Above and Below the World

GR 20 COMPLETE IN 12 DAYS

Summary of the GR-20:

Description

Corsica is a surprising Mediterranean island of great beauty. It has a mountain range that rises more than 2,500 m above sea level, on an island of only 8,680 km2, so it is really a mountainous island and a green lung in the Mediterranean sea, with cliffs that contrast with its natural beaches and coasts of crystalline waters, with large forests and alpine meadows…

The aim of Corsica Above and Below Travelling was to fully discover this island and for the Above, we decided to hike the GR20 to discover the mountains of the island.

The GR 20, is a linear route that crosses the island of Corsica through its most spectacular and wild mountains, it is one of the most difficult GR’s in Europe, or so they say! But also one of the most beautiful. It passes through different shelters and populated areas and can be done in a maximum of 16 days, which we did in 12.

Refuges and Gité stages in the GR20 source www.le-gr20.fr

The original GR20 is designed to be done from North to South, but it can also be done from South to North (as we did). One option is neither better nor worse than the other. We finally decided to do it that way because of 2 main reasons:

First of all, the final northern section is somewhat more difficult or demanding than the southern section and in this way we thought that there would be more possibilities to finish it, starting soft and finishing strong, than if you start directly very strong and maybe not being able to finish it.

Another reason is to finish the GR 20 with the views of the sea on the horizon, after having spent more than a week in the mountains, it is like seeing the final goal, which is really exciting (being this emotion not possible doing it in from North to South) and maybe it gives you the strength and motivation to finish it.

Emotions when seeing the sea in the day before the end of the crossing

Either one way or the other, this journey will take us to travel about 180km with a +/- 13,000 m drop. For this, a minimum experience in the mountains will be necessary (we will go through sections of ridges, chains, long days of route, …) and more difficult if we do it on our own, as is our case.

We will also have to think that we will carry quite heavy backpacks with the tent and food, at least for a day with us, all the necessary material for high mountains in summer (from clothing to safety elements) and to consider taking a GPS is also highly recommended.

Our recommendation is to do a test at home first and try not to exceed 10/12kg for girls and 14/16kg for boys (including that at least 2kg will have to be for the water of the day). More than this, perhaps the first days nothing will happen but as the days go by, it will be more difficult to carry this weight and we may have knee problems or injure ourselves, it is better to try to carry as little weight as possible. But of course this is only our point of view based on our non-professional experience.

Moving forward with our heavy backpacks 

It is undoubtedly a demanding route, but with some training, mountain experience and adequate planning based on our level is totally doable! Also think about that the best timing to do this route would be during summer months when weather accompanies (July and August can be very hot though!!)

Stage details

Below the details of our journey by days with the link to the post, plus site trips and variants to make the summits that we will find on the way:

Stage

Departure

Arrival

km

Asc/Des

Total time

Middle stops

Link to post

1

Conca (la Tonelle)

Casas de Bavella

18,5

+1600/-650

8h

Refuge Paliri

Day 1

2

Casas de Bavella

Corsican highlands (By alpine variant and old GR20 route) 

16

+1600/-1280

10h

Refuge Asinau

Day 2

3

Corsican highlands

Laparo shelter

15

+815/-870

8h

Refuge Usciolu

Day 3

4

Laparo shelter

Casas de Capannelle (U fugone house)

25

1500/-1300

11h30’

Refuge Prati

Col de Verde

Day 4

5

Casas de Capannelle (U fugone house)

 Vizzavona (Monte d’Oro Hotel)

13,5

+460/-900

4h30’

 

Day 5

6 + Site trip: Monte D’Oro summit (2.390m)

Vizzavona (Monte d’Oro Hotel)

Refuge Onda

13,2

+1400/-1150

8h

 

Day 6

7

Refuge Onda

Refuge Manganu (by Tena mountain range)

16

+1430/-1220

11h30’

Refuge Petra Piana

Day 7

7B:  Monte Rotondo option

Refuge Onda

(by GR20)

Refuge Petra Piana

10 aprox.

+1000/-500 aprox.

 

5h aprox.

Refuge Petra Piana

 

+ Side trip: Monte Rotondo summit (2.620m)

 

Monte Rotondo (2.620m) – go and back from Petra Piana

6 aprox.

+825/-825 aprox.

4h aprox (go and back)

 

 

8

Refuge Manganu (by Tena mountain range)

Castel di Verghio

16

+540/-730

5h45’

 

Day 8

8B (if you choose to do 7B)

Refuge Petra Piana

Castel di Verghio

26 aprox.

+1200/-1600 aprox.

11-12h aprox.

Refuge Manganu

 

9

Castel di Verghio

Bergeries de Ballone

13

+800/-750

7h

 

Day 9

9 + Side trip: Paglia Orba summit (2.525m)

Castel di Verghio

 

Bergeries de Ballone

17 aprox.

+1400/-1350 aprox.

9/10h aprox.

 

 

10

Bergeries de Ballone

Asco Stagnu

10

+1200/-1200

7h45

Refuge Tighettu

Day 10

10 + Side trip: Monte Cinto summit (2.705m)

Bergeries de Ballone

Asco Stagnu

13,5 aprox.

+1500/-1500 aprox.

9-10h aprox.

Refuge Tighettu

 

11

Asco Stagnu

Refuge d’Ortu

13

+1750/-1620

11h

Refuge Carrozzu

Day 11

12

Refuge d’Ortu

Calenzana

11,5

+230/-1500

4h30’

 Day 12

Tabla resumen GR20 por etapas en 12 días de Sur a Norte

Below we the most memorable moments or that we liked the most of the GR 20:

  • Day 2: The alpine variant passing through the ‘needles of Bavella’
  • Day 3: Sleep with our solo tent in the Corsican highlands
  • Day 4: The spectacular sunrise from the ushelter di Laparo
  • Day 5: Feast at the Monte d’Oro Hotel restaurant
  • Day 6: Summit to the Monto d’Oro and the views on top
  • Second part of day 7: Landscapes of the Capitello cirque, from the Petra Piana refuge to the Manganu refuge
  • Day 9: Going up the Golo valley with the river and pools of water, with Paglia Orba mountain on the horizon
  • Day 10: Ugh! Day 10 was curious .. better read the post 😊
  • Day 11: Immense excitement when reaching the pass and admiring the landscape at Bocca di l’Inmonita with the views close to the north coast of Corsica, augury that the end of the GR20 was approaching very soon.
  • Day 12: Celebration of the culmination of the GR20 with Jose Manuel in Calenzana

Useful information

  • Arrival to the starting point of GR20 (Conca): Driving to the Gité de La Tonelle and leave the car there in its parking lot for 2 euros/day.
  • We will always find refuges or small towns where we can buy food and water, although we should be cautious and bring food for a day just in case.
  • There is no toilet paper in any place, you can buy it or bring it with you.
  • In the refuges there is hot water, tent rental, free gas and some kitchen utensils, better arrive early to take a place.
  • In summer it can be very hot, take at least 2L of water per day (although in many days we will find rivers and fountains where we can fill up water). Days 11 and 12 are the driest in terms of water points.
  • Oficial website of GR20
  • At the end of the GR, it is highly recommended to rest 1 day in Calvi and visit its citadel:
  • Return from Calvi to Conca to pick up the car at the Gité la Tonnelle:

To complete the Corsica Above and Below Travelling, keep reading the Below!

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 12

Phase 3: 9th-10th-11th-12th days

DAY 12 GR-20: Refuge d'Ortu di u Piobbu, 1.520m - Calenzana, 275m

4h30min (4h in movement) 11,5 km +250m/-1500m

We get up at 6:00 a.m. calmly pack up the tent and prepare the backpacks and go to the hut for breakfast at 7:00 a.m. At this time (it is already a bit late for people who start the day going from north to south) there is no one but us, so we have breakfast alone at one of the tables outside. Today being the last day, we take it easy.

They serve us coffee with powdered milk, bread with jam, 1 juice and 4 cookies! A luxury breakfast for being in a hut.

At 7:45 a.m. we set off, at first a little cold but then we warm up; stone path with slides, descents and ascents through the forest.

Starting the day, leaving the refuge d’Ortu

Starting the day, leaving the refuge d’Ortu

We go down and we find a chain to help us pass through a stretch of smooth rock that is a bit complicated, and little by little we leave behind the high mountain landscape and the stones to begin to descend gently through the forest and along a rural path without any complication, what a relief for the knees!

Hey, this is Paglia Orba!

Down through the forest, overlooking the Mediterranean sea 🙂

We see that the forest burnt down few years ago, the trees are still black, but vegetation has already started to grow and the undergrowth is green again.

