Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Our inaugural Corsica hiking trip

I've just returned from guiding our inaugural Corsica hiking trip.
Here we are, four Aussies and a Canuck, on a secluded beach just outside of Calvi.

Our first hike, and one of the more ambitious ones, leading to the Genoese tower seen in the centre of the photo on the jagged rock.

The view from the top -- a reward after a steep climb in the heat: 

Settling into our hotel in Porto, and watching the sun set into the waters:

Our second hike, along the Sentier du Facteur -- literally "the mailman's path" -- along the dramatic coastline

Halfway through the hike we arrive at a secluded beach where we enjoy a swim in the soothing waters. Below Ian takes to the seas:

The path isn't always simple underfoot, but it's always spectacular. Below Jen negotiates a few tricky steps: 

In the background: the fisherman's village of Girolata, only accessible by boat or by foot: there are no roads that lead there. Permanent population: 15.

After a picnic lunch in the village we're treated to a private zodiac outing along the coastline, visiting the Scandola nature reserve. Red volcanic cliffs soar up from the seas, in some places 600m high, constrasting with the emerald green waters:

In a couple of places our captain led us into caves, though openings barely wide enough for the zodiac to pass through:

Returning to Porto that evening:

Wednesday was our most ambitious day: a full day's hike along the infamous GR20 route, Europe's most difficult trek.

Our leg of thr GR20 was relatively tame, but no less scenic...

...up a crestline from the Vergio pass:

...following a well-marked and stunning path

...through Alpine landscapes: 

...over a mountain pass: 

...and to Lake Nino, still-to-this-day one of my favourite places on earth.

In the evening we arrived in the town of Corte, crowned by its 15th century citadel, where we settled in for three nights:

Contemplating the start of Thursday's walk: 

...leading us up the Manganellu river:

...and to a shepherd's hut on the GR20 route, where we were treated to a homemade lunch including their own cheeses and charcuteries:

On our way back found we relaxed in the emerald waters of the river: one of the many natural pools along the way:

That evening, Ian surprised by the size of his profiteroles:

Corte by night:

After heavy rains on Friday morning, a flash flood along the Restonica gorge forced us to change plans, hiking on more elevated terrain:

A short hike above the Tavignanu river:

Contemplating the Tavignanu valley:

On Saturday we traded mountains for sea, hiking around the Revellata peninsula.
Below Jon contemplates a quiet cove:

But he'd still rather contemplate Julie:

In the hidden cove we enjoyed a lunch at a restaurant:

On Sunday morning, after some rain along a quiet beach outside of Calvi:

In Ajaccio on night 1, but a fitting picture for the end of this post...

Thanks to Julie, Jen, Ian, and Jon for an outstanding week in Corsica!