Usciolu-Asinau stage update

Joanna

Posted: Mon, Jun 25, 2012, 9:26

Here is un update on the stage that has been split into two: The new, two-days stage is now marked, while the old stage is no longer oficially open. The markings are either painted over with grey paint, or, in places, totaly obligerated. The place where the new trail splits from the old one, the old path is "closed" by a few newly cut tree trunks, and the bridge over a river later on on the stage is cut in two with a chainsaw. They really went to great pains to make people stop walking the old trail! But still, there are but few who choose the new one, as the old is easy to follow...Here is how:

If you walk from north to south, be careful not to miss the place the old and new trails split (a rather big clearing a few hundred meters after you leave the crest that starts over Usciolu and enter the forest). The new trail goes to the right, the old one to the left. Go around fallen tree trunks. Look at the trees along the path - the GR 20 marks have been cut away from them, so you can see fresh scars in the bark. After about 1 km, the marks are no longer cut out, just painted over with gray, and quite easly visible.
You can easly cross the river without the bridge.
From the top of the Monte Incudine follow bright green markings until you meet GR 20 again.

If you walk from south to north, follow the GR 20 marks from Asinau up to the crest. The new trail continues down on the other side of the crest, while the old one, now marked with bright green, goes to the right and climbs all the way up to Monte Incudine. From there, follow the painted-over marks.



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 8:04

Hello,
I realise that you have just returned from the southern GR and from what I read you travelled over the route as appears in the descriptions in say e.g. the Dillon book. I am not sure that this newly arranged route to avoid Monte Alcudina/Incudine does much to make the journey any easier? Is it not true that to reach Asinau from the area of the re-arranged route you still have to climb up to around the 2000 metre contour which is just some 150 mtrs less than going over Alcudina?
Are walkers directed towards the Matalza refuge to split this stage? Seems rather drastic to cut down the bridge prior to the 'lightning struck' old refuge/camping area!

--

Gaffr



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 13:32

Roger,

Probably I'm the minority here but I believe that the splitting of the stage in two has been a good idea. The Usciolu-Asinau stage is (was) undoubtedly VERY long and tiring. And now the 2 sections are - according to the times posted on the park site - 4h25' and 4h15' long (probably a little longer for those with a heavy sack and who are not speed hikers).

An excellent excuse to stay one more day on the trail ;)

It would be good to have the gps track of the new section. Anyone???? Please??

--Michele



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 16:13

Hello Michele,
It is a good arrangement to offer the option of a split in the route here.....it is just that I was trying to get my head around where the new section 'goes through'. Does it take the direction of the Farcinchesi and then head up to the col with the sign directing folks down to Asinau that we encounterd after descending from Alcudina?....maybe?

--

Gaffr



Joanna

Posted: Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 16:52

I consider myself lucky to have walked the old stage, I suppose in a year or two it will no longer be possible. The old stage is long and hard, we used 7h20 min (breaks included), and still were the fastest walkers, most of the others used 8-10 hours for this stage. On the other hand, it is very beautiful and varied. Also, I find the idea of two very short stages boring - you arrive in the camp after just 3,5-4,h hours, and have a whole day to "kill"...

Gaffr, I did not ask your question to the only two people we met who had done the two new stages, but now that you mention it, I guess the new stage to Asinau must indeed be quite a killer - steep up the 2000 m and then steep down again!!!



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 18:19

Joanna,

I'm a social person and I enjoy having the opportunity to chat up with people from different countries. And the hut is the perfect place. I wish I had had more time to spend there ... I never "wasted" a minute.

But don't worry. The old route will always be easily retraceable with a gps track (even in thick fog).

Roger,
I think the junction is about here:

http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/4459/1007056x.jpg

a little after the rousseau de Cavallare. Take a look at the following map for only a speculation on where the actual new trail might be (until someone provides us with the actual gps track):

(Broken link removed by moderator.)