Easy descent through forest path

Very nice views of the Calvi bay

Burnt undergrowth

We came across a herd of goats freely grazing. We continue going down, with views already very close to the Mediterranean coast. It seems so unreal so many high mountains at such a short distance from the sea.

Herd of goats grazing

We keep going down and it gets hotter and hotter, in fact it’s really sweltering. We continue until we see the path connecting with the ‘Mare e Monti’ and we see Calenzana in the background, with its characteristic white bell tower. In 30 minutes we already reached our final destination; Calenzana, at 12:00 noon.

Arriving at the final destination, views of Calenzana

Super happy and proud, GR20 completed!

Photo finish at Calenzana

We just met Jose Manuel, and the three of us go to eat together and celebrate with a good beer, the great feat.

Celebrating the culmination of the GR20 with José Manuel, in Calenzana

And we can only say THANKS; to all the good people we have met along the way, to all those we have not met but whose looks alone have given us all the motivation, to all the people of Corsica always ready to help, and finally to the Mountain; majestic mountain ranges that we have been able to walk throughout all these days, that have dazzled and welcomed us, have made us grow and appreciate all this privileged environment that together we must take care of.

THOUSAND and THOUSAND Thanks!

After lunch we take the bus at 3:05 p.m. to Calvi (8 euros per person) that leaves us near the city centre and we jsut go to the hotel that we booked until tomorrow to finish spending the day quietly discovering the citadel of Calvi, and rest!

Citadel of Calvi

Views of the bay of Calvi from the Citadel

And what a pleasant surprise at the very last moment of the journey! Looking for a restaurant to dine in the center, we saw the 2 French friends who we met during the GR20 and who did not meet last night. On that day we “doubled” (from Asco we passed the Carrozzu refuge to spend the night at d’Ortu di u Piobbu refuge) and they went from Asco to Carrozzu and “doubled” the last day; from Carrozu to Calenzana.

They did not look very good, they were red as tomatoes, as he faced a very long day today, with full of sun and without water points.

Very happy to hear from each other, we toast once again to complete this memorable journey.. And for many more! 😊

Celebrating the culmination of the GR-20 with our French friends, in Calvi

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 11

Phase 3: DayS 9-10-11-12

DAY 11 GR-20: 'Le Chalet', Asco Stagnu, 1.420m - d'Ortu di u Piobbu hut, 1.520m

11h (9h30' in movement) 13,5 km +1750m/-1630m

As is usual in hostels, when sharing rooms, and this in particular where the rooms don`t have doors, we have not slept very well. People got up before 4:00 in the morning opening lights, manipulating plastic bags, others snoring … well, you know.

We get up at 5:20 a.m. and go to breakfast at 5:30 a.m., which is already served at this time. We chose the buffet type and the truth is that it is very good (cereals, coffee with normal milk and oatmeal, toast with jam, cheese, ham and scrambled eggs and a croissant type pasta).

We prepare our backpacks and at 6:30 a.m. we are walking, today is not yesterday at all! it is sunny and without much wind, it is perfect!

We take the path just after passing the hut where we still see some tents in place, we take here a steep path that constantly climbs between stones and roots, and where we sometimes have to help ourselves with our hands.

Starting the day leaving Asco

Starting the day leaving Asco

Easy but demanding little climbs in the first section of the path, leaving Asco

It takes about 2 hours to climb Bocca di Stagnu pass (1,985m). From here it is worth stopping to contemplate the views of Monte Cinto and the entire mountain range, in addition to the climb we just made, we can see Asco that looks small down in the valley. We can also appreciate the way down from Monte Cintp we made yestarday.

Views to Monte Cinto mountain range from Bocca di Stagnu

We took some photos and continued our way. Now we enter a spectacular mountainous cirque that with these morning lights and the sea in the background invites us to continue the beautiful way contemplating these textures and pastel tones on the rock.

Cirque view between Bocca di Stagnu and Bocca Muvrella

Moving through the cirque towards Bocca Muvrella

We go around the cirque and come to a second hill, the Muvrella pass (2,000m) where you need to help yourself with your hands to overcome some vertical channels, between large stone blocks. From firts pass to second one it took us about 2h.

Small climbs towards the Muvrella pass

Bocca Muvrella

From here, a descent begins that will take us another 2 hours of slow walking. Right at the beginning of the descent we find the Muvrella lake, very beautiful in this enclave between forest and stone blocks. We go around it, always on a steep and rocky path. At this point we start to find a lot of people going up in the opposite direction.

Going down to Muvrella lake

Panoramic views of Muvrella lake and the sea on the horizon

Little by little the loose stone is disappearing and we now find more smooth rocky strips (which in bad weather or rain could be something dangerous and slippery). It is a very fun section where we find many chains to help the “rappel” type descent. We also find some handrails in the slightly more exposed areas to prevent people from falling into the cliff.

going down with the help of chaind by sections of stone belts

Little by little we go down, with the Spasimata river on our right until we reach the end of the slope where to continue we have to cross the river by a spectacular hanging footbridge, the Spasimata footbridge, which saves the river course of the same name with 10 meters of fall and 30 meters of steel cable length.

Spasimata hanging footbridge

With high doses of emotion we crossed the river on the footbridge. And now there is only a small climb through the forest to the Carrozzu hut (1,270m). So far it has been 4 hours, and the heat is already hitting! In the hut we stopped to rest, eat and drink water, on a terrace overlooking the Bonifatu valley, very beautiful.

Carrozzu hut, frequented by hikers

Terrace of the Carrozzu hut, with panoramic views

At arround 11:15 a.m., we resume the walk, now on a very steep uphill path, and with loose dirt and stone where sometimes you need the help of your hands to move forward, and in very hot and sunny noon.

Going up after Carrozzu hut

Bonifatu valle views after leaving behind Carrozzu hut

Nice panoramic views from Bocca di Innominata

We go up and we arrive at the sensational Bocca di l’Innominata pass (1,865m) where we have good views of the different mountain ranges with a whole network of ravines descending towards the bottom of the great valleys. Here we get excited by the views so close to the north coast of Corsica, an omen that the end of the GR20 is approaching.

Path going arround Bocca d’Avartoli pass cirque

Path going arround Bocca d’Avartoli pass cirque

From here we have the bay of Calvi just in front. What a thrill! We are almost here! The eyes begin to fill with tears without knowing very well why, and the emotions surface, remembering how the time has passed without realizing it, and we feel fortunate for this experience among mountains, the joy of these landscapes, lakes and rivers, and our personal growth that this nature has taught us.

‘Selfie’ at Landrocellu pass

After this introspective and calm moment, we started a descent with a lot of big stone stretches that makes us return to reality and have to pay our utmost attention to move forward, with pain in our knees, along the way. This section, with some zigzags of continuous descent and without any water (we have run out and we do not have water sources during this day) is long and heavy.

It took us about 2 hours to go down, until, after some ruins, we entered forest terrain and after a gentle descent and through a pleasant mixed forest, we already see the d’Ortu hut, with the tents on the side of the mountain.

The forest when reaching d’Ortu di u Piobbu Hut

D’Ortu di u Piobbi hut

It took us about 2 hours to go down, until, after some ruins, we entered forest terrain and after a gentle descent and through a pleasant mixed forest, we already see the d’Ortu hut, with the tents on the side of the mountain.

We arrived at the shelter around 5:30 p.m. We see the ruins of the old shelter burned down and they have replaced it with a prefabricated sheet metal hut. The tents are widely scattered occupying the mountainside with beautiful views of the Bonifatu valley.

Camping area, d’Ortu di u Piobbi hut

From the hut you can ascend to the top of the dominant Monte Corona, following a well-marked path, but our energy is no longer enough!

So we look for a place to pitch our tent in the upper part, we take a shower (with hot water, as always in the GR20 huts) and prepare some spaghetti with tuna, which we bougth in Asco, using gas and pots from the hut.

Our tent slot 🙂 

We see that Jose Manuel arrives, who join us during the dinner and we share today’s adventure, accompanied by a beautiful sunset.

Very satisfied with today’s day, with aching knees, but standing like heroes, here we are, on the verge of finishing the GR20.

D’Ortu di u Piobbi hut information:

  • Tent slot + breakfast in the hut price for 2 people: 34 €

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 10

PhaSE 3: dAYS 9th-10th-11th-12th

DIA 10 GR-20: Bergeries U Vallone, 1.440m - Asco, Le Chalet, 1.420m

8h (6h30min in movement) 10 km +1190m/-1215m

We got up at 5:30 a.m. having slept very well (the tent site that we found was completely straight) and it was also not very cold and the temperature has been very good.

