Saturday, September 22, 2012

GR20 Corsica


GR20 or Fra Li Monti as it is also called is said to be the toughest long distance trail in Europe. This is a 180km long trail that traverses the island of Corsica diagonally from north to south. Considered to be one of the most beautiful mountain trails in Europe, it is also the most difficult of the various GR routes according to many. The starting point of GR20 is the small village of Calenzana in the north, ending at the likewise small village of Conca in the south. Vizzavona marks the end of the northern part, and the beginning of the southern part. When finishing the trail, hikers will have traversed about 10 000 height meters, usually using around 15 days to complete.

In the fall of 2012, I set sails to Corsica to hike the GR20, a step up in terms of difficulty from last years Camino in Spain. Here you will find my tale from the Corsican mountains:

Day   1 (28.08):Calenzana - Ortu di u Piobbu
Day   1 (28.08):Monte Corona
Day   2 (29.08):Ortu di u Piobbu - Carozzu
Day   3 (30.08):Carozzu - Haut Asco
Day   4 (05.09):Haut Asco
Day   5 (06.09):Monte Cinto
Day   6 (07.09):Haut Asco - U Vallone
Day   7 (08.09):U Vallone - Ciottulu di I Mori
Day   7 (08.09):Paglia Orba
Day   8 (09.09):Ciottulu di I Mori - Manganu
Day   9 (10.09):Manganu - Petra Piana
Day 10 (11.09):Monte Ritondu
Day 10 (11.09):Petra Piana - l'Onda
Day 11 (12.09):l'Onda - Vizzavona
Day 12 (13.09):Vizzavona
Day 13 (14.09):Monte d'Oro
Day 14 (15.09):Vizzavona - E Capanelle
Day 15 (16.09):E Capanelle - Prati
Day 16 (17.09):Prati - Usciolu
Day 17 (18.09):Usciolu - Asinau

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Village de Bavella - Conca

Distance: 19km, altitude at start: 1218m, altitude at end: 252m, highest point: 1218m.

Last day on GR20, and I wake up with an odd feeling. Well aware that by the end of the day I'll have finished the whole route from Calenzana in the north to Conca in the south. Outside the view is a little gloomy; a grey veil is hanging over Village de Bavella. I do have a small hope of coming to Conca when it's sunny, it would feel better to end the journey in good weather.

A grey morning in Village de Bavella at the start of the last day on the GR20.

As mentioned, it's sort of an odd feeling starting on the last day of a long walk and knowing that by the end of the day you'll have finished it. So in the grey light I can't hide that I'm a little bit more excited than usual. From Bavella I start the walk through the forest where the fog creeps between the trees and then by going down a descent below the layer of clouds. Down below the cloud cover the clouds are dissolving, peaks and spires are appearing over me. My mood is lifting at the same time.

A great view from Foce Finosa. The characteristic peak of Punta di l'Anima Damnata standing up prominent in the landscape.

The warmth comes with the sun up at Foce Finosa, 1206m, and with that the greatest view of today. I scramble on top of some rocks above the pass and from there the valley below unfolds. The valley is covered in a pale blur giving it a fairy tale look. The sea can be seen in the horizon to a bigger extent than before, which reminds me further that I'll soon be at the end of the journey. But what really steals the focus of the landscape is the towering cliff of Punta di l'Anima Damnata.

From Foce Finosa the trail looks like it has almost been built up where it goes up and down below the ridge on the way to Refuge de Paliri. Before I arrive at the last cabin on the GR20 la Trou de la Bombe appears slightly visible above. High above a hole is making yet another eye in a mountain, Punta Tafunata d'I Paliri. It's tempting to try to climb up to the hole, but I disregard the idea when I arrive at Paliri. It looks very steep up there from the cabin, and I don't think I will have the time. The hole gets to watch over my last walk in peace.

View down towards the valley below Foce Finosa.

When I was at Manganu someone said that I shouldn't stay at the Refuge de Paliri, since the gardien there was supposedly very grumpy. My first impression when I arrive is that it's a nice place; the camping area is very nice. I meet the gardien outside the cabin and he wasn't the least grumpy, he was a little bit sleepy though. Maybe it would have been a better decision to continue here yesterday, instead of staying behind in Village de Bavella. Then I might have got the time to visit the hole in the mountain above as well.

