Hiring a pack animal and muleteer (or donkey) to carry our stuff

cheaptequila

Posted: Wed, May 6, 2015, 16:39

Hello, We're 4 fit guys in our late 40's - early 60's planning on doing the whole GR20 from September 1 - September 12th or so. Couple of us have bad backs and we don't want to carry a full backpack. We've looked into joining a group, but it seems they don't necessarily follow the exact GR20 route. I can't find any information on hiring a mule\donkey\human to take care of the animals that might be able to carry the majority of our kit so we would be able to hike with daypacks. I'm sure there must be a way to do this, perhaps the sites are all in French (one of our wives is fluent, so not a problem).
Does anyone have information on how this can be arranged? We don't need a "full guide", we're capable of getting along on our own, we just want to hike light!
Thanks



Gaffr

Posted: Wed, May 6, 2015, 20:07

Hello,
You might have to do an amended version of the GR20. There are several sections that the mules would perhaps not be capable of handling. The descent and re-ascent of the Cirque would be one such area and parts of the stages One and two? But, I guess, with a good deal of pre-planning, that it would be possible to do a 'muleteer version'. As you say like the Guided Groups do to take advantage of better accommodation and to miss out the first two etapes and to usually finish at Bavella for connections for getting home? Maybe too to fit into a normal holiday period?
There are several places where you see mules and ponies on the route but these are used to carry supplies up to the refuges....e.g. at d'Orto di u Piobbu, Carozzu perhaps, Vallone, Prati, Usciolu and others.

--

Gaffr



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, May 6, 2015, 22:29

Hello cheaptequila,

Gaffr is right. I too don't see the mule trek viable for the reasons he pointed out.

A much simpler solution would be to travel light only with your daypacks (plus a light sleeping bag) and rely **entirely** on the huts' services (meals, bed etc.). In such case you should make your reservations at each refuge well in advance.
http://www.parc-corse.org/vad/

--Michele



cheaptequila

Posted: Sun, May 24, 2015, 2:15

thanks Michele & Gaffr, we are having some discussions on the options. A couple of us are fine with carrying our own kit & relying ENTIRELY on the huts, but two in the group want to lighten the load as much as possible. All of us are more or less ok with paying the 120 euro a day for the guided walk that provides the donkey\mule service, but as you say, this cuts out some of the standard route. I think the Brits in our group are expecting some Richard Attenborough type of guide who is an expert on all the flora & fauna, and I suspect it's something a little less highbrow!

We did get some recommendations for hiring a donkey from another site, but we are having problems contacting them!

http://www.xn--nes-hla.net/randonner_ane/Corse.htm
http://www.randonnee-ane-corse.com/
http://www.kallistea.com/votre-sejour/a-chacun-son-sejour/balades-a-dos-...
http://asin.free.fr/balagnane.htm

Any other comments on the above sites would be appreciated,
Thanks again!



Gaffr

Posted: Sun, May 24, 2015, 5:47

Hello,
Good to see that your arrangements are coming together.
I met a Corsican lady at Vallone ...end of stage 4 if coming from the North...who was guiding a family group going Northwards who was a mine of information regarding the 'nature of Corse'.
Last year when we making our way through the GR55 in the Vanoise National Park we did come across a family who were travelling with donkeys.
Hope your donkeys, probably Mules?, are more co-operative than the Modane? that RLS had big problems with when he journeyed through the Cevennes.:-).

--

Gaffr



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, May 26, 2015, 10:17

Correction!
Just found my 'Travels with a Donkey' book.....the donkey was called Modestine and not the named after the wee town ( Modane ) with the tunnels through to Italy which we came across on the GR55. :-)

--

Gaffr



cheaptequila

Posted: Tue, May 26, 2015, 15:38

Thanks Gaffr and Michele, your information and answers to this question and on the other posts are incredibly helpful! Thank you for taking the time to do this.

We are down to the 2 options -

1. Go with corsica adventures, have them provide the mules, guide, etc. - we carry small daypacks, except for a couple of the days where we have to carry everything because the mules can't go where we go.

2. go ultralight. Take the money that we would have spent on the guided trip, and buy ultralight equipment, which is quite expensive, but then we will own it. Carry all our kit, rely on the gites for all food.

We'll be starting the hike in early September, and I saw on another post that you said the gites will still have food, and no reservations are needed if we bring our own tents.

Regarding lunches - it seems that some of the gites will have things to purchase for lunch before we head out for the day, or I guess we can always buy an extra 2nd breakfast and throw it in a container. We'll bring a jetboil and a small amount of freeze-dried food just in case. Do you think that makes sense?

Thanks
Larry



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, May 26, 2015, 16:49

Larry,

I'd go with the second option. You may even cut on the tent & mattress weight by choosing to sleep in the park tents (but then you need to make your reservations). And yes, you may buy things for your lunch day by day. And thumbs up for the jetboil plus freeze-dried food for emergency.

--Michele