We pack up the tent and at 6:30 a.m. we have breakfast inside les Bergeries bar, bread with jam and coffee with milk (the typical thing here for breakfast), we have breakfast a little quietly thinking about how today will go, since we know that this is the queen stage of this journey.

At 7:15 a.m. we started our way with a cloudy sky, this is exactly what we saw when we checked the weather forecast yesterday in Castel di Verghio, and after 15 minutes few rain drops begin to fall … we don’t like it at all since today we’ll be at high mountains and very exposed, going through the dreaded pass of ‘the Circus of Solitude’, theoretically….

Starting the journey to Tighjettu hut

The GR20 guide book from Desnivel publishing house, which we bought last summer (2019), points out that this stage has an important initial dilema, without the possibility of having any variant that avoids the complicated section, in case of bad weather.

We continue the walk on a stony path until we reach the Tighettu hut (40min), trusting that the 4 drops of rain will not go any further. We take water at the hut, while we ask the guard for the weather forecast. He says that he believes the day will remain cloudy, but it will not rain, although he can’t logically assure it, although he does tell us that the wind will be very strong and even more at the peaks. We asked him about the Cirque de la Solitude and he flatly answer that he would not go there, especially on a day like today ☹.

Tighjettu hut, 1.685m

Very scared, and after agreeing on it, we continued our way. We follow the red and whaite marks when leaving the hut towards Asco and we realize that they do not coincide with the route that we have in our GPS. We are very surprised since the route that the trail follows compared to the route we have in the GPS is really different, which makes us even more uneasy. With no hikers in our sight to ask at this time of day, we decided to continue with the GR20 marks, since so far they have always take us right.

So, we continued on a cloudy day, with a lot of wind and uncertain rain, without any route to follow on our GPS device and with the Hut guard having recommended us not to do the Cirque de la Solitude… come on, really?

Going up the GR20 path

Going up the GR20 path

After a while and seeing the increasing difficulty of the track, in which we have to use our hands in some sections, we take a good look at the Garmin map again, and we see that the route of marks that we are following actually exists, and our GPS says that actually it is the GR20, therefore, a little more relieved we decided to keep going.

So far we go alone and with this uncertainty we go up and up and each time the path gets steeper, until in about 45 minutes we find a small group of hikers going down quite fast and we ask them. They tell us that they have gotten up around 4 am from Asco and it is 8:30 am right now, what a cracks! They also tell us that the road is hard and that the wind is very strong at the top.

Bona jorné!

Going up the path of the GR20, steeper and steeper

We are in the Crocetta pass, obviously we are not where the Desnivel guide book said, nor where we had planned to go, so where are we going? We are disoriented. The guide book said that we were going up to Boca Minuta, but we are in Boca Crocetta at 2,455m.

We rest a bit and we see that a hiker arrives, he seems very experienced looking at his equipment and he is recording with his GoPro, so we asked him about the ‘Cirque de la Solitude’ but he doesn’t know what it is, he says that he has climbed “the peak” but he doesn’t tell us which one and he leaves fast … ok … and what peak did he climb? we wonder.

Beautiful panoramic views to the other side of the valley, from Bocca Crocetta

We continue following the GR marks towards Asco. From the pass we enter a very beautiful rocky cirque on the other side, where there is a small lake below the valley. We go around the circus in the N direction and from here we start to meet a lot of people, people alone and big groups. The wind continues to blow quite strong and we see that people are very very wrapped up, with winter coats, hats and even ski gloves …

Along the GR20 bordering the cirque

Along the GR20 bordering the cirque, climbing towards a hill

We already have an idea of ​​where the GR is guiding us, we continue the way bordering the cirque along a stony path without difficulty until we reach a next pass, Punta des Eboulis, at 2,605m where we find an indication to climb the ‘Monte Cinto ‘and another one to descend towards’ Asco’.

Punta des Eboulis pass, where we find indications towards ‘Monte Cinto’ and towards ‘Asco’

Punta des Eboulis pass, where we find indications towards ‘Monte Cinto’ and towards ‘Asco’

And then we confirm our feeling; the GR20 has changed, we don’t know why, but the GR no longer goes through the ‘Cirque de la Solitude’ but from Tighjettu it goes up to Bocca Cruccetta, crosses Cinto cirque through rocky strips with Lake Cinto just below to drive to the access line to the summit of Monte Cinto, the point where we are right now.

Perhaps they have changed the route of the GR20 in this stage to bring hikers as close as possible to the highest mountain on the island and thus be able to make the summit of Corcega during the GR20 route, more popular and safe than going through the Cirque de Solitude, and well seen in this way, the change seems logical to us.

As we do not know how long it would take from where we are, Punta des Eboulis, to reach the summit of Monte Cinto, nor do we know what the path is like (if there are difficult climbs, etc …) and the wind blows very strong (at the top must be much worse) we decided to continue towards Asco.

Start of the descent towards Asco, from Punta des Eboulis

From here and especially at the beginning, the descent is very steep and slippery with dirt and loose stones, we go very slowly making sure not to fall. We find a lot of people going up, we assume that most of them are only going to climb Monte Cinto, and actually some ask us how the summit is, although our answer is not the expected one, we tell them that we are doing the GR20 and that we have not climbed Monte Cinto.

Beautiful panoramic views down towards Asco, from Punta des Eboulis

We continue our descent until the path becomes less steep and we find a small plateau where the path to the top of Capu Barbo (2,280m) begings, here we stop to eat sheltered from the wind with some rocks, it is 12:30 p.m.

Small plateau (flat) where we stop to eat, overlooking the Punta des Eboulis pass

After resting and watching the clouds how quick pass over us, we continued the downhill to Asco.

From here the stones are bigger and although the slope is steep it is possible to go down better than in the initial section. Further down we find chains to help us go through very steep sections of large even stones, but without any problem we passed, what is more, we had a lot of fun on this section! Although extreme precautions must be taken on rainy days or with wet rock.

Going down the GR20 through a section of large rocks

We will find various chains to advance, without problem we will lower them

The descent to cross the Russeau Du Tighiettu river is long but little by little and with the fun of the chains we reach the bottom of the valley, faster than we thought, to enter the last section of the day, a path through forest of about 2km to Asco.

Entering the final part of the day, through a beautiful stretch of forest

Almost at the end of the descent, before reaching the forest, we meet our two French friends who also do the GR20 from south to north and with whom we have been meeting for several days.

We tell them what happened today and they tell us that the Cirque de la Solitude was closed to the public in 2015 after some mountaineers tragically lost their lives there on a day of violent storms, the French authorities changed the GR20 and diverted it along the route of Ascent to Monte Cinto and they removed all the alpine gear (catwalks, chains, marks and signs …) in the Cirque de la Solitude.

2 years later the cirque was reopened, but without any type of gear, so if you want to do it, it is better to hire a guide. One of the French friends tells us that his father made the Cirque, and he remembers how exposed and risky it was but gorgeous, the most beautiful place he found on the GR20.

More information in the following article:

http://www.le-gr20.fr/en/blog/14th-june-2018-the-opening-of-the-cirque-of-solitude.html

Ugh, after hearing this story we stopped on the side path and think about what mountaineering means. This information makes us grow and learn from our decisions, there are always uncertainties in life, and sometimes you take things for granted and then you find that it is no longer valid. The attitude of acceptance the situation, moving forward and looking for new alternatives and solutions make us create a new course, a course that will drive us our new path.

Thus, being guided by negative feelings such as frustration, fear or insecurity are useless, it will just increase the stress and prevent us from being able to think clearly.

Arriving at Asco, following the forest path

Finally, we continue along the forest path until we suddenly reach Asco, where there are some buildings, a hostel, a hotel and a hut at the base of a ski station. It’s 2:40 p.m.

We stay at the hostel that we booked, ‘Le Chalet’, where we have a room with 3 bunk beds, of which only 2 are finally occupied, with a couple of runners who have started doing the GR20 and want to complete it in 7 days, Waw! They just bring a small camelback, and small sleeping bag. We wish them the best of luck.

The hostel has a small food store, where we buy some products for the next day.

Asco, le Chalet hostel, near ski station

We had dinner in the “a la carte” restaurant (since the menu again consists of a Corsican soup for the first and steak with potatoes for the second …) and we ordered some local burgers from Asco, very good! They are accompanied by potatoes and salad and the plate is enough to satisfy our appetite, although we do not forgive dessert; Apple pie, Mmmmm, everything very tasty!

To say that the service was also very good because we changed the half board to sleep and breakfast, with dinner a la carte and although they had restaurant fully booked, they made a space for us.