Punta di l'Anima Damnata.

From Paliri the trail goes on further through a very nice landscape, with a nice mix of views and woods. The point of the damned soul reaches now more and more over me than before me. The trail goes around the high cliff and below the valley is expanding outwards, up from the forest several other cliffs are rising up from the trees. The trail is mostly sloping downhill now.

The path is turning round Foce di u Bracciu and at the same time the weather also turns. The view is still nice, but later when I'm relaxing a little bit before the ascent to Bocca di u Sordu clouds have arrived over the mountains. And they are dark. I arrive at the ruins of the Bergeries de Capeddu, where I sit down and eat some food. Next to the ruins a rusty skip filled with rubbish is standing, it's incredible what people are throwing away.

View down towards the valley below Punta di l'Anima Damnata.

I expect it to rain any moment now, in the horizon I can clearly see the grey veil of rain falling to the ground. There are noticeably fewer wanderers here; I haven't met anybody since I left Refuge de Paliri. Along the GR20 there have never been so few people like there are now. It’s only when I’m on my way down to Ruisseau de Punta Pinzuta when I meet someone again. And then it's suddenly a crowd around me. Here the trail crosses the river beneath some nice ponds, for then to ascent in a zigzag up towards a little pass.

Clouds drifting in over the landscape on the way to Conca.

From the little pass I can see that the sea has gotten nearer by giant steps and the cloud cover has gotten a lot lighter. A blue line in the horizon marks that the journey are near its end. Excited by the clear change of weather I move towards the last pass of the trail, behind me the mountains of Corsica are still lying obscured by the rainclouds.

A gaze in the direction backwards on the GR20, the mountains covered by clouds. A journey is almost over.

After an easy walk along the ridge the clouds have dissolved more and more, I go up to the curious looking gap of Bocca d'Usciolu (587m). It feels a little bit like going through a portal to the civilization when I'm going through the gap, where the GR20 in a way stays behind. Since I'm now looking out over the landscape down to the sea. Conca lies below.

The sea has gotten nearer and nearer, walking along the ridge before Bocca d'Usciolu.

Now only a short descent remains before I've finished the GR20, so I sit down to gather my thoughts. I can look back to 19 days in the mountains of Corsica along the iconic GR20. A part of me is looking forward to be finished, but there is also one part of me that wants to keep on going. Though it's still clouds in the sky, the sun is more prominent.

I walk down through the woods and then I arrive out on the road. Sun above. Here there are signs pointing in the northern direction. I stand still for a while looking around, it's hard to understand at once that it's done. Then I move on to the little village at the end of GR20, a journey behind me. Down by Bar Le Soleil Levant in Conca there are a lot of wanderers and familiar faces gathered. I celebrate with a cold beer.

Bocca d'Usciolu. View down towards Conca and the further on towards the sea.

Then the navette appears at the bar, I climb aboard and leaves Conca and the GR20. I have finished the trail after about 180 kilometers and over 12000 altitude meters since I set out from Calenzana on the 28. of august. Now new adventures await me, but first I'll spend some more days here at Corsica (but that's another story).

Walking down to Conca I leave the GR20 behind. A journey is over....another begins?

<- Village de Bavella

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Asinau - Village de Bavella

Distance: 8km, altitude at start: 1500m, altitude at end: 1218m, highest point: 1690m.

Turn the clock one year back in time and it's the day I started walking the Camino Frances. Now I'm at Corsica and I'm soon finished with this walk, only two days left. It's cloudy outside and Aline (the hostess at the Bergeries d'Asinau) assumes it will be raining during the day. Which isn't the best of news, since the plan for today is to do the alpine variant to Village de Bavella.

Aline, the hostess at the Bergeries d'Asinau. Breakfast is prepared inside the nice little stone hut.

We eat breakfast inside the cozy stone hut. Then I pack together the few belongs I carry with me and leaves this great stay to the memories. It's a grey layer of clouds above when we leave the auberge. The path is going inside the woods beneath the pointed peaks of the Aiguilles de Bavella. From Asinau there are two choices to choose from to get to Village de Bavella, the ordinary GR20 goes through the forest and around the Aiguilles de Bavella and the alpine variant takes you over the mountain.

