GR20 on 3-9 May, some questions

Krylov

Posted: Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 16:21

Hello everybody,
I am planning a short trek on GR20 from 3.05 till 9.05. It looks like Corte and Vizzavona are good start/end points due to the train connection with Bastia. I would like to start from Corte in order to visit Lac de Nino, hopefully there will be not too much of snow. Here is the basic plan:
3.05 Bastia port - Corte
4.05 Corte - Refuge de la Sega (1166m) ~ 6h
5.05 Refuge de la Sega (1166m) - Lac de Nino (1743m) - Refuge de Manganu (1601m) ~ 8h
6.05 Refuge de Manganu (1601m) - Refuge de Pietra Piana (1842m) ~ 7h
7.05 Refuge de Pietra Piana (1842m) - Refuge de l'Onda (1430m) ~ 5h
8.05 Refuge de l'Onda (1430m) - Vizzavona (920m) ~ 6h
9.05 Vizzavona (920m) - Bastia airport

In case of delays I am planning to detour after Pietra Piana towards Vivario. In case of much snow on the way I will just turn back.

Refuge de Manganu seems to have no cols on the way from Lac de Nino, am I correct?
Also should I expect temperatures far below zero at night?

Thank you,
Denis.



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 19:57

Hello,
Between Lac de Nino and the Bergeries Vaccaghia, as I recall, there was a slight height loss and then up to Manganu no height gain at all.
Remember to reach Pietra Piana you have to cross the highest col on the route and most of the way to the col Bocca Muzzella before dropping down to PP is on high ground....most of it above 2,000mtrs.
This section between Manganu and PP is usually the most alpine on the early part of the season.
In 2013 I arrived there from the south on the 13th, June and there were very big snowfields still around. Yet in 2007 the same stage on the 25th, June you had to search for a snowfield.
I think that arriving at the Bocca Alle Porte above Manganu after a night of frost? to continue without crampons might give you a hard few hours of travel. You should be able to work this out for yourself before leaving the area of Manganu.
On the other side with hot sunshine in the next two weeks of so there could be a very different picture. You have a bit over two weeks for conditions to alter.
Manganu rather than Pietra Piana would be your best decision point.

--

Gaffr



Krylov

Posted: Mon, May 8, 2017, 17:05

Thank you for the advice, Gaffr!

Finally we went from Corte to Bergerie Vaccaghja, left our stuff there, walked a bit along GR20 both ways and returned via the same trail.
Below I am reporting on some main facts. Hope to make a full story with photos later.

Corte
We have found the Chez Bartho camping closed. And as it was late and rainy, we had to stay at the nearest hotel - Sampiero. 67€ both for single and double room.

Corte <-> La Sega
Well marked (orange). Unexpectedly for me this trail was not an easy start. Partly because I had ~2kg of food and 2L of water. In total - 4.5h walking with 1.5h for stops.
Later we learned that it is not necessary to carry all water from Corte, as there is a good source near the bridge on ~ halfway.

La Sega
The refuge has a huge kitchen in the middle and small sleeping rooms in the corners. There used to be normal toilets but now most of them are broken. Currently the whole place is very dirty. Rats are present, but they are not too impudent and quite afraid of people.
Still there is a running water outside, gas and some electric light.

La Sega <-> Vaccaghja
The trail is relatively easy, but poorly marked with pale yellow color. We were about to loose it a couple of times and one had to wait by the last mark while the other is walking around. The hiker after us was alone and unfortunately end up once in spiny bushes. While coming back we saw some fresh marks near La Sega, so maybe the story will change.
On the positive site of the trail are the beautiful waterfalls, especially strong in spring.

Vaccaghja
Coming from La Sega we stepped on GR20 just by that pretty place. It consists of several buildings, including sleeping rooms, a kitchen, a shower and a summer terrace. Everything was open, but we got to know that this place is private and hikers should use it only in case of emergency (normaly people are expected to stay in Manganu, which is 2km to the south across the walley)
The owner arrived later with a group of friends. They were not too happy to see strangers, however they didn't ask us to leave and even offered a hot shower and a socket for charging, all for free. And moreover, the next day after a heavy rain we could use some spare shoes while ours were drying.

Manganu
Relatively clean, with gas and a fireplace. Running water even inside. Electric lights both in the kitchen and the sleeping room, no sockets. New luxury toilets and showers - yet closed.

Manganu <-> Lake Nino
Relaxing, perfectly marked trail.

Manganu <-> Petra Piana
On 06.05 we almost reached the col (1980m) on the way to Petra Piana. Several people passed it the same day, although, there were large patches of snow with water streams underneath.
The trail marks were normally 3-5m apart, so the way was visible even under a heavy rain that caught us on the way back.



Gaffr

Posted: Mon, May 8, 2017, 18:06

Hello,
Thank you for getting back to the Forum with details of what you found on the trail that you walked.
Of course in early May the problems of not finding refuges and camping sites open for the season will always make things very difficult for the walker.
I am surprised about what you found at Sega. My wife and I camped nearby and had food in the Refuge and all appeared clean and tidy...that was in June. The guardian was strict and welcoming.
Could it be that the open use of the building during the winter months leads to some miss-use by those coming to stay in the off season.
Anyway you had an adventure and it was pleasing that the folks at the Bergerie realised that you were in need of shelter and a warm place with a shower. The first times that we stopped for lunch at Vaccaghja on a journey to the South we had a happy hour or so sitting at an outside table having a bit of fun with the herders, my wife is French, and a couple of Belgian folks also there for lunch.
I always come back with good memories from the GR20.
Perhaps you too will return sometime in the future.

--

Gaffr



Krylov

Posted: Mon, May 8, 2017, 19:29

With no doubts this was one of the most exciting trips I had!))

Regarding La Sega - yes, it seems that a huge amount of people stayed there during the last months. Mostly the ones walking on Mare a Mare. For the two nights that we stayed, there were 8 and 9 people in total.
So, probably, over a hundred people during off season - that is definitely hard for any unguarded place.

Maybe the amount of people is rising, because even on GR20 we have seen 3-4 hikers each day.



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, May 9, 2017, 8:08

Hello Krylov,
When you went up to the Bocca alle Porte were folks getting over this col and heading down towards Petra Piana? This, when there is snow still around, can be one of the crucial sections to travel over.

--

Gaffr