My GR20 experience

dom_

Posted: Thu, Aug 19, 2010, 21:24

Right... It is amazing DO IT! You won't forget it for a long long time.

Top tips / hints:
* Take bog roll, you wont find any at the refuges
* If you are camping don't worry about booking
* If you want to stay in the refuges and havn't booked then arrive early (2pm ish) or be prepared to spend a night in a rented blue tent (not that bad really and no snoring, unlike the refuge)
* GO LIGHT. 20Kg is insane and so is 15. I managed 5.6Kg with a tent but no cooking equipment but I am a lightweight nutter. 8-10Kg is sensible and safe. Any more and it will spoil your time and make you hate every piece in your bag you never used.
* Take a waterproof coat and rucksack liner, rain can just appear, even in mid summer and it can rain HARD
* You don't need to take a stove every refuge has gas cookers (some inside some outside) the only places that didn't where the bergeries.
* The cicerone guide is king of the guide books and while the times varied from person to person, what was very accurate was the route description. Don't try and combine days that say hard. The easy ones are much easier and are better to combine.
* Take more money than you think you will use. Camping 5euro, refuge 10euro, beer was 6euro to 9 for a can, food was vary variable but the cheese and cured meats are excellent and worth every euro they cost.
* Taxi from Calvi to Calenzanna was 35-40euro.
* The trains are in a state with only two trains a day in each direction so leave plenty of time for hanging around waiting for one. To cross the island was 20euro.
* Clothes easily dry before dark so take few, but take pack soap to wash them with to save weight.
* Talk to the people in the refuges/campsite plenty speak bits of english or bits of french and you meet great people and have a great time, plus you will follow these people as the weeks go on so it makes rests in the mountains fun to stop and see how people are.
* If you havn't done much scrambling then go do some now, there is a serious amount on this trail.
* Allow a day either side for travel, it takes a whole day to travel from one side to the other and delays on the transport are frequent.

That is most of what I can remember but any questions ask away.