At the junction I'm quite set upon to go over the mountain, rain or not. Antoine is also keen to do the same, the others are a little bit more reluctant, but after a while we all decide to start going up the hill towards the Aiguilles de Bavella. We being Lisa, Madeleine, Antoine, Hadrien, Guillaume and me. Even though Antoine wanted to go over, he is a little bit anxious of the weather and is pushing on a little bit. It doesn't get any better when we can feel some small raindrops coming from the sky. I feel a lot more relaxed though.

On the way from Bergeries d'Asinau in the morning. Walking through the valley in grey weather.

View south on the way up towards Aiguilles de Bavella. Clouds upon clouds drifting in all over the horizon.

Above us a mighty cliff is towering, Punta di u Pargulu which is also known as Tour IV. The trail doesn't go over it, but turns around it to a great view both backwards in the direction of Monte Incudine and towards the end of GR20. There are more of these so called towers that rises up from the Aiguilles de Bavella around me, all given the denomination Tour followed by a roman number. By the fourth tower we can see Village de Bavella further down, like a collection of cabins in the woods.

The landscape up here is quite cool; there is no question that this route must be more exciting than the main route of the GR20 going through the forest lower down. I and Antoine arrive at the highest point of the trail before the others, so I get to drag him with me up to the top of Punta di a Vacca (Tour III). It's a relatively easy climb up; the view isn't much better than what we already have seen. However we can see that more and darker clouds are coming.

Over the Aiguilles de Bavella. On the way down after going around Punta di u Pargulu (Tour IV). Punta di a Vacca the nearest of the towers. The sea in the horizon.

The towering towers of Aiguilles de Bavella, Punta di u Pargulu to the left.

When we climb down again the rest of the group are waiting below and we walk together from there on. After passing Punta di l'Arriettu we arrive at a huge boulder. From there the trail goes straight up the steep rock, you fall down on your way up and you will find yourself in a tight spot. To make it easy someone has attached a chain to the rock. It hasn't started to rain yet so the rock is dry and easy to climb up. The climbing is fun, but you should be careful going up anyway.

From here with Punta di l'Acellu (the first tower) gazing over us it goes steep downwards to be reunited with the ordinary route of the GR20. On the way down we get to see a moufflon, they're usually quite elusive. A more disheartening sight however is the sight of the tourist buses at Col de Bavella. Aiguilles de Bavella is a popular place for climbing, and it's not difficult to understand why. We can see some climbers at it on our way down.

Antoine at the top of Punta di a Vacca. View back from where the trail goes down from Tour IV.

Walking over the Aiguilles de Bavella to Village de Bavella. A grey weather is walking above us in the sky.

We join paths with the GR20 and then the herd of tourists at Col de Bavella. They're flocking around the white Notre Dame des Neiges statue and the cross next to it. Continues quite fast down to the curious buildings of Village de Bavella. Hungry we sit down at Le Refuge, which isn't a refuge, but a restaurant. We all order the same pizza, named after the place (Bavella), it was actually very good.

The technical part on the alpine variant between Asinau and Bavella. Steep up a huge boulder, chains attached to support the climb.

It's time to separate, the rest of the group wants to continue further on all the way to Conca and finish the GR20 today. I want to have one more day at the trail and stays behind in this curious village with the collection of a little bit ramshackle buildings. The rain finally arrives and in style when they are setting forth. I myself seeks shelter at the l'Auberge de Col de Bavella.

On the way up the steep boulder, the climb was fun.

It became a short stage today; in return it was a nice walk over the Aiguilles. I spend the afternoon on a small walk around Bavella (Pienona). The rain has subsided, but the wind has increased quite a lot. I eat dinner at the auberge, which is quiet and calm after the tourists has left. I finish the evening with a beer together with a German couple going from south to Vizzavona. When I go to bed, it will be my last night on the GR20.

View from Village de Bavella in the afternoon.

<- AsinauConca ->

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Usciolu - Asinau

Distance: 17km, altitude at start: 1750m, altitude at end: 1500m, highest point: 2134m.

For the first time on the GR20 am I eager to get going on an early start. And it's not because of the apparent reason to be the first to arrive at Asinau, but the previous days here has taught me one thing. The clouds are coming in from the sea almost precisely on the hour. At the end of today's walk will I hike up to the top of Monte Incudine and I wish to be at the top before the clouds do.

