GR20 Trek Corsica – day 3

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

» day 1 | day 2 | day 3 | cirque | day 4 | day 5 | day 6 | day 7 | advice |

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

I awoke feeling surprisingly refreshed. But standing up reminded me that my hamstrings had cramped in the middle of the night, in the tent. Severely.

It was essential that I not strain hiking today. That I relax.

… Unfortunately the very start of the day was tough. Crossing the creek on a suspension bridge … and looking at the 750m climb to Bocca a i Stagnu.

This exact spot is where many hikers quit. (There’s an exit back down to the coast via Bonifatu.)

I persisted, scrambling the Spasimata slabs.

You can see that many from the Refuge started together. These kind of rush hour crowds are another reason I prefer tenting in the wild.

There are cables to assist, not needed when dry, but essential when the granite is wet.

It’s a good idea to start up the slabs early, taking advantage of the morning shade.

My obligatory photo of the North American Indian rock …

At the top the GR20 drops down to a ski resort and road — forget that. The high line, instead, is a route finding challenge along the Muvrella Ridge.

I LOVED this section though it was very slow going. That’s the normal GR20 route far below …

Once (eventually) down in the valley, I enjoyed the easiest hiking so far, even taking time to cool my feet.

During the afternoon I pretty much had the trail south to myself as there’s no Refuge before the infamous Cirque de la Solitude, the crux of the GR20.

I was thrilled to be walking so much better today. (It would have been a crushing disappointment to travel all the way to Corsica and miss the Cirque.)

… I planned to wild camp somewhere high and make the famous traverse next morning. It looks pretty thrilling from the photos.

The red circles are hikers descending into the cirque.
photo by Katy Hallgren

See more annotated photos from day 3.

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