Friday, May 13, 2016

Day 7: Corsica Cola

September 17: It was a warm night, and a comfortably warm morning. Karolina and I got an early start on the trail, ready to be rid of our illegal campsite. We'd already been busted for it once and although we paid either a fee/fine or possibly a bribe, no sense taking chances with someone else who might pass by.

'Twas a beautiful but warm morning!

We hadn't been on the trail for even 15 minutes when we arrived at Bergeries de Radule--a place that we had thought were some sort of ruins but, as it turns out, was an actual working refuge! We'd become accustomed to refuges having the word "refuge" in the name, and this "Bergieries de Radule" threw us off our game. There were ruins on our maps, labeled with the same, identical square dot in the same, identical bold-face font, so it wasn't unreasonable to assume that it was just another ruin or other non-refuge location. We had absolutely no idea that we only had to hike another 15 minutes to have reached a legal campsite. We felt a little foolish then.... Busted for camping illegally, and it was so easy to have avoided it after all.

On the other hand, our campsite was much nicer and quieter than a crowded refuge.

The trail, for the second day in a row, was remarkably easy and we clipped along at a fairly good pace the whole day. At the higher elevations on the exposed ridges, the wind was absolutely brutal with powerful gusts that would nearly knock us over. The day was warm, although clouds prevented it from getting hot, those exposed ridges were downright cold after factoring in the wind chill.

Late in the morning, the trail passed a fairly substantial road, the D84--by far the biggest road we had crossed since starting the trail. Nearby was the Hotl Castel di Vergio, a small (very small!) grocery store, and camping. It was much too early in the day for us to set up camp, but we did stop for a few goodies at the grocery store and a bathroom break.

We followed the road down to where the trail re-entered the woods, where we found a large bus-full of people unloading to start hiking. They're day packs looked so small and light.... Many of them were following a pig that was running loose down the trail, and Karolina and I also followed in pursuit. A photo-op is a photo-op, even with a large bus of tourists in the way!

We felt pretty silly when we discovered that we could have camped legally at the refuge 15 minutes up the trail. We had assumed they were ruins or a shepherd's hut or something other than a refuge from what we saw in our guidebooks!

A bit further down the trail, I'd suggested a few "action shots" of Karolina hiking--the kind where I laid down on the ground and took photos of her from the trail's point of view. It was a good place on the trail to do this where the trail wasn't muddy, or rocky, particularly dusty. I took two sets of photos--one with Karolina walking up towards me where, if you watched from above, would look like she was about to step on me. The other set of photos was of her walking away from me, and all you could see was the back of her legs and the underside of one foot. The process took a few minutes, and I had to adjust the camera so the sun wasn't glaring too bad and the shadows didn't fall in the wrong places.

As as I was finishing up, a couple of hikers came up from behind us on the trail, asking if I was okay. He had seen me laying on the ground, but hadn't been close enough to tell that I'd been taking photos and thought maybe I was injured. "No! No problem! All is good!" =)

Action shot of Karolina stepping on me. =)

Action shot of Karolina leaving my dead carcass behind....

The highlight for the day, undoubtedly, was Lac du Ninu--a beautiful, shallow lake nestled among rolling hills. Karolina and I took a good hour lounging around and relaxing here. The water source, according to our guidebooks, was a spring located on the west side of the lake while the trail looped around the east side (although both of our guidebooks showed the trail going around the east side--a recent reroute, perhaps?). Because Karolina moved slower due to the pain in her knees, I volunteered to pick up water for the both of us while she got a head start on the trail.

Carrying both of our water bottles, I moseyed down to the water source. The spring came out from a shrine--which I had not expected. I could imagine the person who created it thinking that was the exact spot they wanted to put a shrine, but there was a water source. What to do? Make it both! =)

Karolina might have injured knees, but I actually had trouble catching up with her on the flat terrain. She can move fast when there aren't a bunch of rocks and boulders piled up on the trail!

Eventually I did catch up, about a half hour later. While passing through more cattle grazing along the trail, they were mooing at each other and Karolina theorized that they were have a deep, philosophical conversation. Moooo! *pause* Mooo-ooo-ooo! *pause* Moo! Yes.... I could imagine that. =)

Holy crap! Look at that trail! Just kidding.... this was a rock climber climbing some cliffs alongside the trail. =)

At the end of the day, we'd covered a whopping 20 kilometers (over 12 miles)--nearly doubling our previous best day the day before. Maybe we would finish this trail on time after all! We called it quits just before sunset at the Refuge de Manganu, picking a legal campsite not far from the refuge. Each of the refuges have a menu with items available. I planned to keep eating out of my pack to lighten my load, but I still looked at the menu just to see what there was and I was intrigued with one particular option: Corsica Cola. That sounded interesting and local. I was curious about that and when Karolina went in to pay for our campsite, I asked her to get a Corsica Cola for me as well. I wanted to try that.

She came back a few minutes later with... a can of Coca-Cola. Just a regular, plain, old Coke! Deceptive advertising!!! I wouldn't have paid three euros for a stupid can of Coke! I was a little angry about falling for the old "Corsica Cola" trick, but on the other hand, even then I realized it was kind of funny too.

This refuge had two water sources. One came from a stream nearby--full, fast-flowing, and full of cow poop. The other was a small spring, barely a dribble, considered safe for human consumption. There was always a long ling of people for this water source, so I waited until quite late at night and got water after most people had gone to sleep. I brought my Kindle to read while collecting the water--I knew I'd be here for awhile. It took the better part of an hour, but I had finally collected several liters of water to get Karolina and I through the next section of trail.

Then I headed back to the campsite and went to sleep.

Insects of the GR 20! He's a big one! =)
The trail passes by the D84 by this hotel, store and campground. Not a town exactly, but the closest we've come to real civilization since we started the trail!

Just watch out for the pig on the road!

On this exposed ridge, the wind was strong! The wind chill was quite significant too!

The fact that it was especially windy on this ridge is not uncommon based on what the wind has done to one of the few trees on the ridge!

Lac du Ninu was definitely one of the highlights of today's hike!

Karolina (and Wilson, the pine cone!) take a quick nap at the lake. =)
Is it a shrine? Or a water source? It's both! =)
You can lead a horse to water.... and they'll probably drink it! =) There were quite a few wild horses running loose near the lake.

Bergeries de Vaccaghja--another refuge that failed to use the word "refuge" in its name. But we hadn't planned to stop here anyhow.... I mostly took this photo for the Corsica flag flying above it.

This is the refuge where we'd set up camp for the night: Refuge de Manganu.
It's also where I ordered a "Corsica Cola." Doesn't look very Corsican to me, though! =) That would become an ongoing joke for the rest of our hike. "I could sure use a Corsican cola right now!"

1 comment:

Karolina said...

Wow, we drank holy water that day!