Done in June 2011.
Link to the all photos here (90 images)
The expedition video:
So, after arriving by plane to Nice, spending a night there, and next day on a ferry to Calvi, this is the summary of how our adventure went after that:
DAY 1, STAGE 1
*Calenzana -> Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu (high level)
*Walking time 5:45 – 12:15
As always it was very exciting first day of walking. Or should I say scrambling, crawling, climbing… anyway it was everything else than ordinary hiking. So rugged was the terrain. Though later days would reveal even more difficult paths to come. The ascent was very heavy but the amount of people was more suprising. The camp sites at Calenzana and later in Piobbu were quite full. I would imagine Everest base camp having similar bustle and anxiety around.
DAY 2, STAGE 2
*d’Ortu di u Piobbu -> Refuge de Carozzu (high level)
*Walking time 5:30 – 12:15
We left right after the first light and it was a good choice -there was quite a race for the tent spots at Carozzu!! I didn’t really like that but it was perhaps one of the smallest refuges for camping. Jack was feeling feverish again in the evening and that was not good news at all.
DAY 3, STAGE 3
*de Carozzu -> Haut Asco
*Walking time 5:30 – 13:30
We wanted to go as slowly as possible, not to raise our heart beat and so to test how Jack would feel in the evening. Not good was the answer and a rest day would look almost certain. Pity that such a dark clouds were hanging over our expedition so early… what if the rest day would do no good? Questions and more questions, especially because we had no clue what was raising the fever. Well better not to worry too much before hand, especially after such a beautiful day as this day was. The shaky suspension bridge and Spasimata slabs, never forget.
DAY 4, ASCENT OF MONTE CINTO
*Haut Asco -> Monte Cinto -> Haut Asco
*Walking time 7:20 – 16:20
The rest day didn’t go as we planned it. Jack was resting and it made miracles to him but for me and my comrade Patagonian Scrambler it became quite tough day. The highest mountain of Corsica was not that piece of cake but I’m glad we did it.
DAY 5, STAGE 5 & (6)
*Haut Asco -> Refuge de Ciottulu di I Mori
*Walking time 5:30 – 17:15
The whole team was ready and in good shape again to tackle the most daunting part of the GR20 – Circue de la Solitude. Previous day had prepared us well with difficult scramblings and dealing with heights but still we sighed for a relief when it was done. Our plan was to keep going and we did so until the half way of the next stage and spent the night at di I Mori.
DAY 6, STAGE (6) & 7
*de Ciottulu di I Mori -> Refuge de Manganu
*Walking time 6:30 – 16:15
One and a half stages ahead though our alarm sucked this morning and badly, no idea why. One hour delay and long lunch break at di Verghio made this day long as well.
DAY 7, STAGE 7 & 8
*de Manganu ->Refuge de l’Onda (high level)
*Walking time 5:20 – 17:10
We left early again. It was still dark when taking the first steps but the choice was good since we ended up doubling up the two stages. Petra Piana didn’t look that tempting at all and we decided to take the high route variant to l’Onda. At the end of the day there was terrible descent for my knees but the coming half way point of Vizzavona was drawing near and one could feel it at the refuge l’Onda which was busier than anywhere else so far!
DAY 8, STAGE 9
*de l’Onda -> Vizzavona (low level)
*Walking time 6:30 – 15:00
Spirits were high this morning and we could already smell the pizzas and beers of Vizzavona, the true oasis along the GR20. How wrong I was!!! Something weird started crawling in my stomach and in the afternoon going was already quite difficult. I made it to Vizzavona but couldn’t eat anything, no pizzas no beers. After laying down a while I vomited and cried. Was this the end of the full gr20, because bad stomach flu or even diarrhea could take more days to recover than we were able to rest… the night felt with great uncertainty.
DAY 9, STAGE 10 & 11
*Vizzavona -> Bocca di Verdi
*Walking time 8:45 – 20:15
Fortunately I didn’t threw up anymore and I felt strong enough to move on in the morning. The next stage should be easy enough. I felt still very weak because had eaten pretty much nothing but the body had some reserves left, even enough to tackle the second stage of the day, which was a bit foolish I think. In the evening I was complitely done.
DAY 10, STAGE 12
*Bocca di Verdi -> Refuge d’Usciolu
*Walking time 7:45 – 16:40
After an exhausting day this stage felt good to hike and it offered some beautiful landscapes to admire. I was still really low on energy but at least I had my appetite back a bit. The end was near already and as I had been feeling quite weak it gave extra boost for the morale. We had to plan a bit the following days because it seemed arriving to Conca on late saturday or sunday would made us stuck there because of the few bus connections.
DAY 11, STAGE 13 & 14 (low level)
*d’Usciolu -> Village de Bavella
*Walking time 6:30 – 18:15
Second to the last day of walking and we were feeling great. In some way it was also good to be close to the finish line. The day was quite long and strenuous in the end because of the double episode but the rainbow really ended to the village of Bavalle. We slept in a dormitory of a cafe, the first non-tent night since Nice, and ate some really nice pizzas! We felt this was a perfect place to celebrate the almost finished gr20.
DAY 12, STAGE 15
*Village de Bavella -> Conca
*Walking time 5:00 – 11:00
We had a bus to catch at 13:30 so no time to waste. We left while still dark and ate the breakfast on the route. The last day was pure joy though there were some difficult parts to navigate in the thick bushes. Even the descent was not that bad as the profile might have let you to think.
Conca, that paradise on the other side of the island which became only a bus stop to us, was truly a welcoming sight after almost two weeks spent on the tough Corsican mountains. No it was time to move on to the beach of Bastia…
GR20 Expedition 2011:
Mr. Jack Wolfskin, mr. Patagonian Scrambler and myself. Thanks guys, and greetings to all the great people met on the trail!
(Video report will follow also)