Hot start, cool stars to finish
The GR20 roughly runs North to South through the centre of Corsica. It is mostly granite rock, very rugged landscape. We spent most of our time between 1000m and 2500m elevation above sea level.
At lower elevations it was very hot, 30C and above, but once we started hiking it was for the most part very pleasant hiking conditions
Day 1 goes from Calenzana (275m) to the Refuge d’Orto di u Piobbu, 12km and 1500m of net elevation gain. Time in the guide book was 6.5hrs and described as our “baptism of fire” on the GR20 . We completed the hike in 5.5hrs, and didn’t think it was justified the description. (that led to a false sense of confidence that was corrected on Day 2)
For the most part, the hike was very straightforward, nice graded path, some shade, and only a little bit of scrambling and chains near the end.
It was very hot to start with. We did carry about 4L of water each, and to start our packs were around 50lbs each. We carried all our breakfast, snacks and dinner for the 13 days, but purchased lunch from the Refuges and Bergeries (farms) that we past along the way. So our packs got lighter and lighter with each passing day.
You had three choices for sleeping accommodations: you could carry your own tent (we did), rent a “hire” tent, already in place, or stay in the refuge. If you used one of the choices of sleeping provided and purchased all your food from the refuges you could hike with a day pack, but the monetary cost would be very high.
We had a great time. It was fun with a healthy dose of suffering along the way; we saw some amazing views, met lots of great people, and made memories to last a lifetime. Hope you enjoy the trip!