So in the dark I pack together the tent and my backpack. I'm not alone in the wee hours of the day; small lights from headlights are visible all around. It's chilly this early in the morning. I eat breakfast inside the cabin together with some of the other walkers. A small light is visible on the sky when I leave at half seven in the morning, starting with an ascent up to Bocca di Suragheddu (1786m). What follows is a beautiful walk.

In the morning at Arête a Monda. A red hue in the sky. Monte Incudine in the horizon.

The sun is rising up from the sea and is bathing Arête a Monda in a red light. The GR20 are going along the ridge with a view to the sea on one side and a view down towards small villages (Cozzano being one of them) on the other side, forward lies Monte Incudine in the horizon. The trail is rocky and I often have to scramble small parts of it, changing from one side to the other all the time. The view is changing almost from meter to meter. Over me the sky is blue with a red hue. Some of the rock formations turn bright red in the sunlight.

The sunrays are reflected on the surface of the sea.

A small camera lies abandoned on the trail, wet from dew after staying outside alone in the night. It's lying there forgotten and abandoned with its memories. Arête a Monda is gradually going lower, the sunrise has finished and the sky has forgotten its red veil.

View back to Arête a Monda, Punta Capella can be seen in the background. A great start on the fantastic day.

The path is going downwards into a nice beech grove. A large fallen tree is a fitting bench for a short break. The trees are getting more and more prominent as the trail is going lower in altitude.

I reach the Bocca di l'Agnonu; here is the junction where you have to choose between the route over Monte Incudine and the new route that goes to Refuge de Matalza. PNRC (Parc Naturel Regional de Corse) decided to split the original stage between Usciolu and Asinau into two stages. The route that went over the top was closed and the waymarks removed (however it was still possibly to walk it). After pressure from walkers the route was reopened and is now remarked as well. For me the decision was given. The old sign lies in pieces next to the trail.

The trail is going down towards the lowland and trees, if not sparse, are taking over the surroundings on the way down to Bocca di l'Agnonu.

From Bocca di l'Agnonu the trail is following a track through the beech woods. Beyond the waymarks on the trees I can see clearly the grey paint used to paint over the old waymarks. I emerge out of the forest to the sight of a fantastic landscape, verdant fields and rolling hills spreads out in front of me. A hobbit-landscape, hopefully not a stupid ring. The scenery I'm enjoying the view of is Plateau de Cuscione and is well worth taking a break for.

Plateau de Cuscione. Verdant fields and rolling hills with a mountain standing guard in the background (Monte Incudine).

With a clear sky above me I walk through the grass on the meadows, Monte Incudine is reaching up towards the same sky in the horizon. A group of wanderers is passing me by over the rolling hills. The grass is blowing lightly in the little wind. One trekking shoe stands abandoned on the top of a boulder next to the trail, bringing forth memories of the camino previous year.

Walking over the bride at Ruisseau de Furchinchesu.

Behind me Hadrian and Antoine come running, someone has clearly a lot of energy. Three horses grazes where I leave the lush meadow. I have to pass over a suspension bridge over Ruisseau de Furcinchesu before the trail starts to gain height again and is moving upwards to Monte Incudine. I reach the ruins of Refuge d'I Pedinieddi, which was destroyed by a lightning strike in 1981. This is the only place along the GR20 where there is legally to camp away from a cabin. It's a fitting place for a break, while eating some food I starts to think about the wanderers of times past that stayed the night here, only the foundations are left of the refuge.

Usciolu in the distance and verdant lowland below, seen from the trail on my way up to Monte Incudine.

I leave the lowland behind me going up towards Crête de la Foce Aperta; in the distance I can see the mountains that are encircling the Refuge d'Usciolu. Cows look stupid at me when I walk past them. The boys hasn't caught up with me yet (which I really had thought they would have), maybe their energy level ran a little low at the end. Clouds are on their way, but at the moment its clear sight.

At the summit of Monte Incudine (or Monte Alcudina which it's called in English). They do have crosses on the summits here as well.

I reach the summit, at 2134m, in good time before the clouds. Like legions of war they're hoarding up against the Aiguilles de Bavella. The ascent to Monte Incudine was quite easy, but isn't where I came up from where the steep part is. The view is great; far away I can still see Paglia Orba towering in the horizon. Far below can I see the roof of the Refuge d'Asinau and the stone houses of Bergeries d'Asinau.

