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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