During our dinner, we met Jose Manuel, a hiker we already saw in Castell di Verghio but we did not have the opportunity to chat. We talked for a long time, in fact all dinner long! Commenting why we were there and many other anecdotes and all in all this seems to be the beginning of a good friendship that will continue outside the GR20 😊

Jose Manuel went up to Monte Cinto today, he tells us that it took more or less 1 hour to go and another hour to return to the crossroads, but it wasn’t a nice experience since the wind blew very strong all the way, and when he reached the top there was no views at all due to the clouds; the climb to the top was not worth all the suffering and cold he past.

This is what it is, the mountains can be beautiful and wonderful, but at the same time uncertain and capricious. But the truth is that now there is a reason for us one day to return, and thus be able to make the highest summit of this island, which we still have pending.

Le Chalet hostel information:

  • Price of sleeping + continental breakfast in hostel ‘Le Chalet’, 2 people: 112,60 € 
  • Web page link

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 9

Phase 3: días 9-10-11-12

DIA 9 GR-20: Castel di Verghio, 1.410m - Bergeries U Vallone, 1.440m

7h (5h30' en movimiento) 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 € 

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 8

Phase 2: dAY 6th-7th-8th

DAY 8 GR-20: Manganu hut, 1.600m - Castel di Vergio, 1.410m

5h45min (4h 45min in movement) 16 km +540m/-730m

We get up calmly, at 6:30 a.m., we pack up the tent and prepare the dehydrated breakfast of muesli with chocolate, and we also accompany it with cookies that we bring, really good!

Manganu hut in the early morning

We began to go down on a much easier path than the previous day, and in a short time we entered a plain where we idyllically walked in a green meadow where there are grazing horses.

Meadows from Manganu hut

Meadows from Manganu hut

We continue like this for about 45 minutes of easy walking until the path climbs a little, passing next to the Bergeries de Vaccaghia (1,620m) where we see that you can also spend the night in tent and they also serve meals and offer local cheeses and cold cuts.

Bergeries de Vaccaghia

The path then begins to climb over loose stone but it is not difficult. The path goes parallel to the Tavignano river, a natural outlet for Lake Nino and one of the most important river courses on the island. We cross several sections of forest, where the path here becomes easy and we continue walking quietly among majestic trees.

Forest at Tavignano river

In a little while we see that the GR has changed, before it continued on the right river bank (left in our sense), but the new GR crosses the river and advances to the right to take a turn (without much sense in our opinion) to pass through the Bergeries des Inzecche, so we crossed the meadow in the middle to avoid making this turn, a priori, without further interest.

Easy goning GR20 new path to Nino Lake

We therefore continue along the left bank (right in our direction) and along the new GR, on a very easy and beautiful path, between meadows and in less than expected we find Lake Nino (more or less at 2h after starting). We take pictures and rest a bit. Here we find many people who are going to spend the day.

Nino Lake

Nino Lake

We go around the lake and climb towards the Bocca a Reta pass (1,885m). Throughout this section the views are very beautiful, making out the last rocky mountain range that awaits us in the North of Corsica; with the great massifs of Paglia Orba and Monte Cinto, awaiting our passage in the next days … What a thrill!

Last rocky mountain range views from Bocca a Reta

Bocca a Reta

Bocca a Reta

From the hill, the path descends, maintaining for a long time these panoramic views of these majestic mountains. With this good day and walking along these roads, the truth is that we are so happy that not even our knees hurt 🙂

Panoramic views of last rocky mountain range at the North

We enter the forest again, and it is already very hot, so this last section become a bit tedious, although always on an easy path and down or flat.

Bent trees by the wind!

Until the end of the route where we find a last uphill to the left, but it does not take more than 10 minutes, to reach the D84 road, where the hut and hotel of ‘Castel di Vergio’ is located just ahead.

Castell di Verghio

We arrive around 2:00 p.m. and go to the hotel to request accommodation at the hut, on a half-board basis (it is well worth having dinner in the hotel restaurant, with the views of the perfectly triangular mountain of Punta Di Tula (2,143 m), very captivating).

We share a bunk room with other hikers who are doing the GR20 and others just a 2-day walk. The room has capacity for 10 people and has a shower and a sink, without a bathroom, these are located outside, at the end of the rooms.

Castel di Vergio thus has a hostel sharing room with other people, a hotel with double and single rooms and a camping area with for tent or caravan.

There is also a store (small super) where we buy bread, sausage, fruit, … to eat there at the tables outside and we also replenish food for the following days.

We have dinner at 7:00 p.m. in the restaurant, where both the food, the place and the views are 100% recommended. We had a corsican vegetable soup for dinner, a steak with roasted potatoes and vegetables, and cheesecake for dessert. All very good.

Castel di Verghio Hotel restaurant views

Second course at Castel di Verghio restaurant

We grab the breakfast that they have prepared for us for the next day, since we want to leave early. Tomorrow begins the ‘phase 3’ of the GR20, the northern part and a priori the hardest.

Eager to know what will bring us! We are excited! : D

Castell di Verghio hut information:

  • Half board price in shared room with bunk beds, 2 people: € 100
  • Web page link

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 7

Phase 2: dAY 6th-7th-8th

DAY 7 GR-20: l'Onda hut, 1.430m - Manganu hut, 1.600m

11h20min (9h 20min in movement) 16 km +1.430m/-1.220m

We got up at 5:05 a.m., although we set the awake at 5:15 a.m. since outside of the tent we heard many people and some with powerful headlamps wake us up earlier.

We pack up and have breakfast at the tables in the camping area (we heat up the coffee with milk in the hut stoves) and we start the our way before 6.30am, enjoying a beautiful sunrise with the sun rising over the mountains.

Starting the day from l’Onda hut

We go up following the yellow marks through the mountain range of Tenda, a variant of the GR20, which runs up to the Pietra Piana hut. The normal path of the GR20 goes down until you find the Manganelo river, going more calmly through the forest and beside pools of water, until you reach the Petra Piana hut, a very good option if you want to opt for a day of recovery and spend the day quietly taking a bath in this river. We choose the alpine variant to be able to “double” on this journey and finish at the next hut, the Manganu hut.

Although the first idea we had when we designed the plan was to take the alpine variant to the Petra Piana hut (about 4h) and in the afternoon climb Mount Rotondo (2,620m), the second highest summit in Corsica after Mount Cinto. (2,705m), for which it is necessary to reserve 4 to 5 more hours, but we rejected this last option the day before, due to the already noticeable knee pain, and thus advance the GR20 to finish it satisfactorily.

We therefore we take the alpine variant from l’Onda hut through the mountain range path towards N.

Alpine variant to Petra Piana hut

Alpine variant along the mountain range of the Sierra di Tenda, with the Monte d’Oro behind

We go up, always an easy climb, until about 1h30’ when we find a somewhat complicated step, where we have to use our hands to cross a gap. From here it begins a section with more stones with steeper slopes until reaching the highest point of this ridge, the Punta de Pinzi Corbini (2,020m), point where we can already see down the Petra Piana hute and at which time The Monte Rotondo massif and the spectacular set of ridges of the Capitello cirque, which we will visit during the second part of today’s stage, already appear before us.

Turning backwards we also see Monte d’Oro, still large and majestic, which behind us reminds us of the views we enjoyed from its top during the previous day. With these thoughts and full of strength we face the next section of descent, which more or less takes us 1h30 ‘down to the refuge, always on a rocky path and some sections with the help of our hands.

Finally we arrive at the hut at 10:30 a.m. (it took us approximately 4 hours from l’Onda). Once here, we rest a bit and buy bread, cheese and sausage, as well as 2 oranges. A charming woman attends us and tells us that the cheese and the sausage are local. We drink water and after the break we start walking again.

Pietra Piana hut, 1.840m

Pietra Piana hut camping area, 1.840m

The Petra Piana hut, as we have said before, has a full mountaineer atmosphere because it is the base camp to ascend Mount Rotondo, 2,620m (but we must add 4 or 5 hours to the day, which would mean stay overnight here).

So we resume the march, it is 11 am and the sun is already hiting a lot. We go up a south face, straight up the quite steep climb for the first 30 minutes, luckily, then it softens a bit bordering the mountain. Then we face the ascent to the Muzzela pass (where we arrive at approximately 12:20 p.m.)

Starting our way up from Petra Piana hut

Easy stretch on the way up, where you can see the entire Tenda range and Monte d’Oro behind us

Bocca Muzzella views

Last section before reching Bocca Muzzella

Collado de Bocca Muzzela. 2.210m

When we reached the hill we were amazed; what a glaciar cirque! What a rocky needles! What beautiful views!

