​GR 20 Day 2 – Yes, The GR20 is Hard – September 4, 2017

Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu to Ascu Stagnu
Distance 14km (8 3/4 miles) 
Total ascent 1610m (4740ft) 

Total descent 1910m (5775ft) 

Guidebook Estimated Time 12hrs without breaks

Our time: 6:30 to 5:15. 10 hrs 45 min with breaks.
Almost 11 hours for not quite 9 miles is just crazy. But that’s what we did.
The Cicerone GR20 guidebook divides up the hike into 16 stages and gives estimated hiking times for each stage. We wanted to do 2 stages today but still don’t know how our time compares to the estimated time. So we started walking just after it got light. The whole first climb was in the shade which was really nice.
Corsica is really steep, rocky and rugged. It helps so much to have the trail marked. We just follow the red and white paint marks.

Lots of views to the Mediterranean

Bocca d’Avartoli

We got to Refuge de Carozzu at lunch time. Jim got there first and ordered 2 omelettes which were ready just as I got there.  We followed that up with a piece of cake. 
We met a Canadian who hiked the PCT last year. Her trail name is Wildfire. It’s always fun to talk about the PCT. 
These refuges do an amazing job with the hoards of hikers. We heard that 200 hikers were at the last refuge. Not all eat any food at the refuges but lots do. And everyone has to check in to sleep inside or to tent. It’s a zoo but the people running the refuges do an amazing job


Since we finished stage 2 at noon we decided to do the shorter stage 3 in the afternoon. This involved another steep climb up. Several places had chains or cables to help prevent falling on the granite slabs. And then there was 710m (2330ft) of steep rocky downhill. My poor knees. I seem to be able to beat the guidebook time for the uphill but I slow to a crawl on the descents.

The laricio pines spread out to awesome shapes

We are camped at Ascu Stagnu which is a ski station. There is a refuge here and a bar/restaurant /hotel/gite. We were going to eat at the restaurant. But then they told us that they have 3 restaurants, lots of people and it would be a long wait. Instead we went back over to the refuge and bought wine and pasta with meatballs that we microwaved. It was good. We got to eat right away. We got to bed earlier. And it was way cheaper. This refuge and the restaurant sell lots of food supplies for hikers. I’m glad we aren’t carrying anything extra. 
There are tents on every scrap of flat land without a ton of rocks. After looking around for a long time we finally found a place for our tents and once again it’s away from the madness. It’s at the end of a gravel road. 

3 thoughts on “​GR 20 Day 2 – Yes, The GR20 is Hard – September 4, 2017

  1. Denise Sefton

    This looks beautiful. I’m so happy that you met Wildfire whom I hiked with on the PCT last year and to learn that she’s also back on trail!

  2. Warren

    I think a lot of us have the same situation, at least kin-of-fast going up but not-so-fast going down. Unfortunately our maturity leaves us with less padding for our knees.


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