It was the night before and we struggled to fall asleep. Trepidation had mounted as we could not help but think about what the next 12 days and nights would hold on what we knew is known as the toughest trail in Europe.
The GR20 (Grande Randonnée), Corsica’s long distance trail, is 200km long and traverses diagonally, over and through the rugged mountain range across the island from Calenzana in the North to Conca in the South. It covers over 14 000 metres in accumulative assent and the same in accumulative descent. This post tries to tell our Tale on the GR20 in what we describe as nothing less than a remarkable experience.
Day 1: 12.14 km, 7h32, 1439m↑(ascent), 143m↓(descent)
Trepidation? Perhaps, and fully self-sufficient, including all food and a tent for 13 days and nights (one day back up).
Day 2: 8.84 km, 8h21, 803m↑, 1076m↓
Rainbow promises! Day 2 displayed the grandeur of the Corsican Creation.
Day 3: 8.3 km, 6h48, 819m↑, 664m↓
The Corsican mountains are known to be more extreme than their Alpine counterparts (and arguably more beautiful).
Day 4: 13.44 km, 11h47, 1519m↑, 1504m↓
Summiting Monte Cinto, Corsica’s highest point at 2707m, was an added privilege; as the route today took an alternative track away from the famous Cirque de la Solitude (currently closed) which claimed the lives of 7 hikers on 10 June 2015 due to a rock fall.
Day 5: 15.3 km, 8h07, 812m↑, 847m↓
True colours – hiking the GR20 in late September/early October displayed Northern Hemisphere autumn.
Day 6: 17.3 km, 6h49, 662m↑, 444m↓
The GR20 is famous for its lakes.
Day 7: 20.63 km, 12h28, 1294m↑, 1518m↓
Awaking to this Lunar Eclipse was an unexpected delight!
Day 8: 11.68 km, 7h33, 1196m↑, 1187m↓
Forests were plenty as we made our way South to the halfway point at Vizzavona.
Day 9: 29.48 km, 11h51, 1327m↑, 908m↓
Halfway, and a relief to finally wash our hair after 8 days! 4 days and about 90 kilometres to go…
Day 10: 15.75 km, 6h31, 1147m↑, 994m↓
“Day of the Sicilian Salami!” Received as a gift from fellow travellers in Sicily, we decided to keep it for ‘one of those days’. This was the day – over 6 hours of non stop hiking through continuous torrential rain, gale force winds and freezing temperatures. It went down really well after a rather humbling day out on the GR20.
Day 11: 16.9 km, 8h01, 1054m↑, 1247m↓
Traversing the tops of mountain ridges is what makes the GR20 so tough.
Day 12: 30.38 km, 11h12, 1323m↑, 2212m↓
There’s more behind those smiles as we came to the end of an adventurous journey on the GR20.
We could not resist – completing the GR20 deserved it’s own number plate.
Sojourning so far