Corsica trip planning for hikers
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Posted: Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 13:21
Hi everybody, this is my first post here, thanks for all the great information provided by everyone!
I found a lot of posts about fox attacks at Manganu/Vergio, but they all dated back to 2013. Is this because they have disappeared by now or has it become common knowledge so no need to discuss it any more? I´ll be hiking North to South starting beginning of October. Thanks for your help.
Posted: Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 14:12
A friend of mine was at the Refuge de Manganu in early September this year and reported that the fox there is still active. It bit a Dutch walker who was in a bivvy bag, possibly mistaking his smelly feet for something edible! You'll be OK in a tent as long as you don't have some ripe chees in there with you. Hang that from a tree.
Posted: Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 14:31
Alan, thanks so mouch for the quick reply! Always amazing how well forums like this work! What did we do before there was the internet ;-)?!
Posted: Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 16:09
I'm not sure if a tent is enough to keep the fox away. After all a tent is easy to rip.
Posted: Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 12:57
When do you start from Calenzana?
Posted: Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 20:55
We were 'attacked' by an animal last august... at Prati! Couldn't see if it was a fox because it was dark, but it ripped our tent and took my husbands backpack. We found it (the backpack) in the bushes 10 meters from the tent. Fortunately everything was still in it, but the tent was seriously damaged. We realised there was a piece of bread inside the backpack... We're actually not sure if it was a fox or maybe a pig, but yes: animals are active on the trail. And not just at Manganu and Vergio.
Posted: Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 20:35
Thank you Jennka. Sorry to hear of your disadventure. I guess we should begin to consider a fox repellent (if there is any) as a vital addition to the GR20 kit.
By the way, if you can provide us with any more news regarding the trail (changes, updates etc.), we'll appreciate. Thanks
Posted: Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 20:51
We (a friend and I) will be starting at Calenzana on Sep 5. Our flight arrives on the 4th, we want to spend the day for shopping in Calvi and the transfer. Maybe we´ll meet some time along the way if you are not too fast.
Posted: Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 21:01
I am actually planning on taking something like pepper spray which is supposed to scare dogs away, should work on foxes, too. But the most important thing I have learnt on many trips: Put food away from your tent and such that animals cannot reach it. Once they have learnt to asscociate humans with food, it is really too late.
And it is not their fault.
In Yosemite National Park, for example, they put metal boxes and places where you can hang up your food bags so you don´t run into trouble with bears. On GR20 I guess I will put at least my food, maybe the whole back pack into the refuges, if I don´t even sleep in there.
Jenka, hope you didn´t have to abandon your trip because of the ripped tent?
Posted: Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 11:03
I guess you mean 5th October?
I'm not sure you need to go to those sort of lengths. It's only the food they will be after and will be able to smell it's there. The Manganu fox took one of my boots from the porch of the tent but dropped it when it realised it wasn't edible.
On the other hand, with fewer trekkers on the route, you'll probably get more attention.
A plastic container outside the tent weighted down with rocks or hung from a tree sould be fine and it is only a few of the stops. There are trees at Manganu and at Verghio (at least a high fence anyway) but nothing at Prati. It's quite open there.
Prati is a new one. That hasn't been reported before and the fox/animal sounds quite bold. We didn't encounter anything last year.
Posted: Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 19:27
@kingi: We (a friend and I) will be starting at Calenzana on Sep 5
Sorry, I meant Oct 5 - thanks for pointing that out, Alan.
Posted: Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 19:41
I’m not sure you need to go to those sort of lengths. It’s only the food they will be after and will be able to smell it’s there.
I know I tend to be more careful than most; but from some stories it sounds like they´ll try anything to find out whether its edible – if they should try me, I´d rather be prepared. Also read Audrius´ story (‘Other insights’) on this page .
Posted: Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 21:13
Indeed, no trees at Prati, maybe the best solution is to store food in the hut?
Fortunately I brought duct tape so we could do an emergancy repair :-)
Posted: Fri, Feb 13, 2015, 20:22
Visited GR20 in June/July last year, suffered fox attack during the night at Castellu di Verghio. We had our tent in the most far left corner, but having heard/read about the fox we put all our food in a plastic bag, then in a sidebag of a rucksack, and then all this - into a rucksack, which we kept inside the tent. This way we ended up only being peed on by a fox (what a stench...), without any attempt to enter. Anyway, the summary of that night was that one guy got bit, another tent with two girls was shredded, and entire camp had no relief since 01:00 until 05:00, with people running around with lanterns on and throwing rocks at the beast.
Spoke with some Australian girls in refuge of Ascu 2 days before that, and heard exactly the same story - one guy got bit, others had no tranquility during the night... I cannot understand how this doesn't get fixed, considering that people are getting hurt each night! I wonder if you could you set a trap to kill the beast.
As for Manganu - slept there like a baby after previous restless night, but heard from others there are foxes around. Saw that for sure when leaving the refuge in the morning - we stuck on a fox drinking from a river that runs through the refuge, fox was quite surprised!
TLDR: Can you kill the fox? :)
Posted: Fri, Feb 13, 2015, 20:38
Incursions have been going on for a while now but, I regret to say, the Corsicans don't seem to care nor interested in finding a solution to this annoying problem.
Posted: Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 12:51
A friend of my had problems with fox attach in the summer during his GR20 season unfortunally the problem with fox is still unsolved.
Mod. Edit: Useless link removed
Posted: Sat, Feb 14, 2015, 14:49
@Lawrence of Spain Thats exactly story i have heared from numerous people..
Posted: Sat, Feb 14, 2015, 13:44
Kill the beast? Set a trap?
I'm totally disgusted that anybody possessing -I'm guessing- a great love of nature might suggest such a horrendous solution to this problem.