Hadrien and Antoine appear at the top shortly after me. After spending some time at the top we go down towards Asinau. Here the descent is steep; it will be considerably harder to climb up to Monte Incudine from Asinau than from where I went up. There is almost no one at Refuge d'Asinau, not even the gardiens. Anyway, I haven't planned to stay at the refuge; I intend to walk further down to Bergeries d'Asinau which is visible below the refuge.

View north from Monte Incudine. The clouds are lying like a legion against the mountainsides.

We receive a warm welcome by Aline, the very nice and hospitable hostess at the auberge, when we arrive. After a little while Madeleine, Lisa and Guillaume also arrives. While we are relaxing outside in the sun with a cold beer, she treats us with biscuits, white chocolate and mint-syrup. This being the start of maybe the nicest evening I had on the GR20.

Aiguilles de Bavella with its characteristic pointed peaks.

After a while the clouds escapes the grip of the Aiguilles and are drifting in over us high above. Though, there are large gaps letting the sun shine down on the auberge. Me and Hadrien play petanque with a neighbor of the auberge, him against us. We loose. The dinner is served inside in one of the small stone huts, with fire in the fireplace and candles on the table, cozy. Plenty of good food and red wine. Afterwards we went out and lit up a bonfire outside the auberge (which is a rarity down here, since it's forbidden to light a fire along the route otherwise). There's a big chance there are some persons that are looking envious down upon us and the bonfire from the cabin above.

Bergeries d'Asinau. Petanque in the afternoon.

It's been a magical day at the GR20, but even a magic day comes to an end and I go to sleep inside in one of the stone huts. A fantastic day with great variations in the landscape I passed through, crowned with a very nice evening at the auberge.

<- UscioluVillage de Bavella ->

Monday, September 17, 2012

Prati - Usciolu

Distance: 12.5km, altitude at start: 1820m, altitude at end: 1750m, highest point: 2041m.

Oh boy, what a cold night, and it just got colder and colder. Almost put on all I've had of clothes. But that is easily forgotten when I look out of the tent and get to understand why many means Refuge de Prati has the best camping area on the GR20. The clouds are gone and now the sea is shimmering in the horizon. A little bit of wind though, the bandit flag on the terrace is making a little dance.

Morning at Refuge de Prati. The bandit flag dances in the wind while the sun is still rising.

Today's walk follows the ridge in an almost straight line due south and down to Refuge d'Usciolu. After the coldness of the night it feels warm when I lifts up my backpack and starts to walk up towards the verdant ridge above the cabin. The trail is going upwards with the sound of a herd of goats going downwards. From up at the ridge I can see mountains stretch itself southwards towards the horizon, small peaks juts up here and there. Further on is a variation of scrambling and easy walking.

My tent at Prati at sunrise.

One of these peaks is Punta Capella, at 2041m. From the trail the top looks like a big pile of boulders stacked on top of each other's, like a cairn in a much larger proportion. I leave my backpack behind by some boulders at the trail and climbs up to the top. The last part demands a little bit of scrambling. A cross rests at the top, together with a nice view back towards Monte Renosu and further. In the east a lowland next to the sea.

View of the sea from the mountains on the way to Refuge d'Usciolu. Lowland and sun mirroring in the water.

More climbing and walking mixed together going down to Bocca di Rapari. It's nice weather to be walking in, but where you can be looking forward to the evening fog. I'm taking it easy, even though some parts are ideal for striding out and making good speed. Small Corsican villages down in the valley to the right. It's clearly more lowland visible in the surroundings here than on the northern part of the GR20.

View back towards the Refuge de Prati from Punta Capella.

View from Punta Cappella in the direction of Monte Renosu (to the right in the picture) and I Pozzi.

A small cluster of trees at Bocca di Rapari is providing some shade, which it has been little of so far. I reach Bocca di Laparo (1525m) that lies in a gap in between the two ridges the GR20 passes over between Prati and Usciolu, plenty of trees giving shade here. Here the Mare a Mare Centre is crossing the GR20 on its way over the mountains from the sea, a sign marks the way to Cozzano. An unstaffed cabin, Refuge de Laparo, should be located nearby.