Panoramic views from Bocca Muzzella

For the next 20 minutes we really enjoyed ourselves. Slight descent, leaving the small Rinoso lakes on the right until reaching the Bocca Rinosa plateau (2,150m), a wonderful balcony that offers a spectacular panoramic view of the great Capitello cirque, flanked by the entire line of teeth of a mountain range that only can be crossed through a marked gap that with some dificulty we can make out just opposite wall, at the other end of the cirque. And it seems almost impossible that we have to go there! But yes, we can indeed see other hikers. At our feet the great lakes of Melo (1,710m) and Capitello (1,939m) complete the alpine scene, typical of a great mountain range in the Alps.

Capitello cirque views

Capitello cirque views

From this moment, facing the entire section to the Manganu hut should only be undertaken in good weather conditions given the high exposure of many of the steps to overcome, which with slippery rock would be very dangerous.

Thus contemplating the beautiful views from Bocca Rinosa, the path continues to go down easily for the first 20 minutes, but soon we come to a steep descent with loose stone and then the path turns to the left towards SW direction, giving way to 2 sections of large rock blocks, one after another, where progressing gets complicated, and we have to literally go ‘jumping from stone to stone’. After this hard stretch, we decided to stop to eat and rest (it is already 1:00 p.m.).

Recovered, at 1:30 p.m. we resume the way along a path where the stones continue, but it softens somewhat until we reach the Bocca a Soglia pass (2,050m). After this section you can see more closely the route that will run through a steep orography. The path now turns NW direction and passes through a ridge also with complicated sections where we have to help ourselves with our hands to move forward and from here we already see the final climbing step, to reach the Capitello pass, always with the beautiful views of the cirque with these rugged pinnacles and the Melo lakes down in the valley, it really is spectacular.

In front of the climbing stretch, the most alpina section of the Capitello cirque.

Thus we arrive at two consecutive climbs (IIº and IIIº). These two steps have 2 consecutive chains to help walkers not used to it, as it is our case. The total stretch is about 7 or 8 meters long a on fairly vertical wall, but with the chains there is no problem, in fact, we climb very well and it is a lot of fun.

Climbing (IIº y IIIº) with chains, about 7 or 8 meters

Once this ‘climbing step’ is over, all that remains is to face the last climb up to the Capitello pass at the neck of Punta Alle Porte (2,270m).

We keep going up after climbings towards Capitello pass

Capitello lake

Reaching Capitello breach

Once at the top, tired but excited, we took photos of these beautiful views and said goodbye to Monte d’Oro that it can still be seen on the horizon.

Bocca alle Porte, 2.270m,  after Capitello breach

Beautiful views of the entire Capitello cirque, with Monte Rotondo behind and Monte d’Oro in the distance, from Bocca alle Porte

We go down the other side of the mountain, towards the Manganu valley, along a very steep path made of loose stone, which makes it quite difficult, especially at the beginning of the descent.

Very steep descent at the beginning of the opposite slope

We always continue descending quite steeply, but with fewer loose stones, until we almost reach the Manganu hut, passing through a couple of flat meadows that give us a break and where we take the opportunity to rest our knees. For us, this last descent is long and tiring, particularly for me, my knees already hurt a lot, we have to stop often and so it takes us about 2 hours to descend.

Manganu valley

Already in the final section of descent, the alpine component disappears to give way to a valley with a river that accompanies the increasingly water-filled path through a very beautiful riverside landscape. We found a spring about 15 minutes before reaching the hut. Further down and very close to the hut, the river forms pools of water where we see the hikers taking a bath, and it is that with this heat we really want to!

River with pools at Manganu valley very close to Manganu hut

We cross a walkway and arrive at the shelter at 5:30 p.m. They take good care of us and we look for a place to put the tent. The camping area of ​​this hut is much larger than l’Onda and with trees and bushes that provide shade and privacy. Here we are not crowded together, this is very welcome! We found a small place located among trees that is perfect for us.

Manganu hut camping area

Tent place at Manganu hut camping area

The showers go very well with hot water, and like in l’Onda, there are gas stoves and tables with benches to cook and eat there. The bathrooms are modern (unlike l’Onda, which are hole-in-the-ground) without chemicals or water, there is a kind of ‘conveyor belt’ where each one has to simply push a lever with the foot about 4/5 times so that the ‘things’ go to your septic tank.

Here, given the dinner experience at the l’Onda bergerie, we decided to eat our food since we still keep dehydrated meals ‘just in case’, but since we see that there are many places to buy food, it is not necessary to carry more weight.

While we have dinner, we meet a very nice couple from Extremadura who are also doing the GR20 from south to north. But the girl has fallen and takes her knee with an open wound, and the boy has hip pain since the second rout day, so they go slowly from hut to hut to complete the route in 16 stages, we wish them all the best!

Very happy for the day today, for the difficult sections conquered, which “a priori” we thought we might not be capable of, for contemplating these unique landscapes so beautiful between lakes, amazing mountain ranges full of rocky pinacless and blocks of rocks and for being able to complete the day with these knees that I hope with all my heart they don’t get worse … that I need them to complete the GR20!

And so happy, we go to sleep in our little tent 🙂

Manganu hut information:

  • Price for camping in our own tent: € 8 per person

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 6

PHase 2: dAY 6th-7th-8th

DAY 6 GR-20: Vizzavona, Monte d'Oro Hostel, 1.000m - l'Onda hut, 1.430m

8.15h (6h45' in movement) 13,2km +1.400m/-1.150m

After preparing and having breakfast in the room of the Monte d’Oro hostel, bread with jam and chocolate and muffins 😊 we left at 6:45 a.m. to start the day.

We walk about 200 m along the road towards Vizzavona to take a path to our left, following the indications to the English waterfall. The path is a forest track set up with ‘multi-adventure stations’ for children and with 2 bars, so the place is very touristy and it is better to go early to avoid crowds of people spending the day there. We didn’t meet anyone because it was so early, and the bars were still closed.

So, we leave the track behind to enter a somewhat difficult path between rocks and roots. Shortly after, we deviate for a moment towards the river to see the English waterfall closely (1,090m) and taking photos while enjoying the solitude of the moment. The views of Monte d’Oro are spectacular under the first lights of the day, making the textures and colors more pastel and striking.

Monte d’Oro, under the early morning ligth from Vizzavona

English waterfall

From here we follow the GR20 that takes us into a wonderful forest with tall and majestic trees and the path becomes “a little more pleasant” walking through this fresh forest between streams in l’Agnone valley.

Edu looks small among the colossal trees of the forests of the Valle de l’Agnone

Little by little we leave the forest behind to start climbing through an area of ​​stones and bushes more typical of the high mountains. We will cross several streams and a surprising footbridge, from Turtettu, while the sunligth already begin to reach us.

l’Agnone valley

Turtettu bridge

The ascent at this time is somewhat more vertical and through rock, but without being technical at all, and 3 hours after starting we arrive at the junction to climb Monte d’Oro, just before the GR20 turns sharply to the W direction, to the Collado de Muratello. You have to be aware of this crossing since it is not signposted and we could pass it perfectly. We have to look for some yellow marks on the stones.

As we were good on time, we decided to go up. We leave the backpacks a little higher than the junction, to be able to climb without weight, and we see that we are not the only ones who have thought the same! We will now follow the yellow markings and the stone piles towards the summit.

Going up to Monte d’Oro summit

The path begins easy, both the road itself and the indications, without problems to follow them. We soon arrive at the passage of a small gap, where with a short climb we pass it and from here there are more stones and the path becomes steeper.

We are advancing at a some point we will have to help each other with our hands to advance, thus reaching a small plain, the Plateau de Scampiccioli (2,190m), a small plateau with grass that precedes the final climb up the southeast ridge, until we reach the summit of Monte d’Oro (2,389m). This final climb is not complicated and little by little everyone can climb it, although in rainy day or bad weather conditions we strongly discourage it since a fall could have serious consequences. From the detour to the top it will take us 1h10′, although if you go at a good pace, it can take 1h. Surprisingly, there are quite a few people there! Some people eating, others sunbathing … and actually it is a very sunny day, also today!

Panoramic views from Mone d’Oro summit, 2389m

Monte d’Oro summit

Cross with altitude indication 2.389m,  at Monte d’Oro summit

From the top, we thoroughly enjoyed the views; all the mountains and valleys around, how fantastic! We take pictures and eat a snack. After resting, we went down the same path, taking 1h, and my knees are already starting to hurt a lot, so I have to advance slowly on the descents.