--Michele



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 19:33

We enjoyed the whole of the Southern part of the GR.....as Jo says the variety of the terrain was fully enjoyable. We stopped overnight at col de Verde had breakfast at Prati then followed two very fine days along the ridge crests with views down into the villages....Cozzano and maybe Zicavo. The way over Monte Alcidino, although tiring in the heat of a June day, was memorable.....followed by the Bavellas, the sniff of the sea from Paliri with the fine rocky landscape....around the corner was the beautiful punta di l'Amina Damnata and finally down through the frangrant plants to Conca. The southern part should not be missed!

--

Gaffr



Joanna

Posted: Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 5:39

Michele, the path might be retraceable with a gps, but it won't be walkable. There were parts there that already were starting to be overgrown - at the start of the long ascent that eventually ends up at the monte A., the bushes were already about as high as I am (not that I'm that tall, but still...) and closing up on the path, so we had to squeeze through. And that after just one spring! So in 2-3 years the parts of the path that goes through vegetation will be as good as gone. We experienced the same on the old part of the GR over Haut Asco - yes, it was easy traceable, but the thicket of small trees made walking (squeezing) almost impossible, especially for the little me who had my face at the height of most of the interwoven branches.

Also, the junction is not the one you have on your photo, it's long before that. In fact, it's not marked in any way. I might be able to provide with the gps data for both the junctions, I'll get back to you later today.



kt

Posted: Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 6:38

I completed the GR20 last week from North to South so can provide a bit of up to date information on the trail.

We decided to do the new route from Usciolu-Asinau via Matalza in a day. This did make it into quite a long day but we really enjoyed it, and thought it was one of the best days on the Southern section as it was so varied, with the scrambling at the start, descent into the valley, nice walk along the river and then the ascent of Acludina. I don't have GPS waypoints but will try and describe the new route. It branches off the original route at Bocca di l'Agnoonu, on the path to Zicavo. The original orange markers for this have been painted over in red and white. At the branch point at Tignosellu it follows the path to Bergerie de Basseta. This path was originally following blue markers, which have again been painted over with the red and white. I think the main GR20 route goes to Bergerie de Basseta but we took another variant that follows the Ruisseau de Veracolongu straight to Matalza. We stopped at the refuge for a drink, the owners were very friendly and it seemed like a nice place. They were providing meals etc. but didn't have any food supplies to buy to take away. The way back up to join the original route follows what Michele has posted above. We had a nice swim in the river on the way up and also briefly stopped at Bergeries de Cruci. This looked like a very new building, was offering beds, camping, meals and had quite a good choice of food supplies, we were pleased to be able to get some fresh bread and fruit from there.

The route no longer goes up to the summit of Alcudina, but just goes up to the col where the steep descent starts from. We left our bags at the col and went out and back to the summit though. The red and white markers have been painted over in grey but there are green markers that lead to the summit.

On the day that we did this route, we don't think anyone else did it North to South, it was very quiet and everyone at the Refuge said they had stuck to the original route. We did pass a few people going South to North, but it was certainly our quietest day on the trail.



sudija

Posted: Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 8:06

I have some GPS-Data



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 8:32

Thank you Joanna, kt and sudija.

For anyone who can provide the gps track you can send it to this temporary email address:

matalza.wallace108 at spamgourmet.com



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 10:55

Thank you. File received.

EDIT:

Thanks to the gpx files received I took a look at the new stages. All in all the Park people seem to have done a nice job.

The Usciolu-Matalza stage is 11.2 km long (which is fair and averages the other stages), it starts at 1753 m. reaches 1800 m. something and goes down to 1412 m. something of Matalza.

The Matalza-Asinau stage is 10.2 km long (fair again), starts at 1412, climbs up 600 meters to reach the pass at 2000 m. something, to again climb down about 500 m. to reach Asinau.

Now I don't know about the landscape, but according to kt's report it should be an interesting diversion.