While I really feel for the people that got bit and certainly wouldn't like this to happen to me, may I remind you that is us, humans, trespassing into their territory and not the other way around? WE are the problem.
Probably it all started when food leftovers were thrown around instead of being disposed of appropriately...
Posted: Sun, Feb 15, 2015, 17:46
I quite agree. We're the visitors but the fox has to live there. Killing the fox is a bit extreme for a few trashed tents.
Posted: Sun, Feb 15, 2015, 18:49
This may be a bit hippyish, but could be worth a try: how about scenting around the tent/sleeping bag with citronella - dogs, foxes and cats are supposed to be deterred by the smell. I know it's easy to buy citronella joss sticks and candles which might work on their own, or I guess it's available in tiny (lightweight!) bottles..?
Other known cat deterrents might work too - tea tree oil? Maybe put a few drops on used tea bags or cotton wool pads and spear the tent peg through them when pitching so they don't blow away and litter the trail.
I've read that peeing to 'scent mark' your territory may deter foxes, but that it works best with male urine, and quite frankly I'm not prepared to go there!
I'm almost convincing myself that I HAVE to return to the GR20 just to try these ideas out! Not the last one though ;-)
Posted: Sun, Feb 15, 2015, 20:01
This is a page from the US National Park Service adivising hikers on how to deal with bears.
Takeaways (assuming you can generalize that info to foxes):
- Not storing food safely leads to animals getting used to getting food easily and also getting used to humans, such loosing their natural respect of us
- "Good" smelling stuff we don´t consider food might spark the animals' interest, too
- We should be happy there are only *foxes* in Corsica ;)
Posted: Sun, Feb 15, 2015, 20:08
Did the GR 20 in october - mostly slept in the huts but about 5 times we used the tent, too, including Verghiu. Though we were the only people there in a tent, no problem at all with a fox. We always put all of our food in a backpack up into a tree.
Before the trip, I was kind of nervous after reading the reports here, even brought pepper spray just in case, but never even heard of others being visited by a fox.
It is so simple, really - if there is a tree, bring a string and pull up your food. If there is none, put your food into a hut!
Posted: Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 13:09
Mkey, I guess I will simply sleep in Verghio refuge instead of tent, and problem solved. I also remember passing another refuge/bergerie on the way to Verghio that was totally empty, so it would be another option to stay, just don't remember a name for it.
@RussianBlue, would you say the same about disgust etc. when the fox would start bitting you? Or would you start convincing yourself you are the problem?
Posted: Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 13:49
I think that the bergeries prior to Vergio when coming down from the North will be Bergeries de Radule.
I have passed this twice in June and it did not appear to be open for business...maybe later into July and August? Although I must say that folks were camped nearby. It is a nice spot for an overnight.
When I camped at Vergio, now three times, we didn't have the fox problem but we did camp close to the building with the raised area...showers/kitchen area. In 2013 there was a camper with two dogs so no appearance of the renard!
We did have our food bag snatched from out tent when camping at Bonifatu and when on the GR20 we have been camped when tents have been raided. In Scotland where there is a big game bird shooting 'industry' the foxes are thinned out on almost a daily basis with both guns and with terriers trained to go into the 'burrows' and drag them out.
Posted: Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 16:03
@Lawrence - No fox or other animal is going to attack you if you don´t have food in your tent. If they are getting at your food and you try to chase them away, thats where they might get agressive towards you. I am completely with RussianBlue on this.
Have been on trips where there were bears and coyotes around, never had a problem as I keep food away from the tent and out of reach of animals.
Posted: Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 16:54
I wish it were that simple...
This is a cut & paste from Andrius' scary report at this link: http://corsica.forhikers.com/forum/p/1987
Beware of wildlife - a lot of tents, including mine were attacked by a fox in the refuge of Manganu. Really nasty fellow, super aggressive, attacked one guy 3 times, bit him in the arm, even if he didn't have any food or anything in his tent. Dragged out things like metal mugs, drinking pouches, etc out of tents. Bit my tent several times (and i also made a hole myself when i was defending myself with my walking stick). Was probably with rabbies, as it really isn't normal for an animal to behave like that.I'm sure i've hit it with the walking stick pretty hard, others said they managed to hit him with a rock, the guy that was bitten had kicked him hard.
I used to sleep with the bivy completely open, but on that night, as if by chance, had the mesh closed and i'm really glad about it, because when i woke up at 3:30 at night i saw a face looking straight at me and when i shouted at it it jumped straight at me. Had it not been for the mesh i'd probably lost my eyes or at least had some serious damage done to my face. Beware, close at least the mesh on the tents.
Posted: Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 16:58
@hobbes, please read this: http://corsica.forhikers.com/forum/p/1987 - the fox at Manganu was very aggressive, bit a guy who had nothing of food in his tent.
Posted: Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 17:10
If you read Andrius' report thoroughly, he says: "Was probably with rabbies, as it really isn't normal for an animal to behave like that." Nothing to add IMHO.
Everyone do whatever you want, unless you bring a gun. I know what has worked for me.
One thing to add: If a fox does positively have rabies, it is o.k. to shoot him as he is going to die anyway and you save him some pain. For the other foxes just going after our food, on the long run, you´d have to continuously kill foxes as a new one will take the old one's territory and if people leave their food out at night, do the same thing... Not an option.
Posted: Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 17:25
You keep going with the assumption that foxes attack because people leave their food out. I know for sure that foxes have **learned** how to look for food in the hikers' campgrounds. So even if you carry no food at all that will not guarantee that you will be left alone. Heck, sometimes they ran away even with the hikers' boots in their mouth.
Anyway, as always, it's just a matter of luck.
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