Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ciottulu di I Mori - Manganu

Distance: 26km, altitude at start: 1991m, altitude at end: 1601m, highest point: 1991m.

A long and cold night lies behind me, now a long day lies ahead of me. The clouds from the evening before are gone and I wake up to a nice and clear morning. It's a lovely start of the day to look out of the tent and see the beautiful view of the Golo-valley.

Beautiful morning along the ridge to the west for Ciottulu di I Mori. At the top of the ridge I can look out towards Golfe de Porto.

From Ciottulu di I Mori the trail follows the ridge around a curve to the west, before it descends to the Golo-valley. There is another trail that goes straight down from the cabin that will join the GR20 down in the Golo-valley, but I choose not to go that way. The sun is rising over the Bocca di Foggiale and lightens up the verdant hill I'm walking on. From the top of the ridge I can look as far as the Golfe de Porto, and therein lies the reason for not taking the trail that goes straight down from the cabin. In addition there is still shade down in the valley.

Capu Tafunatu and Paglia Orba.

Behind me Paglia Orba is towering above; the mountain has changed its appearance from this side of the valley. Then the trail descends down into the land of the shadows again and I'm walking beside the pastures in the Golo-valley. Further up the ruins of the Bergeries de Tula lies like memories from the past. The vegetation gets lusher and soon the first of the Laricio trees are appearing. The Golo flows quietly past. Green forest covers more and more of the view. My knee is complaining a little bit in the start, but after a while they start to feel better.

I pass the Bergeries de Radule, a nice place where you can spend the night and get food. Though it was just closed the moment before I arrived. Then the trail enters a forest. The sounds of engines can be heard more and more clearly, I'm getting closer to the road (the D84 that leads to Corte) and Castel di Verghio. But first I will have a pleasant walk through the forest.

The Golo-valley in the direction of Ciottulu di I Mori.

Bocca San Petru. Occasional strong winds makes the trees bent and assume grotesque shapes.

Then I stand on the road, traces of civilization again. I'm walking down to the Hôtel Castel di Verghio, tired ski lifts on the other side of the road. The hotel is far from the most charming building I've seen. Anyway, I take a break by the store that also runs the camping place for the hikers. I feel that I'm glad I choose to stay at Ciottulu di I Mori. Additionally the hotel brings bad news, there is going to be a thunderstorm later on in the day.

View back in the direction of Paglia Orba. Clouds are covering the summit.

The thoughts of thunder stress me a little bit and I increase my pace when I leave Castel di Verghio and enter the forest again. It's uphill all the way up towards Bocca San Petru, but the trail is easy to walk on. Up at the pass there are a lot more clouds on all sides. At lot more wildlife as well, a pack of wild pigs are eating behind the icon at the top of the pass, snorting. The summit of Paglia Orba is covered by clouds.

Further up towards the foot of u Tritore the shapes of the trees bear witness that it could be heavy wind up here, they are bent in quite grotesque shapes. The next part is a nice walk along the ridge that is called Serra San Tomaghiu. Down in the valley I can discern the contours of the ugly hotel emerge from the woods.

The beautiful Lac du Ninu.

Reaching the Bocca â Reta, a flat pass with dry grass, I can feel the tension rise. I'm nearing the Lac du Ninu. I can also feel a raindrop on my skin. It looks like I'm running out of time to be able to enjoy my lunch by the side of the lake without being wet. The lake is the source of the Tavignanu-river, from here the water is running all the way down to Corte and then further on.

It's not hard to understand that many are putting Lac du Ninu high up on the list over the greatest sights along the GR20. The blue colored water is surrounded by verdant fields, with mountains stretching above them. Horses and cattle are grazing by the waterside. It's a popular place, for both tourists and locals. The lake lies at an altitude of 1743 meters. It's absolutely beautiful here; it would have been even more idyllic with a clear sky.

Horses by the Lac du Ninu. These ones came straight up to me where I sat trying to eat lunch.

Just when I'm about to start cutting up the sausage I'm having for lunch, I'm interrupted by a small horse. It walks quite brash and rude almost straight up to my face, clearly for want of food. When I'm finally able to shake it off me, five more are approaching. I surrender and evacuates to a place a little bit further away from the waterside.

View over to the Refuge de Manganu. Heavy clouds over the landscape.

Hikers and other people are walking around the lake on all sides. The grass is soft to walk on, but it's also quite wet. And it's going to get wetter apparently; the silence is broken by a large thunderclap. Raindrops are making small rings on the water. I finish up eating and start to walk towards Refuge de Manganu. Later when I'm looking back, there is blue sky over the lake.

The trail down towards the Bergeries de Vaccaghja is a pleasant walk through sparse trees. To the east a valley goes in the direction of the Refuge de Sega, the Tavignanu-valley and further on towards Corte. The Bergeries de Vaccaghja is an auberge mostly used by people on horsebacks. It's starting to rain when I'm taking shelter under the roof on the terrace. While I'm enjoying a Corsica Cola I'm looking through the rain towards Manganu, today's destination.

Refuge de Manganu.

There are a lot of people at Manganu, which makes for a little chaotic, but nice evening. In a short break from the downpour I get to pitch my tent, before it seconds later starts to pour down again. Inside the cabin there aren't enough spaces for everyone to sit down, but most of the people seem content to be sheltered from the rain. I can only imagine how it will be here during the summer when there are even more people. The rain turns into hail.

A dramatic sunset at Manganu, the horse more interested in us.

Later in the day there is a pause in the rain; small clouds are drifting along the mountains on all sides. People are going out. The sun is going down in a dramatic way beyond the mountain. Despite the rain and thunder at the end of the day, it turned out to be a nice day, though I stressed a little bit more than I should have. The stress was probably induced by the spell of bad weather earlier. Lac du Ninu was a highlight of the walk so far, even though I didn't get so much time there as I wanted.

The tent has held its ground and it's dry inside when I go to bed, outside it is dark and quiet. I hope for good weather tomorrow, for ahead of me lies one of the stages that I've really have been looking forward to. A horse runs at full speed through the camp, I'm not sure if I feel completely safe.

<- Paglia OrbaPetra Piana ->

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