Walking alone? Beginning of september.

Katleen

Posted: Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 22:21

Hello,

I'm a 34 year old Belgian women and I would like to do the whole trail, from Calenzana to Conca...but my travel partner will not be able to join me. I don't feel really confident to do this on my own since you never know what might happen on the road. But...I think I will do it anyway if I don't find a travel companion :-). So, 2 questions: Is there someone interested to be my 'compagnon de route'? I will be in Corsica from 1/9 till 20/9, so my walking days are a bit flexible. And if not: any advice on doing this on my own? Apart from the Cirque, are there any other sections to watch out for? And is it reasonable to assume that I will meet other walkers that I can hopefully join for these difficult parts?

Any advice would be appreciated :-)
Thanks,
Katleen



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 7:07

Hello,
Even in September I am sure that you will find many folks around on the trail....not many road sections on this trail :-).
You will not have to 'watch out' for the cirque de la solitude this year since it was closed after the happenings in early June. There is an alternative route which will take you to near the summit of Monti Cintu.
Have a look around the Forum and of course the PNRC Randoblog here to catch up on the latest from the trail. Have a nice trip.

--

Gaffr



rosbif_rebuffat

Posted: Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 10:41

Hi Katleen

I am walking alone from N to S from 3rd to 20th Sept.
If you were worried then you are most welcome to join me, but to be honest I think it's also great doing things like this alone and the risk is minimal.

Once you reach the refuges at the end of the day there should be plenty of company there to relax with and have a chat



Katleen

Posted: Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 17:17

Hi, thanks for the comments. Already feeling a bit more confident.
I'm actually not worried about the fact that I will be 'alone'. I have done several long distance trails by myself, but never so many days in the mountains. So I'm just a bit worried about the 'mountain-risks'... if there is nobody around in case of an emergency. I've been reading some comments and people get really freaky about this :-). But reading the above I think it's safe to assume that there will still be some people around!



Trurl

Posted: Thu, Aug 6, 2015, 4:49

Katleen,

are you sure you want to do the whole thing in the time you have?
Are you really fit and prepared?
Have you been there before?

Doable alone, but it is nicer to have a company, I agree.
I too may need to go alone this year.

--Jacek

Check out

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QD-QBJScI6Q

--

--Jacek



Katleen

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 11:49

I still didn't really started planning my hike but according to my GR book, it's 15 stages, no? So I figured that 20 days would be enough to do the whole thing (assuming that the weather conditions will be ok) ...Am I wrong?
I've never been there before and I always wonder what people mean if they say 'really fit and prepared' :-). I think I'm just regular fit...but I never experienced any problems on my hiking trips. I realize that this trail will be more difficult but I figured that I can always quit (or do part of the trail) if I really can't handle it...



Trurl

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 13:43

Katleen,

will you take a tent with you? You need to figure out how heavy your backpack is going to be. To me, heavy backpack makes all the difference & I envied people who "traveled lightly." So, for starters figure that out: what do you need to take and how light can you walk. It makes sense to warm up on some smaller, one day trips/trails.

Please watch https://vimeo.com/15061401

Another point is good recovery between stages. First stage takes you from Calenzana to Ortu di u Piobbu, solid day w/ full backpack, some 13 km, and 1500 meters of ascent. I remember cursing the weight of the backpack :-) Then you need enough sleep to recover for the next day to Carozzu, and so on.
Bottom line, in addition to all the beauty and meeting wonderful people, the purely physical aspect of the expedition has to be reckoned with.
Trekking poles are very helpful especially on long descents w/ backpack so you can protect your knees.
But start w/ backpack contents, weight, and how it feels when you walk with it.
Maybe I am saying things too obvious to you, but they weren't obvious to me last year
and I was cursing & throwing good stuff away in order to walk lighter.

--

--Jacek



Katleen

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 18:15

Yes, I'm planning to take my tent...so I don't have to make any bookings in advance, which will give me more flexibility. I always try to keep the weight around 12 kg. Like I said, it not my first hike or the first time in the mountains so I definitely know the advantages of a light pack and good shoes :-)! And I will be hiking in Iceland before I come to Corsica, so hopefully, I will be all warmed up ;-).



