Above and Below the World

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 1

Summary:

  • Start & Finish points: Conca | Casas de Bavella
  • Distance & duration: 18,4 km | 8h
  • Profile: +1620m /-650m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Route type: lineal

GPS track:

wikiloc

Activity type:

Map of the trip:

Profile:

Location:

Today’s trip represents the beginning of the great journey of the GR-20. We enter into the first mountains of Corsica and with the sea still behind us, it offers us a day with Mediterranean essence passing through paths between pine forests and calm landscapes with views between ridges and ravines.

Phase 1: 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th days

DAY 1 GR-20: Conca, 250m - Casas de Bavella, 1100m

8h (7h 25min in movement) 18,4 km +1.620m/-650m

We get up at 5.30am, we prepare the bagpacks and get ready the car to leave it these days at the Tonnelle, and at 6am we go for breakfast. Breakfast has already been prepared the day before and thus each one is served at the time they want. We had a coffee with milk, some juice, 1 croissant and bread with jam (very typical here). We leave the car keys in an envelope in the mailbox of the Hostel and at 7 am we start the route.

We take the road, we cross the town of Conca on the way up and after some curves, the GR20 path begins. From Conca you can see the mountains looming, how beautiful! With these early morning lights the augury of the GR20 is coming with great enthusiasm and excitement.

Conca

For centuries, the starting point of our journey represented the same destination or origin for the Corsican shepherds in their transhumant movements in search of pasture for their flocks. Our steps therefore coincide with a route that it was consolidated with that incessant pastoral activity and that in modern times has given over to the transit of hikers to ensure the preservation of the roads.

Destination / time indication signal, we will see many more during he GR 20

We see an indicative sign (we will see many more along the GR20) and shortly the path begins through forest and Mediterranean trees, cork oaks and bushes. Well marked trail with GR markings and well milled. We thus arrive at the Bocca Usciolu pass (585m) where there are very beautiful views of the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea.

We continue along an easy path, it goes up and down with these views and we go towards the Punta Pinzuta ravine. There we cross the river that descends with a small flow (we cross it a couple of times, always through forest area) and from here the path begins to rise. We go through granite stones with very peculiar shapes.

Views of the Mediterranean Sea in the early morning

Going up towards Boca Usciolu

It’s already 9am and the sun is starting to get very hot! We go up a little more and arrive at the ruins of Cappedu where we find a sign that indicates a source to the right. We take this path, and the source is about 250 m away. It is a small tube where little water comes out, but enough to fill the canteens and stop to eat a little.

Fountain near Ruinas de Caoedy

At 10:00 a.m. we return to the GR. The path continues up to the Bocca di u Sordu pass and from here the path is steeper and stony. And it is already VERY WARM !!

After the descent the path rises again, but now smoother, also through the forest. And we arrive at the Bocca di Monte Bracciutu pass (915m, here we have been walking for about 4 hours. The views are very pretty! Excellent panoramic views of the granite spiers of Monte Bracciutu (975m) over this great valley that opens up at our feet; We take the opportunity to take some photos.

Going up to the Monte Bracciutu pass

Panoramic views of Mount Bracciutu

If we look closely, we will see 1 ‘eye’ in the rock (to the left of the needles)

From this point we continue through the forest for a short climb and then we reach di Paliri hut (1.055m). So far we have been walking for 5 hours.

This refuge has spaces where you can put your tent. However you can also rent them there, as in any hut. It also has showers, W.C. and a source of drinking water nearby (we will see that this is the case in all the GR20 refuges).

di Paliri hut (1.055m)

We continue our hiking and after the refuge, about 5 minutes north, we find the source. There is not much place to stop, but we sat by the fountain, on a fallen tree trunk to rest and eat our sandwiches.

We take water and from here, there are only 2 hours left until our destination for today! Zigzag uphill trail a bit steep but good trail. We go up slowly and we arrive at the Col de Foce Finosa where an easy descent begins until we reach a forest track (Volpajola track) where there is a very cool river with little fish. We see that there are people with their feet soaking, so good with this heating!

Fountain at 5 minutes walking from di Paliri refuge

A little further on, we take the path again uphill. We climb among very large pines and green ferns, it is a very beautiful forest, and we continue up until we reach another track. We passed a fountain and in a very short time we reached Bavella houses.

Forest path between ferns and pines arriving at Bavella

Bavella Houses

It is 3pm and we see that the restaurant is very crowded, it must be that it is Sunday and many people have gone out and are still eating. We did the check-in at the hostel (we had already made a reservation for a double room) and they have already prepared the room for us. The place is fine, it has double rooms with bathroom and other rooms with bunk beds. It also has shared bathrooms and toilets, as well as a kitchen with utensils and a microwave. Our room is simple, with its own renovated bathroom. Everything clean and correct. We take a shower and go to have a Nutella crepe where we also buy some food for the next day.

Enjoying some well-deserved crepes at Bavella!

We had a very good dinner, on a half-board basis: a Corsican soup (soup with vegetables, potatoes, meat and some legumes), pork with potatoes with mushroom sauce and a creamy dessert, with some Pietras beers for drinking.

All went very well and very satisfied with the day we had today!

Corsican soup in Bavella houses (typical first dish of Corsica)

For butterfly lovers, here you have 1 photo of those that can be found in Corsica:

List of butterflies of Corsica. Painting in Albergue de Casas De Bavella

Info Hostel casas de Bavella:

  • Half board price in a double room with bathroom in Hostel Casas de Bavella: € 100
  • Link to website

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