Once at the crossroads, we take the backpacks again, and we continue the march. It took us another 30 minutes to climb until we reached the Bocca Muratellu pass. To say that the last meters before arriving are very steep and with this sun beating down they become quite tough. Once at the hill, we return to rest a bit to face the last section of today until the refuge, which can already be seen down in the valley.

Panoramic views near the Muratello pass

Muratello pass, 2.120m

On the Muratello pass with the impressive Monte d’Oro behind

We resume the march, now downhill, with a lot of stone and not very pleasant. The knees hurt!

It took us about 1h30 ‘to descend, making a couple of stops in between to rest. Once down, the descent softens a bit to reach a beautiful meadow with good views of the mountains that we will walk the next few days. We continue and to reach l’Onda hut, we have to deviate from the GR20 path to take one last descent, short but steep and at this point, not very appealing. Finally, we get to the refuge (it is approximately 3:00 p.m.).

Going down to l’Onda hut

L’Onda hut camping area

The hut has a camping area and in front there are bergeries, where they serve food (with a small shop to buy as well). We take half board (the food is paid in the bergeries) and we go to the camping area to settle in with our tent. It is still early but there are already enough people and more that will be coming, so better to take a flat place now that we still have time.

After we settled in, we took a shower, saying that they have hot water and the showers are correct. As we have time we take the opportunity to wash clothes and hang them in the sun. Later, hut’s guard “the Italian sergeant” passes by to charge us for the tent slot, and he goes through each of the tents to charge, 8€ per person.

It turns out that you can reserve and pay the huts in advance, we thought you could not and that is what I read in other blogs, but you can do it through the website of the Regional Natural Park of Corsica, or at least this is what he tells us. Although in no shelter we have availability problems, but it is good to know.

Corcega GR20 A&B_Agosto 2020 Dia 6

L’Onda hut camping area

It turns out that you can reserve and pay the huts in advance, we thought you could not and that is what I read in other blogs, but you can do it through the website of the Regional Natural Park of Corsica, or at least this is what he tells us. Although in no shelter we have availability problems, but it is good to know.

In the bergeries we are call at 6:30 p.m. for dinner, we go there at that time but until approximately 1 hour later we do not start eating … they are very slow serving and the place is crowded.

Bergeries at l’Onda hut

The shepherd from the Bergeries goes through the tables with 1 pot of Corsican vegetable soup and a large saucepan, distributing just, and no more, 2 saucepans per person and the other guy, the guard, passes with a tray of bread so that you can take only 1 piece and when it arrives at our table, everyone has already taken theirs and they touch the smallest pieces, what a shame!

After a while, about another hour, the shepher passes out to distribute the second plate and as they have done with the first, he goes around the tables with everything counted; 1 ladle of stewed meat and a piece of semolina, pretty horrible all, but we are so hungry that we eat it.

It is already 8:30 p.m. and since it seems that they are late, they serve desserts more quickly; a large piece of cheese with 1 piece of bread (the cheese is good and homemade, from the goats of the bergeries themselves) and finally a chocolate mousse, also good.

We ask for next day breakfast, which is delivered in a small plastic bag, since we want to leave before 7, where they put us some bread, butter and jam, 2 juices and 2 plastic bottles, one with coffee, and the other with 1 finger of milk … well, actually we expected it even worse, so we quickly go to bed, because tomorrow a long and hard day awaits us.

P.S. Information about the shelters: When designing the route and reading the comments of the people from the shelters on the GR20, we tried to avoid them as much as possible since you eat poorly and few, the bathrooms are dirty, etc … We corroborate that we did not like the food or the service in l’Onda, but at least hot water comes out in the showers and depending on the shelter and the people who use them , the bathrooms will be more or less clean, or rather, more or less dirty. In general, it is said that the showers have always been good for us and with hot water and only in the l’Onda hut did we found the bathrooms quite dirty at the end of the day.

It must be said that in the camping areas there is gas for cooking and in some places even kitchen utensils, which is very convenient! In addition, they also have picnic tables and benches in the camping areas.

Half board price in Bergeries of l’Onda hut information:

  • Half board price in Bergeries de l’Onda for 2 people: 64€
  • 2 people tent slot at l’Onda camping area: 16€

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 5

PHase 1: dAY 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th

DIA 5 GR-20: Casas de Capanelle, U Fugone hut, 1.590m - Vizzavona, Monte d'Oro Hostel, 1.000m

4.30h (4h in movement) 13,3 km +465m/-900m

We get up at 7:00 a.m. and go down to breakfast at 7:30 a.m., which to be honest, to continue with the trend of this hostel, we find it a bit disappointing; coffee with milk and a few pieces of bread with jam, nothing more. Although the service was good and they gave us a room just for ourselves we have not been very happy in general, the food has not been good and the showers hardly any water came out …

Without further ado, we left at 8:30 a.m. and started the day today, which after several days a bit long, today it will be just half day and thus we be able to recover a little.

Start of the day next to the Gite d’etape U Fugone GR20 signal.

We start the day on a forest path, crossing some streams and a couple of bergeries where you can stop to buy cheese.

During the entire course of the GR20 we will find these ‘bergeries’. These are old reformed pastoral settlements where in some cases you can buy artisanal sausage and cheeses. These have water and electricity facilities and you can see even past pastoral arts and herds of goats in the vicinity. Some of them even have a place to plant a tent and food service for mountaineers.

Bergeries di Scarpaccedie

In the second half of the journey (2h), we climb to a small hill, Bocca Palmente (1,645m) where you can see impressive views of Monte d’Oro (2,390m). It is a colossal massif with a triangular shape, very beautiful but impressive! With the encouragement that perhaps in the next day we will climb this mountain, we hasten to continue the march 🙂

Climbing to Bocca Palmente

Monte d’Oro views from Bocca Palmente

Monte d’Oro views from Bocca Palmente

We now continue downhill, which becomes somewhat long and monotonous with the heat that is already strong. We leave the GR20 following yellow markings, at a well-indicated junction that marks the direction of the Vizzavona hill, since we do not go to the town but we made a reservation at the Monte d’Oro hostel, 3km further up, given that the opinions we have read The hostel looks very good.

Down hill path to Col de Vizzavona

Chestnut trees near Vizzavona

Col de Vizzavona sign close to Vizzavona

We arrived at the hotel at 1:00 p.m. and as they still don´t have our room, we decided to stay for lunch, although the restaurant is a bit “high standing”, and with our backpackers look we just didn’t go with the place. Despite this, the treatment is very friendly and they put us at a large table with more chairs so that we can leave our backpacks there.

And we eat really well! Corsican salad (lettuce, tomato, apple, orange, walnuts, 2 large pieces of ham and 2 breads with melted brie cheese) to share first, and lamb with tomato sauce and mushrooms, and trout with pine nut sauce, second and in these dishes to choose the accompaniment: spaghetti, vegetables or potatoes. We chose spaghetti and they brought us a good vol each! In addition to bringing us hot rolls to accompany.

Total that we end up stuffed without the possibility for our stomachs to take any dessert despite we saw some that look delicious! Having said that, the restaurant is not cheap, but for the quantity and how good everything was, it´s really worth it.

Monte d’Oro Hotel

Monte d’Oro Hotel restaurant

Corsican salad at Monte d’Oro Hotel restaurant

Second course at Monte d’Oro Hotel restaurant

Very happy after this feast, we go to our room. It is an annex building in an old house where they have enabled, as a hostel, double rooms with their own shower, there are no towels, toilet paper or sheets, but the price is in line with the service. The decoration is very authentic, “old retro” vibe without reforms and simple, but we like it, and it has its charm.

Monte d’Oro Hostel

Old street sign in Vizzavona

After a well-deserved shower, nap and rest, we went down to buy some snacks in a little shop further down towards the town of Vizzavona, crunch bars, cookies and nuts for the following days.

In the street, right in front of the hostel there is a fence with chickens and we see jays, which come down to try to eat the food from the chicken feeders. We have also realized during the GR20 that chickadees and finches get very close, they are curious and do not care about human presence, the truth is that it is very gratifying to be able to see these birds so close.

We go down to dinner at the hotel at 8:00 p.m. and the menu is very good; Cord Bleu with salad as first, curried chicken stew accompanied by white rice as second, and some millefeuille pasta with cheese cake as dessert. All super good!

Hotel Monte d’Oro dining room.

We order breakfast before 7:30 a.m. and they prepare a tray full of food: 4 muffins, 2 of them very large homemade, bread with jam and chocolate, muesli bars, juices and coffee with powdered milk. We pick up the tray after dinner and take it to the room.

The truth is that the price of half board in a double room and private bathroom for 59 euros, and the food service seems even cheap to us. We have been very good and eaten great, a place to repeat!