After Bocca di Laparo the trail is starting to ascend again. At first the trail makes a turn inside a forest before it emerges over the tree line and then goes up a steep ascent to Punta Mozza at 1831m. Behind me the clouds are starting to appear, like clockwork. You could almost adjust your clocks after them. On the way up two fighter jets flies over the mountains, the sound they make is indescribably this high up.

The ridge down towards Bocca di Rapari and Bocca di Laparo.

I pass Punta Mozza seeing the ascent isn't finished, the trail are going further up towards Punta Bianca. There's a massive cloud attack on the mountainsides behind me now. From here the path is almost a complete copy of the ridge between Prati and Bocca di Rapari. Like a copycat I go up to Monte Furmicula (1981m), the summit is easy to walk up to. Looking back afterwards I see a sheep standing at the top. No grass at the top though, so it goes disappointed down again.

Shade in a small forest below Bocca di Rapari.

The trail continues along the Crête d'Acqua Acelli, before it goes down a steep descent to Refuge d'Usciolu. Here the camping spaces lies spread out beneath the cabin, with a good view towards Monte Incudine. The cabin has nice sitting places outside, but is as usual not very nice inside. The gardiens are living in a cabin next by, in addition to a small hut where they sell food and drink from. It's a nice place, even though the horses are going loose and are of some nuisance to the walkers sitting by the tables. The shower is however the most luxurious by appearance at the cabins along the GR20, though the water is still just as cold.

In the afternoon fog rolls in over the cabin and are locking the sun out. Wanderers or ghosts are drifting past. The dinner at Usciolu consists of only one plate with pasta, meat, mushrooms, carrots and sauce. Good, but too little meat on my plate though. Eats the dinner inside the cabin together with the French boys.

View back towards Bocca de Laparo. Cloud attack on the mountainsides.

My tent space at the Refuge d'Usciolu. Clouds coming in from the valley blocking the view towards Monte Incudine.

I finish the day resting in my tent reading while having a couple of beers, the fog lies thick over the mountains outside. Today's walk was nice, but not spectacular. The view of the sea from the ridge was great.

Refuge d'Usciolu in fog. In the last days the evenings has become a grey world.

<- PratiAsinau ->

Sunday, September 16, 2012

E Capanelle - Prati

Distance: 20,5km, altitude at start: 1586m, altitude at end: 1820m, highest point: 2352m.

To Bocca di Verdi there are two routes to choose between. Which route I choose depends on the weather, for if the weather is nice the decision is giving itself. From the gîte you can either go around through the woods below Monte Renosu (which is the main path of the GR20), or you can take the high-level alternative route that goes over the mountain. In the morning there is a splendid sunrise, and the sunrays are shining red and hot towards the obvious path to go.

Sunrise at Bergeries d'E Capanelle.

Lisa and Madeline are carrying a lot more heavier backpacks than I do, so they decide to follow the woods around the mountain. We make an agreement that if I haven't come to the Refuge de Prati within a given time, they will order dinner for me at the refuge. My route is a little bit longer and harder, so I expect to arrive later than they do. We decided not to stay at Bocca di Verdi, which is yet another place situated next to a road, and instead continue to Prati. I can't use the ski tow, so in the beginning I have to make use of my legs up the steep hill. This path is not marked with the usual red and white stripes, instead small cairns shows the way upwards.

The sky is bathing the landscape in a blue light. Blue is also the color of the beautiful Lac de Bastani (at 2089m) which I come up to after a little while, Monte Renosu is mirrored in the crystal clear water. The little alpine lake is lovely in all its tranquility. I was walking in a good pace upwards, but here I must slow down to a complete stop and just stand and enjoy the view. Out in the lake a fish stirs the water.

Lac de Bastani with Monte Renosu in the background.

The lake is mesmerizing, it pulls me in and I can feel its allure when I start on the easy scrambling up towards Punta Bacinello. On the way up I have to sit down on a small shelf overlooking the lake, hypnotized, and let me be carried away again by the azure water. A small beach lies at the southern end of the lake.

Lac de Bastani.

A barren moon landscape is what meets me up by Punta Bacinello, at about 2240m. It's a grey and flat meadow made of rocks instead of grass that spreads out below Monte Renosu. The summit itself lies at 2352m and you have to pass over several big rocks to get up, though it's not particular hard to get up.