Trurl

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 16:28

Katleen,

12 kg sounds great; I was closer to 20 kg or over, with water & food & gas for cooking. Gas was not really necessary, access to stoves was good last September. I carried 3 L of water for each stage.
Sounds like you'll be fine :-)

Video by a friend:

https://youtu.be/QD-QBJScI6Q

(with comments by me)

--

--Jacek



Trurl

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 17:03

Good inspiration

https://youtu.be/uzDdKbjto_8

--

--Jacek



Katleen

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 18:13

Thanks for the videos and remarks! Another question: is the route it well marked? Or do I need to bring detailed maps to find my way? At this moment I only have the book...



Trurl

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 18:30

The trail is beautifully marked, no real need for maps. The book (Cicerone, by Paddy Dillon, right?) is all you need. Typically, white over red, which is Polish flag :-)
but new stage 4, over Monte Cinto is marked in yellow.
Yellow is used for variants of the main route.
Sometimes variants are more interesting (the book discusses them).
For example, I recommend the alpine variant from Petra Piana to l'Onda sur la crète.
It is described in the book, and marked with yellow stripes. Very scenic, with some scrambling.
Main variant is much less exposed, in the forest and passes by bergeries where you can buy food.

--

--Jacek



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 18:40

Jacec

I love the video. Is this a new one? I remember another one you posted not long after to finished?

Katleen

You can print maps from http://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/accueil but, to be honest, you don't need them especially if you have a guidebook. The route is really well marked. If you haven't seen a mark in 100 metres, you know you're off-route so back track a bit. I scanned the relevant pages from the guidebook and printed them two to a page to save weight then binned them once I'd used them.

As the GR20 is a linear route with well defines stages, you should meet a bunch of people at the gite in Calenzana all heading off on the GR20 and will be meeting up with the same people each night.

20 days is ample and should cover any bad days or rest days. Some of the stages are really short too so you can either double up or use them as a semi rest day.

I made a couple of video's if you need more inspiration:

https://vimeo.com/108139553

https://vimeo.com/106833379

I hope you enjoy the trek as much as I did

--

Alan



Trurl

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 18:49

Alan,

I reposted last year's video made by a friend, Christopher. I love this video and watch it every couple of weeks to return to the GR in spirit. And also the classic video by Michele.

--

--Jacek



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 19:24

Jacek

I just watched my own video's and, despite the bad filming, am feeling really inspired to go back again. I'm going to find Michele's video's now and watch them....

--

Alan



Trurl

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 19:45

I just watched (nostalgically) your video too; I like recognizing all the places.
Except I missed the Cirque last year, and I may never see it again :-(

--

--Jacek



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 21:37

I watched Michele's voideo's and loved them every bit a much as I did first time around. Everyone who thinks about doing the GR20 should watch them - but maybe not pack so much - Carry a coffee percolater? really?

--

Alan



Trurl

Posted: Sat, Aug 8, 2015, 21:40

But this time I am thinking about taking a solar cell/charger for my smartphone

--

--Jacek



Trurl

Posted: Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 20:59

Alan,

just watched your video from the South. I don't know this part yet...
Like your music choices :-)

--

--Jacek



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 21:10

Carry a coffee percolater? really?

ah I guess I need to step in here LOL

Alan you're right about my coffee machine. In fact we could have used instant coffee and be just fine. But since I'm addicted to freshly made Italian coffee, I decided it was worth the additional weight. I find that a generous cup of good STRONG Italian coffee gives you enough energy and stamina especially early in the morning. And it's a good morale booster as well.

For the big pack ... well although I never exceeded 18 kg, I later learned how to trim it down a lot by choosing more compressible and lighter items (i.e. I got rid of my ***1 kg*** Berghaus triple-goretex shell).

--Michele



Trurl

Posted: Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 21:19

Michele,

there IS now special instant coffee: Starbucks VIA, which competes successfully with moka
we make with Bialetti (even using Illy or Danesi). Truly great and you only need boiling water.
So that's what I will take and recommend to others.

--

--Jacek



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 21:26

Jacek,

though I'm a little skeptical that some instant coffee can compete with a freshly done, I'm absolutely interested in the article: if it tastes right, why not? I'll look into it. I'll definitely give it a try.

