My enjoyable vacation day started at around 5 AM and we set out for a brisk little walk already at 5:45 in order to make it to the next gite d'etape before facing the possible storm. Our guide book was evolving to be particularly poetic describing the various sceneries we were travelling through. "The air is fresh, tinged with the scent of alder and the fragrance of high mountains". I learned two new English words into my active vocabulary: runnels (narrow channels of water) and bucolic (relating to idyllic rural life).
The beginning of the day was quite easy hike across bucolic fields with grazing horses and little runnels leading from Lac de Nino. Only once we ascended from the freshly scented lake to a nearby ridge we started hearing the menacing sound of a thunder. There were some nasty looking clouds in the horizon and all of a sudden it was way too cold to sport t-shirts and shorts anymore. Walking on a ridge with drops on both sides is once again one of those places, where you probably should not end up loitering when there is a risk of a lighting strike. We chose to accelerate our pace.
|Guess which way the wind is blowing.|
Given that we had started our day so early and also because the sound of thunder made our feet fly across the ridge, we were team number one to arrive at the pit stop for this leg of the race. This was one of those locations where we stayed in a hotel, an old now defunct downhill ski center, and our room was #101.
At this point the route started to take it's toll: knees were hurting, I had sun burn in my neck and wrists even with the sunscreen applied and my sturdy pencil-neck-geekish shoulders were aching because of carrying the backpack for three days straight. There were absolutely no possibilities for any star gazing this night as I was fast asleep already way before 10 PM.
|Hole in the mountain saved for the next trip.|
The day broke with dull clouds hovering over the mountains, but once we reached yet another windy ridge, the clouds gave away for impressive scenes all the way to Mediterranean in the distance and revealing majestic mountain peaks around us. We quickly refuelled with a cold Pietra beer in the highest located refuge (at 2000 m) called Ciottolu (can it be only a coincidence that it sounds a bit like Cthulhu?!). There are two peaks looming over Cthulhu's cabin: third highest Paglia Orba and Capu Tafunatu. The latter has quite an interesting hole pierced through the mountain and it looks a little bit like a massive eye that observes the hikers walking past.
After crossing Bocca di Foggiale and starting the descent towards Vallone, there are once again magnificent views far away across the valley floor below. Life was particularly peachy when inhaling the scenery, enjoying a baguette with Corsican cheese on top and getting rid of the boots (which started smelling a little bit like the cheese) and dropping the backpack even if only for a moment. As a special cherry on top, the internet reception was impeccable at our selected lunch spot.
We set out to search for our earmarked rock pool immediately after having arrived at refuge Vallone. There is indeed a mountain stream nearby that gathers into numerous pools before tumbling further downstream into the valley. With a bit of perseverance we were indeed able to find the very same pool and complete a series of re-enactment poses sitting on the very same rock. Mission accomplished!
Find out if I finally end up getting hit by a lightning in part three of my GR20 experience.