reprieve from the sun.

We ended the day with a hellacious brutal climb over a pass. Oddly enough, the elevation gain was almost exactly what we did this morning, but it was missing a lot of the crucial ingredients. In particular, it didn't have a well-worn trail or dramatic views. That's not to say it wasn't pretty, but it wasn't the same. There also wasn't a wind keeping us cool and we had the sun brutally beating down on us (we were both pretty scorched from today).

Oh well, we eventually got over the pass and into a camp with a wonderful ice-cold spring right next to it, and a nice grass turf to fall back on in case my patch doesn't hold.

Crash looking at the pass we need to cross