Thanks for the heads up

--Michele



Trurl

Posted: Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 21:42

Michele,

I too was skeptical at first, especially since good coffee means so much to me,
we normally travel with Bialetti. But Starbucks has figured it out somehow.
VIA is sold in small elongated packets that can also be used for stirring.
A friend introduced me to it last year. I like "Italian Roast" and "French Roast"
with caffeine of course. Aromatic and strong. Friends on the trail liked it too.
Wind carried away my remaining supply at Petra Piana :-(

http://cdn.outdoorgearlab.com/photos/10/92/230765_7483_XL.jpg

--

--Jacek



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 22:05

Thanks again Jacek, I was on the Starbucks sites a few minutes ago and I just figured out they DON'T ship abroad: the national stores in UNITED STATES, UK, FRANCE, GERMANY and CANADA only ship locally. Darn!!



Trurl

Posted: Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 22:27

Michele,

try just in a coffee shop, not necessarily online. Also perhaps art Amazon.

BTW, these packets are not cheap, slightly less than $1 per packet depending on quantity
but such price is correct: they ARE a replacement of moka/espresso at a cafe.

https://scontent-lga1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfa1/t31.0-8/10714393_10152...

(myself in the middle)

--

--Jacek



Michele
moderator

Posted: Mon, Aug 10, 2015, 6:20

Thanks Jacek. We don't have any Starbucks stores in Italy. I guess I'll have to live with it.



Welli

Posted: Mon, Aug 10, 2015, 8:44

Katleen,
I'll be going N to S on 29th August. Planning to complete it in 12 days, but as always, the key is to be flexible. Having been caught out in thunderstorms before, its always better safe than sorry. Be prepared to sit it out for a day if the weather's not suitable. Refuges will have all info on weather.



Trurl

Posted: Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 20:06

Katleen,

I will be in Corsica 4.09.
Perhaps I'll meet you on the trail :-)

--Jacek

--

--Jacek



Katleen

Posted: Wed, Sep 23, 2015, 22:02

I guess we didn't meet :-)...but I finished the whole trail and it was great!
Lucky with the weather and I never felt unsafe. So if anyone else is doubting: you will be fine ;-).



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, Sep 23, 2015, 22:41

Great to hear everything went well, Katleen. Let us know your impressions, if there was something you didn't like or went wrong, and finally your own opinion of the Asco-Tighiettu variant. Thank you

--Michele



rosbif_rebuffat

Posted: Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 12:42

Hi All

Well done Katleen. I also completed the walk last friday... and my body is still recovering 6 days later.. what a journey!

I kept a diary so at some point I will write up a blog, but until that happens a few points.

The Haut Asco to Tighjettu stage was the most difficult day (in my opinion, although Usciolu to Asinau came a close second) the terrain leading up to Monte Cinto was difficult and the ascent merciless, I made it over 1100m of ascent in 1 go, and it took a long time. Then, with my body already tired from that, I found the descent to Tighjettu quite risky and I was slipping and sliding around. In the end I only just made Tighjettu in daylight (although I didnt start that early, around 9)
If the Cirque is more demanding than the alternative then perhaps its a good thing its closed (though not a good thing for the poor sods who lost their lives)

My favourite day was the first day on the southern stage, Vizzavona to Bergerie Campanelle. It was an incredibly beautiful day walking through Beech forests, with plenty of streams/pools for bathing and relaxation, then to top it all off Bergerie Campanelle was the best overnight stay, I had beef Bourgignon for dinner and they kept bringing more out until we were full, followed by chestnut cake.

One important point, is that September was BUSY. Far busier than I expected and most of the refuges were full. One refuge, Usciolu, actually ran out of flat places to pitch ones tent on there were so many people camping there.

Finally, like Katleen I also enjoyed good weather and it only rained once for around 2 hours in the morning. I would NOT like to be doing the Carozzu - Haut Asco stage, or the Haut Asco to Tighjettu stage in the wet!!



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 13:09

Thank you rosbif_rebuffat for your precious feedback and advice.

No, the Cirque is not so physically demanding. In fact it is more psychologically demanding then physically. If it doesn't scare you it's pretty enjoyable, and it's only 200/300 m. climbing down and up. Compared to the variant it's nothing.

A friend of mine who walked the variant this year (in the S-N direction) admitted the descent was pretty tough. I bet more and more people will start to split it: more wild camping around Lac d'Argentu?

Speaking of wild camping ... what you experienced at Usciolu was probably the tip of the iceberg. Too many people around. Wild camping on this route will become the only possible alternative.

--Michele



GRRR 20

Posted: Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 14:13

I agree. The Cirque is scary. The variant is just hard work.