GR20 In October

maoy12

Posted: Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 15:38

Hello!

I just finished the GR20 in october and I wanted to share my experience. After obsessively reading this site and all of it's info, I felt that doing the GR20 in October was not the best idea. After completing it, I would have to say that October is a fine time to do it.
Here are my thoughts from my trip:
- We had 10 days of perfect weather. Cold in the morning and evening, but beautiful hiking weather during the day. I was in a shirt and shorts by 8 AM every day. Understandably, rain could have happened but we got beautiful weather. As well, if heading from the north there is enough stations open with guardians to give accurate weather forcasts every three days or so if doubling stages.
- you can totally do the route in 10 or less days. Sure you're between refuges for 12 hrs but that's what you're there for! We doubled stages 1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15 and took the rest of the stages by themselves. It was very manageable. Doubling stages 3-4 would be a pretty big day, but not unheard of or crazy.
-Since we had no rain, I can't exactly comment on this, but I wouldn't want to do any stage in the rain. There are so many frickin rocks!
-The spots to by food in early october were: Asco, Hotel Casteli, Vizzavona, and one more around stage 13-14. All other refuges were unmanned. Most people slept inside the unmanned refuges as it was warmer/easier than a tent. I brought an Outdoor Research Helium Bivvy and used it twice.
- I packed in a ton of food. My pack weighed 18 kilos starting out.
- As for footwear, I brought a pair of heavy duty trailrunners, even though advised against it by people on this site. They worked fine! One small ankle issue at the end, but otherwise great. I saw many other people with similar shoes.
- Every refuge, either closed or open, had a water "source". I was at first skeptical about these as I could see the rivers they pulled from with hoses and the amount of cow shit nearby. My french companions scoffed at my insistence to purify the water, so I didn't. I never got sick, but beware. I would bring a filter/tablets just in case. There were plenty of running streams in October even though there was a drought. The book was very accurate in it's water source knowledge.
-The bedbugs were real! Beware!
-If I were to compare the hike to another, I would say either hiking around Yosemite, high Sierra, or the Enchantments in WA state. Expect lots of scrambling and big granite rocks.

Overall, great trip and tons of fun!

Josh



Michele
moderator

Posted: Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 17:32

Thank you Josh for your great report. Happy to hear you had nice weather and everything went well!! This year the summer seems to never end. Yay!

--Michele



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:24

Many thanks,
A good straightforward account of what you got during your time on the route.....nine days...and to have the entire route done in good weather.
The several (6) twelve hour days walking would be too much for my old legs. Would it be at Usciolu refuge where you could obtain supplies....still open in early October?
Were there many other folks on the Trail?
Being in my seventies I do enjoy listening to other folks tales after a day out on the Trail....for me 15 times to catch up with news and chatter etc. :-)

Michele....'this year the summer seems never to end'....not here in Scotland after we came back from our wee trip to the Mercantour in June. Here the rain has been persistent from then until now in October.

--

Gaffr



GRRR 20

Posted: Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:41

I guess it all depends on the weather. I crossed Monte Incudine and the Plateau de Coscione a few years ago in October. The days were clear and the nights were slightly frosty. I noticed a few trekkers were still following the GR20. Contrast that with a visit I made to the same area in November, many years ago. There had been a big snowfall and at times I was up to my chest in it. Naturally that limited the amount I could do. It was great fun, but impossible to follow much of the GR20.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 16:16

Hi Roger, sorry to hear about your weather. I guess the mediterranean area is more protected so to speak. See what's happening with hurricane Ophelia? I'm very sorry for the folks up in Ireland!!



SQFP

Posted: Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 16:07

This year's weather is indeed unusual: there's been only 1-2 rainy day(s) since july, whereas on a normal year thunderstorms happen on a regular basis throughout late august and september.
Good for hikers... not so much for farmers/firemen/wildlife...

--

Geology in Corsica



maoy12

Posted: Sun, Oct 22, 2017, 18:09

Gafr, sorry about the slow reply. I cannot remember if it was Uscilo with supplies. I'll ask my friends who took better notes than I. We probably saw 2-20 people per day. Sections close to roads (Vizzavona, Boccu Di Verde, Bavella) had way higher amounts of people.

Some more notes I remembered I wanted to add:
-Bring tons of money!!! There is no ATM in Vizzavona and you could easily run out. I spent €180 on lodging and food during the trip, not including around €60 on food before leaving Calenzana. If I had to spend money on lodging for all of the nights, I would be very low on funds.
-Maybe this is just my experience, but Corsican people (EG refuge guardians) are not the most friendly to english speakers. Make sure to always be respectful and try not to take too many things personally.

Josh



Gaffr

Posted: Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 8:17

Hello Josh,
It would appear that Usciolu was perhaps the only one of the PNRC refuges to be Manned at the time of your visit?
My visits to the GR have been in June when there can be at least 50 and maybe up to 100 folks around the stages. Staying in refuges, in pre. pitched tents and of course those of us carrying our own tent.
For our three week stays my wife and I have both taken around 500 euros with us to cover the costs etc. for the bivouac price, purchasing food and for travel on the island before and after the 15 days on the traverse....also the camping and food costs of the days at both ends when not on the GR20.
Your own costs per day would seem to be around 25-30 euros per day over nine days? and our costs per day are similar....slower pace over 15 days.
I have not been to the GR20 'out of the main season'....do you have to leave, at the refuge, any cash for staying in the building....using gas etc?
You appear to come from the USA? whereas we travel from Scotland to reach the island and that means a load of extra costs.
On top of all the difficulties in getting to the start of the route before walking we are glad that we have been able to walk in this very special island.
I guess that I am under the 'parasol' of my fluent French speaking wife when on the Trail so do miss out on a lot of the grumpiness from the Guardians. When I did travel the route alone on one occasion I tended to keep a low profile at the refuges....much easier to do when using your own tent. :-)

--

Gaffr



GRRR 20

Posted: Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 8:49

You're right about the money. The only place you'll ever be able to use a credit/debit card are in the hotels. The refuges want cash, unless you booked and paid in advance online. Anyone leaving the route to go looking for an ATM is going to lose a whole day. It's not worth the journey. Take cash.

A lot of people say the guardians are unfriendly. I've heard French people say that - a lot. Looking at it from the guardians point of view, everyone they meet is a stranger - arriving with their needs and wants - then gone the next day and never seen again. Is not the sort of job where you can easily make friends, and I'm sure they have to deal with a lot of trekkers where they don't have any languages in common. Most Corsicans are fine speaking Corsican and French. Some can manage in Italian, but English and other languages are further down the list. Expecting them to speak lots of languages is a bit much. Better to be polite and patient and at the very least try and speak French. When they do become friendly, most of them are very helpful and entertaining.



maoy12

Posted: Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 15:44

Gafr, I'd say you're right about the money. Not that I should have had an issue with it, but if I wasn't sharing food, I would have spent around €50 less. I *should* have left money at the refuges, but I was being a no-good cheapskate. The gas, electricity, and water was working in most of the refuges but not all. Carrying a stove with gas is essential this time of year, unless you can handle cold food. Again, I can't remember about Uscilou being manned.

Gafr and GRRR20, I agree that is understandable about the guardian's supposed "temper". It's a hard, sometimes thankless job. My french-speaking friends seemed to have little issue with the guardians, but they were also incredibly polite people.

Josh