--Michele



shinysheep

Posted: Thu, Jun 28, 2012, 10:01

My mum and I also walked the south half of the GR20 this year. Apparently the bridge cutting was vandalism rather than the park authorities trying to dissuade people, we read about it in the paper version of Corse matin, the only reference I can find on the website is this (which doesn't say quite the same as the paper version): http://www.corsematin.com/article/corse/vandalisme-sur-le-gr-20-les-guid....

Also worth noting that the Bergeries de Cruci were charging 8 euro per person for camping (!).

The new route seems quite nice to walk (we did it in 2 days, both of which seemed comparatively easy), it's just a pity it misses the summit of Alcudina....



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Jun 28, 2012, 11:44

Thanks everyone for the information.....when I come back again I would do the same as kt and leave my pack at the 'col with the sign' to ascend to Alcudina. I feel that it is good, and like some of the other sections, to have a choice of routes and together with the additional accommodation it will give more flexiblity.....perhaps more useful, timewise, to we older retired folks though? :-)
My map TOP 25 Bavella just cuts out most of this information...I'm ok to the Bocca di l'Aginone...but thereafter I need another map.

--

Gaffr



ehbarker

Posted: Tue, Jul 3, 2012, 13:35

It's not an interesting diversion on the new route. It all seems incredibly pointless. You go a long way down only to have to come a long way back up when the old route stays high and the new huts are nothing special. Just a lot of tracks and farmland. All quite frustrating.

--

Liz



Mathijn

Posted: Thu, Jun 16, 2016, 5:23

Hi all,

I will be walking the GR20 for the fourth time this July, hoping to complete it in 5 days. The last time I walked the GR20 was in 2011, when it took me 7 days. That time, I walked the new route from Asinau to Usciolu (South to North, as is the plan again this year), and I remember many walkers still taking the old route, and arriving much earlier than myself. That time I stayed at Asinau, but this year, the plan is to complete Conca to Usciolu on day 1. This is a very long stretch, and therefore, cutting the last stage (Asinau-Usciolu) short by a couple of hours would be a BIG deal for me. Can anyone let me know if the old route can still be used from Asinau to Usciolu, and if so, give me some directions please? Many thanks!



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Jun 16, 2016, 6:21

Hello,
When I went S-N in 2013 Folks were going by both ways.
I met people on the top of Alcudina who had come to the summit from the North using the old route. Myself I had decided prior that after Alcudina that I would return to the col above Asinao, a trifling amount of descent, and have at look at the 'other route' with no desire to visit all three of the refuges/bergeries on offer on the alternative route. Must say I enjoy taking the alternative stages after travelling the original GR.
I camped overnight at bergeries Crocu and found that it was a friendly place with good food on offer and of course devoid of very large crowds. I had in mind, all on the 1:25,000 map, a way of rejoining the normal GR20 following an old track via bergeries Cavallara....I had remembered enjoying the contrasting terrain found at Cuscione so didn't want to miss this part.
So I avoided the area of both Matalza and Basseta perhaps not so interesting.
For those coming from Usciolu (ie N-S) heading for Asinao Crocu would be a useful overnight if maybe finding the stage to be too arduous?

--

Gaffr



robertotinti

Posted: Thu, Jun 16, 2016, 13:30

In 5 days are you walking very light? How many kilos?



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Thu, Jun 16, 2016, 19:52

There were some issues a couple of years ago when the GR20 was unofficially extended via a longer route and some of the signs removed or sawn in half. These were quickly reinstated. The refuges on the new bypass (Basseta and Matalza) are apparently quite good but it should be easy enough to find the original route.
Conca to Usciolu is, however, a very long day! I hope you don't bypass the high level route from Bavella to Asciolu as it is really good with some of the best scenery on the GR20.
There is the bivi stop (the only official bivi site on the GR20) at Pedinieddi if you can't make it all the way to Usciolu.

