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GR20 stage 1: Calenzana to Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu

GR20 stage 1: Calenzana to Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu
Distance: 12 km, asc/desc: 1550/235. Time: 7h
August 2nd, 2016

Arrival in Corsica

  • I flew into Bastia, arriving on a Saturday afternoon
  • Contrary to their web info,  the only shop in Bastia known to sell screw-type camping gas canisters was closed
  • I bought the camping gas in Calvi, missed the evening bus to Calenzana and stayed overnight in Calvi before taking a taxi to Calenzana Sunday morning
  • I intended to camp all the way and carried the full gear (modified to Corsica weather). Total backpack weight excl. water: 7 kg.
GR20 the trail to Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu
GR20 the trail to Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu

In 2014 I walked the first three stages and gave up in Haut Ascu continuing on the Southern Section. Unfortunately I was not in better physical shape in 2015, so the changes I had made in order to succeed this year were:

  1. Take one days break after each of the first three stages.
  2.  Leave at 6 am before the major stages (2-4) as opposed to 9am.
  3.  Carry even lighter equipment, reducing the pack by 2 kg.
  4. Make no decision to quit before having slept on it and taken one rest day.

The stage

  • I started out from Calenzana at 9 am and was alone on the trail all day.
  • It is up-up-up all day, relatively gradual until Bocca a u Salta, then the first couple of scrambling sections are encountered, not overly difficult, but hard for the unadapted system:

    GR20 the trail to Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu
    Scrambling on the trail to Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu
  • There is only one (unreliable) water source on the way. I carried 3 liters of water.
  • I was exhausted scrambling up to the Bocca a u Bassiguellu confirming that the decision of taking an early rest day the next day is a good one.
  • The Campsite a Refuge d´Orto di Piobbu was packed, as we are in the beginning of the French holidays.
  • Meals are available at all refuges, but even for those cooking there are really no need to carry food as all refuges have (limited) supplies: For dinner mainly canned ravioli or Cassoulet. I only carried two freeze-dried meals for emergencies. For breakfast and lunch I had snack-bars.
  • To restitute fully from this fist day, including getting used to the heat and relative humidity, taking a day off even at this early point is a good decision.
GR20 the trail to Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu
GR20: The trail to Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu

Click for full photogallery of this GR20 stage one on flickr.
This post is part of a series on the GR20 as walked in August 2015.