Gr20 in October

kingi

Posted: Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 6:47

I would like to start Gr20 at 4 October from Calenzana, what do you know about the refuges? Will be open? Do you have some recent information? It's important, because I will be alone, and I won't take my tent.
Thanks.



Gaffr

Posted: Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 7:43

I think that going in October will mean carrying a heavy pack....food might be difficult to obtain....from what I know of October on the route is that the refuges will be open but for shelter only and that is no services will be provided. I have only ever been to the route in June/July.
If you type in GR20 in October you may get some useful information.

--

Gaffr



kingi

Posted: Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 7:48

Thanks, Gaffr, for the prompt answer.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 8:20

I agree with Gaffr. Kingi, you'll find the huts open but unstaffed and with no food supplies. And about the weather .... well you need to be VERY lucky.

--Michele



kingi

Posted: Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 16:34

Michele, I have to try it, I hope to have the support from the sky.



hobbes

Posted: Sat, Sep 27, 2014, 10:29

I just called the hotel Le Chalet in Haut Asco and asked them what they have available when we arrive there on Oct 7. They said they (the hotel) are open, also their gite and they sell food. When I asked what food, the started with "Pasta, rice..." so I guess the basics will be there.



paulmckenna

Posted: Sat, Oct 4, 2014, 14:24

Hi, I've just got back from the gr20 last week but also did the route 10yrs ago in October. This time I travelled to heavy and last time to light. 10 years ago, apart from the refuge dorms being open everything else was closed, Including the whole of Vissavona and its rail line, it was a ghost town. Had to get a bus into Corte for supplies from the main road at Vissavona (pick up was early and return about 5pm. Whole day lost.
Vissavona is far better serviced (bars, cafes, even the camp site) than back then but still no sure way of knowing.
Theres a well stocked spar shop in Calenzona if starting in the north, it does gas for stoves of all designs (thread, push, etc). Conca has a shop but very poorly stocked my guide book states differently, saying well stocked, must admit didn't enter it this time, if starting in the south. Asco was mainly closed back then but looking at your comment that looks sorted. Theres a couple of new Bergeries that have popped up in the south, some have adjusted the route to get you to there doorstep mainly on stage 13 so supplies could be available from them. I took a tent back then but only used it at Vizzavona, theres no unmanned refuge there but if the bars open across from the
station they do rooms for about 23euro. The same in Conca the gite d'Etape la Tonnelle do rooms and food and a shuttle service in the morning to the stations etc,
It was 25*c during the day but chilly on a night so a warm fleece or down jacket. I carried food for the two weeks this time and the bag weighed over 25kg and I can tell you its heavy going, keep as light as possible, I also used my tent once or twice to get a good nights sleep. Weight you wont have.



paulmckenna

Posted: Sat, Oct 4, 2014, 14:31

the bar in Vissavona is called 'le refuge du GR20' its tel/fax number is 04.95.47.22.20 I took a photo.



paulmckenna

Posted: Sat, Oct 4, 2014, 14:32

vizzavona



Gaffr

Posted: Sun, Oct 5, 2014, 6:22

Many thanks Paul, for your comments on the recent trip that you made along the route.
Recently there have there have been several requests for information regarding the situation during travel late into October. Were there any indications during your trip, made mainly during mid to late September?, that the facilities along the route would still be available to walkers in October?
It would appear that the 'season' has now been extended?

--

Gaffr



paulmckenna

Posted: Sun, Oct 5, 2014, 13:40

I didn,t notice anything official to indicate an extention to the season but I know from my trip back in Oct 2004 that all was closed for supplies but ok for sleeping.



lanterne_rouge

Posted: Tue, Nov 4, 2014, 20:56

Hi,

Recently returned from the GR20 northern section (north to south) so thought I would provide an update on the facilities that were available in late Sept/early Oct 2014 (on the dates that we passed through anyway):

Sun 21 September - Gîte d’étape/campsite in Calenzana – open
Mon 22 September – Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu – unstaffed but showers/toilets open
Tues 23 September – Refuge de Carrozzu – staffed – with yummy tabouleh as the pique-nique offering
Weds 24 September/Thurs 25 September – Refuge d’Ascu Stagnu – staffed; Hotel le Chalet Asco – open
Thurs 26 September – Bergeries de Vallone – open – vvv genial host. We passed Refuge Tighjettu on the way to Vallone – it was staffed.
Fri 27 September – Refuge de Ciottulu di i Mori – staffed. The gardiens were more hospitable than some commenters on these forums have made them out to be…! (Maybe they were demob happy.)
Sat 28 September - Refuge de Manganu – staffed. (Hotel Castel di Verghio, which we passed through on the way to Manganu, was open. Bergeries u Vaccaghja was open, but was not taking walk-ups as overnight guests, only those who had booked in advance.)
Sun 29 September – Refuge de Petra Piana – unstaffed but showers/toilets open
Mon 30 September – Refuge de l’Onda – unstaffed, showers/toilets locked. No running water in refuge. Those staying in the refuge had to clamber down to the source which was in the camping area below. Bergeries de Tolla halfway along the low-level route between Petra Piana and Onda had also closed for the season by the 30th.
Tues 1 October – Vizzavona – we didn’t stay here (we opted instead to get the train to Corte) but the refuge was open. The bar-restaurant du Chef de Gare was open. Epicerie Rosy was open. Hotel I Laricci was closed.

Observations
- We asked at the GR20 information booth at Calenzana which refuges were still staffed at this time of year and were told all were staffed until the end of September….

- From day 1 to day 4 get used to coming across used toilet paper left inconsiderately on the path. Not as apparent on the later sections.

- Up until Onda there averaged about 30-35 people at refuges in the evenings, split between camping and staying inside. This was a nice number and didn’t feel at any time that there was a strain on the resources at the refuges (not even when a group of around 16 teenagers turned up at Manganu at 8pm on Saturday night and proceeded to start making dinner for themselves in the small kitchen area). That last weekend in September saw a huge drop in numbers. At Onda on Monday 30th there were 5 tents in the ample-sized camping enclosure, only a handful of people in the refuge.

- The Cirque was not busy at all.

- For those who have seen Michele’s video of his northern section adventures, the train has been modernised! (It’s no longer possible to film yourself gazing wistfully out an open window.)

Thank you to Gaffr, Michele, Joanna, Turnertactics, Tarjei and the other regulars on this site for your thoughtful responses to many different variations of the same questions(!). Will be back in due course to look into what the southern section may hold.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Nov 4, 2014, 21:34

Thank you very much, Lanterne_rouge for your useful and detailed report. It's been great to get the latest updates about the trail and your impressions.

I had heard about the new and modern train that has replaced the old cranky one. I guess my "memories" will be even more precious. To myself at least. The old train, though slow and uncomfortable, had its fascination.

--Michele