Guided trek

StevenS

Posted: Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 12:09

Does anybody have experience or can advise me an organization that offers the GR20 with a guide in group ? I already learned a lot here and I know July and August are crowded. But I have to be realistic and when walking alone, 1 unfortunate slip can leave you alone for a while without any help. Never experienced that but there are stories to prove it does happen. Because you will see at that moment or on that particular difficult crossing there is nobody around. Also I am 52 and not getting younger. Still healthy doing sports like running and volleyball, but not overloaded with experience , started hiking again last year with 170km part of the GR11 in Spanish Pyrenees on my own. I realize this will be more technical. I plan to go July/August 2017. A guided trek would cost me more then double, so any advice and thought is welcome. I live in Belgium and till now the best info on guided trek I saw on this website http://walking.europe-active.co.uk. Thanks in advance ! Steven

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Steven



GRRR 20

Posted: Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 14:03

I never went on a guided trek on the GR20, but I met a lot of people who did. Back in the old days, before you could book the refuges, it was very rare to meet a guided trek, and everyone had to carry their own tents and food. That all changed some years ago, because companies can now book beds, organise meals and transport baggage. You're right, it does cost a lot, but many people now prefer to do it that way. For your money, you will get everything organized for you, but you still have to be fit enough to trek. I have come across people who couldn't keep up with their groups, and they were sent ahead by taxi, with instructions about how to get back onto the route and meet up with everyone else in the evenings. Obviously, if you do this, then you are still on your own if anything goes wrong. I don't have enough knowledge to be able to recommend any organizations, but there are both European and native Corsican operators. Track them down and ask them questions before you book and pay money. I know some operators will sell you short, by going direct from Calenzana to Carrozu, instead of going up to Piobbu. At the southern end, I know some operators finish at Bavella, instead of Conca.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 14:09

Hi Steven,
of course a guided trek is expensive and takes away the sense of adventure the GR20 can give you. But before turning to an organization you may want to try and find someone willing to walk with you. It's not the first time that people on this very forum look for hiking partners so you might get lucky.
Otherwise if an organization is really your thing, you may want to look into www.altre-cime.com
I didn't have any direct experience with them but I follow their facebook page and they seem nice people.

--Michele



obrobinson

Posted: Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 16:34

Hi Steven,

If you are UK based both Exodus and KE Adventure offer guided tours; if memory serves me the former (N-S) is less arduous; KE (S-N). Both will cost £2000+! I've done the GR20 five times independently and it has never cost me more than £500 - that for everything UK/Corsica (flights, transport, food, accommodation etc).

Oliver



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 5:06

Hello,
I met a Corsican organised family group during my trip from the South in 2013 at a few locations.
The very knowledgeable lady leading the group seemed very caring with the mixed range of ages within the group.
I first came across them during the snow covered stage between Petra Piana and Manganu where a more senior guide was awaiting the arrival of the folks to fit them with crampons to enable a safer ascent and be escorted to Bocca alle Porte.
They used the Bergeries de Vaccaghja as an overnight stop and I met up with them again at Auberge U Vallone. On account of the snow problems still around at the Cirque she was arranging to descent from the Auberge to take the Navette round to Ascu to continue their traverse. It all appeared to be well run and with obvious radio/phone contact with her base folks.
I guess that when leading groups the ability to be flexible to meet the needs of the group are essential.

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Gaffr



StevenS

Posted: Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 19:14

GRRR20 + Michele + Oliver + Gaffr , thank you all for your comments ! I will take all in account and the more i learn the easier the decision.

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Steven



VHodobay

Posted: Thu, Apr 6, 2017, 10:41

i came across the altre-cime guys once, in Manganu,I think, and they were nice and friendly folks and the group was cheerful, mostly midldle-aged people.



GRRR 20

Posted: Thu, Apr 6, 2017, 17:30

I came across a British group a few years ago, led by a man who simply wouldn't speak to me when I asked him how his company structured the trek. I did learn from one of the trekkers that they were missing the first and last days, so that everything would squeeze into two weeks. The company told their clients that the first and last days were 'boring'. I could think of lots of ways to receive those days, but I would never call them 'boring'.

Like VHodobay, I once meet an Altre Cime group and I was impressed by the way they were doing things.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, Apr 6, 2017, 17:57

I know some people who consider the GR20 south "boring" ... go figure ...



Backstroke

Posted: Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 4:28

I had a run-in with a guide who was too aggressive in trying to show her group that she was watching out for them. There were terrible rains, with few tables indoors at the refuge, and she tried to push-out everybody away from the first-come first-served tables by claiming special status for her group. This was despicable and my friend and I stood our ground and did not move.

While the members of a led group may bond and have fun hiking together, groups in general do divide their members from the other hikers at large, and oftentimes the other hikers regard the groups as interlopers, do not respect them, and do not want to associate with individuals in that group. My point is, the GR20 is already about as structured and easy to plan and mange as it gets. The social aspect of meeting other hikers is one component of the experience. Different strokes for different folks, but I would advise diving in and becoming one of the hikers at large.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 6:47

Thank you Backstroke for your recount. This speaks volumes about how the increased number of hikers is posing more and more problems on shared places creating a sense of competition on just about anything. And this affects negatively on the social aspect of meeting other hikers.

--Michele



StevenS

Posted: Sat, Apr 8, 2017, 18:13

Also thanks to VHodobay,Backstroke,Michele,GRRR 20, for your input.
I agree with all arguments BUT... meantime I already booked a guided trip with Couleur-Corse.
If I had somebody coming over with me I would never think of a guided trek.
I needed to reserve my holidays at work well in advance so I did not want to lose time in searching a partner. And the guided trek fitted perfect in my period although I prefered to walk 16 days on the integral GR instead of 13.
Walking alone indeed already brought me nice unexpected social experiences that i never will forget.
As explained above thinking about what could go wrong being alone, I reassured most of all my wife and children who like very much the idea that I am walking in group :)
So reading your comments I hope :
-That I am not part of an aggressive unpolite led group.
-That I will feel not awkward to other hikers and they will not see reason to dislike us.
-That our group may bond and have fun hiking together. It is rare you don't have anybody with whom you have a good connection.
Adjusting to the group is no problem for me (I hope same for the walking tempo) but I am aware that now I cannot start walking when I wake up.
In August I will report back on my experience with Couleur-Corse.
Of all your suggestions and organizations I tried to find a Corsican one. As said their trip fitted my timing perfect, but most of all, they walk from south to north. Very interesting for me as I always have to get over the first 3 walking days with painfull sore muscles before they get used to the walking rythm. After that I can go on and on (let us hope also this time).
Take care !

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Steven