Stage 12: escape from the GR20

Today was our 12th day of hiking, and our last day on the GR proper.

We left the hotel “Le Chalet” in Haut Asco late after a wonderful night’ sleep and a breakfast that included a croissant, something unheard of since we’d reached Corsica on the 25th. We’d been warned the night before by one of the locals that the GR20 started a bit rough with a “disgusting” 600m ascent and he was right. We started right away with a nasty climb in the woods on a slippery dirt path. After about 25 minutes we got out of the woods but we kept climbing, this time in the open and the climbing got rougher as we actually had to put the hiking poles away and use our hands to get up past some fairly tricky bits.

At the top of the climb we took a moment to admire our achievement, but only a short one because the wind was blasting. From there we started going up and down along the crest. About half-way through the crest we heard a scream: “ahhh the newly weds!”. It was the guide we’d met the previous week in the south part of the GR, he’d told us he was coming back down with a different group and there he was. ;) We chatted a bit, were congratulated by everyone in the group and then headed on towards Bocca Muvrela. Right after the top we discovered a wonderful view of the gulf of Calvi. We could start smelling the beach! After a short break for our second breakfast we started the loooong descent towards Caruzzo which included a shoddy suspension bridge and lots of granite slabs, some, “protected” by chains and cables — mostly for the wet days. Two and a half hours later we reached the Refuge de Caruzzo where we met up with an older group we’d been following for a while and with three ladies we decided to nickname “Charlie’s Angels”. At te refuge we finished some of our provisions, recharged, massaged our feet a bit and then headed off of the GR20 towards Bonifatu. In order to spend one more night in Calvi at our fancy spa-hotel we decided to cut the GR a bit and head down to Bonifatu where we’ll hike straight to Calenzana on the Mare e Monti but that’s for tomorrow…