--

Alan



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 6:22

It was a stupid thing to destroy those signs, and even more stupid to destroy a footbridge on the old GR across the plateau a few years ago. Everyone assumed it was to 'encourage' or 'divert' trekkers to the refuges. If that was true, then it was an idiotic thing to do. If someone doesn't want to stay in a refuge, and you cut down signposts and a footbridge to try and force them to stay in a refuge, then they're going to be really pissed off when they get there. I think the old route and the new route are both fine. I've stayed at Bassetta and Matalza, camped at Pedinieddi too, but Croci has always been closed when I've passed.



Gaffr

Posted: Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 7:10

GRRR20 what time of the year did you pass Croci? When I camped there in 2013 3rd of June it was very much open and providing services to walkers...an enjoyable place to stay and it links with very quick way to get onto the GR prior to the fine Cuscione section.
There was an extension being added to the main, I guess, original bergerie building.
What happened a year or so earlier with the trail was senseless ....the diversion etc. on the North side of Alcudina. Alternatives are fine on GR20 but the attempt to channel folks into another trail was not wise. Anyway we have both now...a choice isn't that great. There are several choice alternatives on the route....some useful in poor weather days etc.

--

Gaffr



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 7:35

Gaffr - because Coscione is easy to reach at any time of the year from Zicavo, I was last there early one October. I didn't expect Croci to be open, but I had tried to contact them because at the time they seemed to indicate that they could open if they got advance notice. It was no problem, because a man working at Matalza let me stay for free, even though that refuge was also closed. The next night, after walking a circuit, I tried to stay at Bassetta. They say they're open all year, and while I had a friendly night there some years previously, they just told me to clear off on this occasion. Charming! They said I should go to Usciolu, even though it was almost dark, and miles away. Again, no problem, because I spent the night a few minutes away at the basic refuge attached to the St Petru chapel.



Gaffr

Posted: Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 10:39

So I guess that is what explains what you found at Croci....you can expect not too many of the accommodation places to be available in October but as you say there is a big choice in that area.
Considering that most folks travel the route between June, July, August and September then for the majority of walkers Croci could be a useful option in their plans. :-)
I do recall that in 2007, on our first visit, we met up with folks that we had been seeing a bit of on the trail N-S and at Bocca di l'Agnonu, on a very hot day, had decided that they had done enough for the day and were heading to Basseta for the night. We, at that time, new only of Asinao still a long way off and headed out towards Monte Alcudina.

--

Gaffr



Mathijn

Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2016, 10:06

Hi all,
Thanks for your comments. As to the question about the kilos: yes, quite light, with 5-6 kg.

So I conclude that it is still possible to follow the old route. Have the painted-over signs been reinstated, or is it easy enough to follow the trail? And the footbridge that was destroyed is also no issue?

The other concern I have is that apparently there is no temporary solution for Asinau, so no opportunity to buy some additional food there. Which means I have to stock up extra at Bavella. Any suggestions on this one?



GRRR 20

Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2016, 10:36

The old GR route is in good form and lots of people still walk it. The original red and white paint marks were painted over with grey paint when the new route was put in place. Soon afterwards, they were painted red and white again, but last year they got repainted as double yellow marks. They'll never be able to stop people walking the old route, but there is a problem when local people remove signposts to try and force you onto the new route to use the refuges. The footbridge that was destroyed was replaced, but it was never essential because it was always possible to cross the river somehow.

When you leave Bavella, you should take two days of food. If you can't stay at Asinau or get any food there, you can still climb Monte Incudine and follow the old GR to Pedinieddi. You can camp there and there is water, but nothing else. The next day you can walk to Usciolu, or if you get there early, keep walking to Prati.



manac

Posted: Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 19:15

Race track mentality again!

--

MnM



Backstroke

Posted: Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 1:00

Hello, I just completed south-north June 7-21.
The refuge at Asinau is available for free camping, there is water there, it is right next to the Bergerie Asinau where you can get a meal. I also got a beer there but don't recall what take-away food items they had, perhaps very little. The "old route" trail is very well marked. If it works out for you, the old site Pedinielli is a fine site to camp.