So far we have finished PHASE 1 of the GR20, the ‘supposedly easiest’. From here it begins phase 2 and phase 3, much tougher. But we attack them with great motivation. In the following phases we will already enter the highest and most rugged mountains of Corsica… Who knows what will it bring to us? Will the weather be as good as it has been so far? Will we be able to do it?

We will know shortly … We are so excited!

Now we go to sleep and rest to be at 100% the next day.

Information Monte d’Oro Hostel:

  • Half board price in a double room with bathroom at the Monte d’Oro Hostel: € 59.
  • Web page link

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 4

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

DAY 4 GR-20: Refuge di Laparo (free shelter), 1.380m - Casas de Capanelle, U Fugone, 1.590m

11.30h (9h in movement) 24,4 km +1.490m/-1.290m

After spending the night well sharing a room with the little dormouse in the refuge, we got up at 5:40 a.m., to have time to see the sunrise.

We prepare breakfast and backpacks and while the coffee is heating up, we position ourselves outside in front of the refuge, to see the sunrise (at 6:20 am). It was truly a magical moment that we will certainly remember on this GR2; see the sun rise with these rijdish and yellowish colors above the sea in this idyllic forest and completely alone, just a few meters from the entrance of the refuge. Just unforgettable.

Sunrise at Refugi di Laparao (free shelter)

When this magnificent moment finished, we return to the refuge, have breakfast, clean the place and around 7:00 a.m. we start the day, with full of energy!

We take the blurred path that goes up from the refuge, straight up towards the new path of ‘Mare a Mare’, (the path that we tried to go the day before, but as it is already in disuse and full of weeds, we gave up taking another direction) and, in 25 minutes we arrive at the Bocca di Laparo junction.

Camino ‘Mare a Mare centro’ (orange marks)

Once here, we take again the GR20, where the path progresses easily through the forest for a while until we start going up and little by little the forest path gives way to start a more alpine terrain with stones and blocks.

Giving away the forest

Moving towards the ridge with panoramic views of the sea and mountains

We continue, flanking the Punta di Latuncellu (1,720m) and the progress gets very slowly between large blocks of stone. Be careful, as there is a section of about 20 meters, where there are some large and irregular blocks that make it difficult to advance, and in a rainy day, it could be dangerous. After this point, the path is no longer so difficult. We pass two hills of stone terrain but just after the second, it returns for a while a short difficult stretch of rock until the path reaches the Punta Cappella pass (2,040m). Until here it has taken us about 2h of cresting.

Mountain ridge path

Mountain ridge path

Mountain ridge path

In a little while we see the Prati refuge below. We go down quietly to the plateau and to the Refuge (we arrive at approximately at 11:15 am). This refuge has a wide area with good views of the sea. As it is oriented E, we believe that from here it is very possible that the sunrise can be seen very well.

Going down to the refuge di Patri

Di Patri Refuge

Panoramic views from di Patri Refuge

Descansamos, bebemos agua, hacemos fotos y reemprendemos la marcha, son casi las 12:00h del mediodía y ¡hace mucho mucho calor!

Después de una subida corta de unos 10 minutos llega un paseo por una zona amplia de prados muy bonita, y llegamos así al collado de Bocca d’Oru (1.840), lugar donde empieza una bajada bastante empinada, pero de fácil fajar que nos llevará hacia Col di Verdi.

We take a rest, drink water, take pictures and start walking again, it is almost 12:00 noon and it is very, very hot!

After a short climb of about 10 minutes, it comes a peaceful walk through a wide area of ​​very beautiful meadows, and thus we arrive at the Bocca d’Oru pass (1.840 m), where a fairly steep descent begins, but easily going down, it will take us towards Col di Verdi.

Bocca d’Oru

Views from Bocca d’Oru, starting point of the descent to ‘Col de Verde’ (‘Green Pass)

The descent is long, first without any shade and with this heat it becomes a bit heavy, but suddenly we enter into a beautiful forest area, very green (hence the name ‘Coll di Verdi’ ‘Green Pass’) and the progess in its shadow makes it very pleasant.

Beautiful forest in the vicinity of Col de Verde

Beautiful forest path in the vicinity of Col de Verde

After 1h30min of descent, we finally arrive at Col di Verde (1,290m) where there is a hostel, a campsite and a restaurant. As it is 12:30 pm, and we feel like a break, we stop to eat here. We ordered the dish of the day, an entrecote with potatoes and fresh salad! They make them grilled right there. This break is worth enjoying along with a cool drink 😊

Col di Verde

Dish of the day at Col de Verde

Before 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon we set off again, first up in a easy track, but with so much heat and full stomachs it becomes somewhat heavy, but luckily, shortly the road deviates to enter into a beautiful dense forest, full of streams.

We crossed a wooden footbridge, the Marmanu footbridge. After this point, the path go up in a zigzag until it reaches a small esplanade where there is the crossroads to take if you want to climb Mount Renoso (2,352m). We reject this option and continue along the GR20, a path that goes by forest and arrives much faster to Casas de Capanelle, our destination for today.

Start of the second part of the day, by forest track

So we continue along the GR20 in a forest path and at a certain point the path changes side of the valley, where the vegetation recovers from a fire, therefore we feel the warm temperature again. Ugh, how hot! But luckily, we soon entered another stretch of forest with streams that cool the environment a lot.

How beautiful is to walk through the forests of this area, they are green, with abundant water and with these streams between stones that seem to jump between valley and valley. 3 hours have passed since we left Col de Verde and as we are already quite tired, we stopped for a little rest next to one of these streams.

Pool in one of the streams, where we take the opportunity to rest

Finally, the forest path descends gently until we reach the road that goes up to Casas de Capanell. However, we will only walk along it for about 20 meters, since the GR20 path starts again on the left, leaving the road behind.

Here we start a slow and painful climb that will take us about 45 minutes to cover just 1.5km! Due to accumulated fatigue our legs cannot go faster. The landscape is beautiful though, even it is hard for us to admire it…

Last climb to Casas de Capanelle… the face says it all!

Nice landscape going up towards Casas de Capanelle

Finally, we arrive at U Fugone Hostel, in Casas de Capanelle (1,590m) at 6:30 p.m., a place that we see a bit degraded due to the installation of mechanical lifts that constitute the small ski resort.

Casas de Capanelle

Quick shower (in showers where almost no water came out) and at 7:00 p.m. we are having dinner. We must say that we did not like the dinner very much: not very good food nor in too much quantity; Tasteless vegetable soup, beef stew with grits, and a slice of industrial cake for dessert. But hey, at least they put us in a 2 bunk room, just the two of us.

Very long day today, but here we are, we have done it and proud of it!

Information U Fugone Hostel:

  • Half board price in a shared room (even we were alone) with shared shawers and toilets in Hostel U Fugone: € 89
  • Link website

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 3

PHAse 1: dAYS 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th

DAY 3 GR-20: Corsica Higlands (tent), 1.500m - Di Laparo unguarded shelter, 1.380m

8h (6h30min in movement) 15 km +810m/-870m

Descripción del viaje:

We got up at 5:45 am with the tent very wet, and we have been a bit cold tonight. Being near the river and with the rain of the previous night, dew has left everything soaked.

Even so, we pick up the tent (luckily we have a floor plastic protector that has protected us from moisture on the ground), and we have a warm breakfast to replenish ourselves, our muesli and coffee with powdered milk, very tasty! In the beautiful Corsincan highlands

We catch water in the stream below and around 7:30 a.m. we start today’s route enjoying a long time on an easy path between pastures and streams surrounded by violet flowers and wonderful centenary trees.

Starting the day in the Corsican highlands

Violet flowers in the Corsica highlands

We reach the junction point with the GR20, we pass another meadow where there is a water point and from here we begin to go up, by easy track but continuous climb through the forest, where we again enjoy these beautiful trees.

We continue climbing (we have been walking for an hour) and little by little we are leaving the forest behind to give way to the rock, we are advancing and without realizing it we are already walking a rocky path. We found a hill that looks like a window made of rock!

Walking to the Scaddatta crest

Spectacular window in the rock starting first crest

We pass the “window” in the rock and a section of crest begins, it is not difficult, but we have to be aware since suddenly the path takes a sharp turn to the right (not very evident, in fact we pull forward but we realize that we were wrong) and just after the turn, you have to go down on your back through a small rock crack with your hands, about 2m vertical fall.

We go down it easily (be careful if it rains, in this section the rock could be slippery and become dangerous), and we continue until we reach the highest point of this ridge, the Punta di Scadatta (1,835m). Once here we go down, up and down several times through large smooth rocks, granite slabs untill we finally we go down to the refuge di Usciolu. The descent is a bit long and also the heat is already very strong.

