CORSICA GR20 Phase 3: DAYS 9-10-11-12
GR-20. HIKING DAY 9: Castel di Verghio, 1.410m - Bergeries U Vallone, 1.440m
7h (5h30' in movement) 13 km +780m/-740m
After a night without much rest due to the snoring of someone and another person that comes in and goes out the room, it is 5:00 a.m. in the morning that we can no longer sleep. The nerves doesn’t help to sleep thinking about whether I will be able to overcome the last phase of the GR20, in addition to the pain in my knees … So I get up, get off the bunk and leave the room to go to the bathroom and I realize the starry sky , what a sky! It is a marvel, all full of stars under a black night, where the Milky Way is perfectly seen, really beautiful.
With this image in mind, I get back into bed, almost, since Edu gets me up at 5:45 a.m. We get up, prepare our backpacks and breakfast on the tables outside. We calmly ate the pack that they prepared the day before: chocolate pastries, bread with jam, orange juice and coffee with powdered milk, all very good!
It is 7:00 a.m. and we are already on our way. We take the road and a little further up the path of the GR20 begins on the right. It is a forest path through stones but it progresses well.
Starting the day on the forest path
We continue downhill until we find the Bergeries de Radule abandoned on our left and a little further up we cross a footbridge over the Golo river, the longest in Corcega.
Following the GR20
Footbridge above the river Golo
From here (it took us 1h), a path that goes up parallel to the river begins. We find another footbridge that we do not need to take, we continue on the right of the river in our direction following the river.
Going up parallel to the river
We leave the forest behind and enter a fantastic place configured by a succession of steps that has originated the Golo river bed itself, highlighting some bucolic pools of crystalline water connected by small waterfalls, when we see that, although it is still early, there are already people who soak their feet.
Pools in the course of Golo river
From time to time we stop to contemplate this beautiful scenery while we go up the valley of the river Golo with a pleasant walk, in the background the Paglia Orba looms impressive and the Ciottulu di i Mori hut (1,990m) is already visible very small above us, in the middle of the mountain. But we aren’t goint to this hut, which is the basecamp to climb Paglia Orba pick.
We previously ruled out going up to Paglia Orba to reserve ourselves for tomorrow’s star day, since it seems that the ‘Circo de la Solitud’ is the queen and hardest stage of the GR20 and we want to face it as fresh as possible, although as we will see tomorrow, finally the reality was very different from our plans.
Going up Golo valley river, in the background we can see Paglia Orba
Thus, we continue going up the Golo valley, with the river on our right and at a certain point, we find the crossing with a large red arrow mark, pointing to our left where the GR fgoes up to the Ciottulu di i Mori hut (you have to take this path to the hut if you want to go up to Paglia Orba and to add 2 to 3 hours more to this day’s rout).
Given what it will happen tomorrow and the good weather today, we now think that it would have been a good choice to go up to Paglia Orba, but since we didn’t know it we continued straight on, without taking the GR20.
Up and up through Golo valley
Views to Ciottulu di i Mori hut, under the impresive Paglia Orba peak
Continuing through the valley there are 2 options, you can go up the valley with the river at your left or at your right. Either way, it is a question of moving forward (a little steep climb) parallel to the river until reaching the Bocca di Foggiale pass (1,960m). From here you can see the emblematic ‘eye’ of Paglia Orba, which rises showing a bright red conglomerate as a rocky covering.
We take photos quickly, since the wind blows very strong!! and right here we conect with the GR20 again.
Hikers on the GR20 towards the Ciottuly di i Mori hut, from the Bocca di Foggiale pass, just at the moment where we say goodbye to the impressive ‘eye’ of Paglia Orba to continue down the other slope.
Views from di Foggiale pass
At this point (we have been walking for about 3 hours) we take the path with a very steep descent, in sections we have to help each other with our hands in some climbing, which makes us move slowly (1 hour of descent approximately) and our knees a bit aching, until the path goes into the forest and becomes flatter and easier.
Rest during our way down from di Foggaiale pass
Spectacular views on the way down to Calasima valley
Once in the forest, we stopped about 40′ from reaching the Bergeries de Ballone, our final destination for today’s stage, as we found a beautiful stream, the Paglia Orba stream, excellent to rest and eat a little.
Sitting on the stones of the stream we see a few newts very close! Some are very small, and others are larger, a symbol of the good state of these waters, since newts are very vulnerable to environmental toxicity. We also see large brown butterflies with white spots perching on the rocks of the river. How beautiful! and when you stay in full silence, nature shows. It is worth stopping to look and listen to this environment.
Newt at Paglia Orba stream
Throughout the GR20 we will also see many small lizards and being stopped on the road near the stream we get to take a picture of one of them (it is difficult since they move very fast).
We will found many small lizars in the course of the GR20
Finally, a short climb leads us to the Bergerias U Vallone (1,440m), a pastoral settlement converted into a hut and bar-restaurant with a terrace and very beautiful views of the valley, which offers its services during the summer to the hikers. It also has showers with hot water, a toilet and a washing area. The truth is that the facilities are very good.
We arrived at 2:00 p.m., with enough time to set up and pitch our tent, take a shower and relax.
Bergeries U Vallone bar-restaurant
Bergeries U Vallone toilets and showers
Panoramic views from the terrace of Bergeries U Vallone bar-restaurant.
At 18:30 pm we go to dinner and they serve us first-class starters consisting of some good pieces of fuet, ham and bread with butter, followed by macaroni with meat and tupí-type cheese on a separate plate, all very tasty. Then they serve us 2 large pieces of cheese accompanied by bread and 2 pieces of fruit (an orange and an apple) for dessert.
From Casas de Capanelle we are running into a couple of French friends who are very nice and who recommend us to stay in these Bergeries instead of the refuge of Tighjettu, where people say the food is not very good, so we listened to them and the reality is that they were right. After our tasty dinner and go to bed to rest that tomorrow we have the queen day of gr20, what nerves !!!
Tent place at Bergeries U Vallone
Bergeries de Ballone information:
- Bergeries U Vallone half board with tent slot for 2 people price: 77 €