Being on the top of a mountain when there aren't any clouds in the sky means that you can see to all sides of it, unless there is an even higher mountain beside it. There isn't any higher mountain next to Monte Renosu, meaning I can enjoy the sight of Corsica all around me, unobstructed. It's nice to be able to see all the mountains I've climbed to the top of during the trip so far, for each new top I climb up to all the others moves one step back on the horizon.

Up above Lac de Bastani with view down towards the beautiful lake and the valleys below.

Near Punta de Valle Longa the path is going around a thin ridge with several parts demanding easy scrambling. Suddenly, the air is full of the sound of bells and bleating goats. Towards me on the other side of the ridge a large herd of goats are coming my way. They look at me with stoic skepticism when I pass beneath them. A shepherd is passing by when I'm going down from Punta Orlandino (at 2273m). My French isn't very good, but I understand well enough that he is looking for the goats I just passed. I directs him in the direction of the ridge and tells him that they are probably well on their way up to Monte Renosu.

View from Monte Renosu. I can point out all the peaks I've been to so far, except Monte Corona.

Down towards I Pozzi the cairns are starting to be elusive, they disappears from sight just to reappear in a complete other place. It looks like the general direction of the trail is the end of the waterholes, but I want to go through the valley and see the pozzines at close range. So instead of following the trail further I make my way down the mountainside to the start of the valley. Clouds drift over green mountains.

A large herd of goats on the way over the ridge beneath Monte Renosu.

The valley is covered by a green carpet, when I step on the grass there is a gurgling sound coming from it. The grass is quite wet. The green meadow is split up with small and deep waterholes and creeks. Around, cattle and horses are grazing, and some tourists. I take a break beside the waterholes, giving my feet some air as well. The walk so far has appeared just like greatest hits of the GR20.

They have made a sort of golf course at Bergeries d'I Pozzi, I'm not sure if mountain-golf will ever become a hit. At Plateau de Gialgone I'm back at the main route of the GR20 again. The clouds are gathering around the mountains to the south and west of me, in the direction I'm going. It has little to say on the light, now that I'm back on the GR20 the trail goes under the embrace of the trees again. The walk through the forest to Bocca di Verdi is a little bit boring, two wild pigs grunts their way past me.

View down towards the waterholes in I Pozzi.

There aren't many people at Relais San Petru di Verdu when I arrive, some locals and two motorcyclists only (the place is as said located beside a road). It's however quite nice inside the restaurant, I buy myself a sandwich which I eat at the terrace outside. From the neighbor table the word rain is uttered, that stands in stark contrast to the weather so far.

Despite that, it's quite clear that it is the clouds that now have the initiative in the sky. Under the steep ascent up to Bocca d'Oru fog descends upon me. The pass lies at 1840m and you can see straight down to the sea from it, now the sea can be seen through a blue strip under the grey layer of clouds. It's a little bit chilly up at the pass. The ridge towards Refuge de Parti is dense with clouds. Memories of back home in Norway.

I Pozzi. The mountains are mirrored in the deep waterholes and creeks that go through the verdant valley.

At Prati I meet Lisa and Madeleine again; according to them the main route of the GR20 that went through the woods beneath Monte Renosu wasn't that much exciting. The fog drifts around the walls of the cabin, the supposedly great view from the camping area that was the big temptation for going here is nowhere to see. I seek refuge inside the austere cabin. You get a lot of food at the dinner for the money here. A plate with sausage and ham as a starter, a large pot of pasta and tender meat from lamb as the main course and cheese for dessert. We meet three French boys doing the GR20, Antoine, Hadrien and Guillaume. The boys get lessons in Norwegian by the girls.

Bocca d'Oru. The fog drifts over the scenery, the sea can be seen like a blue strip in the sea of clouds.

The cold weather makes it chilly for the wanderers, so they heats up the cabin quite a lot. So much that it eventually gets unbearably hot inside. At the end I just have to go out into the fog. It's peaceful outside, but of course chilly. Still it feels better than the boiler inside. Small lights are visible from houses and small villages in the dark from deep down in the valley below.

Refuge de Prati.

A cold night becomes the reward after this great day. It is a little mystery that the route over Monte Renosu to Plateau de Gialgone isn't the main route of the GR20.

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