First section of crest towards di Usciolu hut

Di Usciolu hut

We arrived at the Usciolu hut around 11:30 a.m. with strong heat. We drink water rest and buy cheese and potatoes (they do not have any bread), and continue the march before 12:00h. Now it is a fairly uphill section, but without any dificulty we go up through sections of stone and sections of footpath.

Starting the second section of crest

Second section of crest

Second section of crest

We continue going down for a long time (it takes us approximately 1h30′) until we reach forest terrain again and then up to the Bocca di Laparo pass (we arrive at 2:30 p.m.). In Bocca di Laparo we stopped to eat sitting on some rocks, it is a wide space where there is a viewpoint with a sign explaining the surrounding mountains and where the “Mare a Mare Centre” trail crosses it.

Bocca di Laparo

Bocca di Laparo

Views from Bocca di Laparoto the crest we just went down.

After eating and resting for a while, we leave the GR20 to take precisely the path “Mare a Mare Centre” direction E, to go to the unguarded refuge di Laparo where we want to spend the night. We follow the path through orange marks and at one point we realize that we have passed the junction, we have gone too low. We look at the GPS and it turns out that there is a new route of the Mare Mare and our refuge is in an old section of the Mare Mare. We continue along the old route, finding some sections already very blocked by the vegetation and we wonder if the shelter will still be there or if it will be closed. With all the uncertainty and fatigue we keep looking for it … until we find it.

And what a pleasant surprise! The shelter is open and there are gas tanks to cook, soap, kitchen utensils, a small table and chairs in the first room, and a large wooden plank as a bunk with another table and fireplace in the second room. In addition, there is a fountain just 10m going down fron the shelter, and we have also amazing sea views. How lucky we are!

Going doen from Bocca di Laparo

Unguarded Di Laparo shelter

Fountain with pipe 10 meters from the shelter

We take a shower with water from the fountain, wash our dirty clothes and let them dry while we relax sitting enjoying these privileged views of the Mediterranean Sea, in this Corsican forest 😊 .. we feel really lucky after this day to be able to find such a place, it is just wonderful.

Finally we eat our dehydrated food with the Jetboil and go to sleep!

When we are turning off the lights we hear some noises in our room. We point with the headlamps at the ceiling and we see a Dormouse scampering along the ceiling beams. It’s beautiful. We search Wikipedia for what they eat and seeing that they are insectivores, we reassure ourselves not without leaving the food hanging from a rope that is difficult to access.

Interior of the unguarded Di Laparo shelter

Interior of the unguarded Di Laparo shelter

Our intention tomorrow will be to get up early to see the sunrise, since shelter is oriented towards the E. Let’s see if we got it!

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 2

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

DAY 2 GR-20: Casas de Bavella, 1.100m - Corsica highlands (tent), 1.500m

10h (8h in movement) 16 km +1.520m/-1.280m

We get up at 5:30 a.m. and take our breakfast (they leave a tray prepared with our name in the kitchen). There are many people (many with new gear and hiking boots that go in guided groups) and a lot of movement making a lot of noise and slamming doors already at this time of the morning. In fact, during the night the people in the room next to us were making a lot of noise and banging until late at night …

Any way we have breakfast with som toast with jam, coffee with milk and 2 glasses of juice (a bit poor breakfast considering what paid). We grab the backpacks and at 6:15 a.m. we are already on our way.

We start on the road until after the town, and when we reach the hill´s highest point, on the right hand side we take ‘the alpine variant’, highly recommended since it will offer us sections of ridge and spectacular views of the Agujas de Bavella, but if it rains, we would have the alternative to take the GR20 that passes through the forest.

Views of the Agujas de Bavella on the outskirts of Casas de Bavella

So we take this variant, now following yellow markings. At the beginning, on the forest path, we pass 2 groups of quite numerous hikers and the path soon begins to climb steeply over stones, it´s a quite a long climb, with spectacular views of the Solenzara valley early in the morning.

Start of the ‘alpine variant’ with the early morning lights

Steep climb over stones at the start of the ‘alpine variant’ (following yellow markings)

We continue up until we reach the Acceddu peak (1,500m) (we have spent about 2h here) and from here we begin to go down around the mountain.

Rocky landscape in the alpine variant of Agujas de Bavella

Fabulous landscape around the Agujas de Bavella in the early hours of the day

Fabulous landscape around the Agujas de Bavella in the early hours of the day

After a new small climb we find a chain to go down over a slippery stone (about 7 or 8 meters long) that forces us to go down backwards, facing the rock while holding the chain with our hands. I did not do very well, but the guide of one of the groups that we passed helped me by explaining this technique of going down with your feet and with your back to the slope.

Chain of about 10 meters to lower a vertical smooth slab

Views of the vertical chain, do you see it?

Close-up to a group of hikers going down the vertical chain strech.

After the chain, it climbs up to another pass, the Alto di a Vacca (1,550) and finally the Alto de Bocca di u Pargulo (1,660m). Turning our eyes back we contemplate all the raised towers that make up the Agujas de Bavella massif, how beautiful! We take the opportunity to stop and eat a little with these fantastic views.

Views of the ‘holey’ Trou de la Bombe, in the surroundings of the Agujas de Bavella

Corcega GR20 A&B_Agosto 2020 Dia 2

Bocca di Pargulu

We return to the path, which surrounds the mountain and begins the descend through the forest, a descent of less than 1 hour but quite long with a final zigzag section until we find our GR20 path again. From here we appreciate the ease of a flat and easy section, also through pine and birch forest. We cross a few streams where we found a lot of people, and in some of them there are people taking a dip, it is not surprising, it is really warm!

It is already 10 am, and taking advantage of one of the rivers, we also make a break and eat a little before continuing to the Asinau refuge. From here it is about 45min uphill and it is already very hot, so the climb becomes a bit tough.

Climb to the Asinau refuge

Asinau hut


Once in the hut we take water, rest a little and go up! Now it is about 2h of non-stop climb to reach the summit of Mount Incudine (2,135m), the key point of this tough stage.

It should be noted that climbing Mount Incudine from the Asinau refuge does not present any possible alternative, so in case of bad weather and rain it would be better to refrain from going up or going down.

We started to go up at 11:00 am with the sun hitting us and with the backpacks full. The climb is quite steep and it gets taller and taller. We are moving slowly through stones and smooth granite slabs, but we are grateful that there are also easy sections along the way where we can catch our breath and rest if necessary. Some sections we have to help ourselves to climb with our hands and so on until we reach the hill (where we arrive at at 12:30 pm). We rest a bit, we enjoy the views and the needles through which we have passed this morning and even the refuge of Asinau, down there it already looks tiny!

This hill represents an intersection of roads; The new GR20 route descends towards the Matalza refuge on the left and the old GR20 route that goes to the right, going up to Mount Incudine (2,135m) and then down the Corsican plateau. We decided to go along the old route and in about 20 minutes we reach the summit of the mountain (1:00 p.m.), where we follow yellow marks, but also the old GR marks. At the top where there is a characteristic wooden cross, we enjoy good views of the mountains and the coast, 360º views!

Reaching the top of Mount Incudine

Monte Incudine summit

Once at the top, we go down the other side, without stone slabs, but rather an easy path, a constant descent in sections with loose stones, but always on a good track.

Easily going down the other valley of Mount Incudine

We go down and the path becomes increasingly flat with slides until we turn abruptly to the West, where little by little we are losing height and the heat returns to be the protagonist. We now enter a stream forest with beech trees and thus we enter the wonderful Corsica highlands.

Corsica highlands

Later we find different streams and all of the sudden we found a footbridge through which we cross the Forcinchesi river. We continue along a pleasant path between meadows with bushes and streams. We find a track that indicates Matalza but we ignore it and we continue on our way.

Beautiful riverside trees in the Corsica highlands

Forcinhesi river footbridge

We cross a first stream and then another. At this moment we see that the clouds that have been forming during the afternoon are taking on volume and a dark gray color. It does not look good so we are looking for a possible place to pitch a tent. And how fortunate we are that above this second stream we find a small flat terrain on elevated (and prepared for bivouac) in a beautiful place, I would say idyllic among these majestic trees and with the small stream just below.

Camp site

We settled in and it just started to rain! We wait for the rain to pass (it happens in about 1h). After the summer storm, we let things dry, we take a bath in the river and enjoy this beautiful place 🙂

Finally we prepare the dehydrate dinner with the Jetboil and with a beautiful sunset we go to sleep very happy.

GR 20 CORSICA: DAY 1

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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