GR20 – Day 2 Bavella to Refuge D’Asinao
We faced our first choice today when it comes to the route. A massive stood between us and the next Refugio. Technically easier was the route around it through a valley full of shade giving trees. It was a pleasant choice as we learned later from people who took it and definitely a better choice for anybody who might be suffering from any pains and aches at this stage.
Dave and I chose the more adventurous alpine variation, through the mountain. The initial up was steep but manageable, on a path that was quite rocky but solid enough to allow us to plant our steps firmly.
After we crested, the route started traversing to the other side of the massive. The hiking was straightforward with one exposed section where chains were installed to aid our descent. I would have much rather go up that wall but our northbound direction had us climb down. It turned out to be ok. The only part I did not quite care for was the very last step that transitioned from the ropes to iron rod foot steps. For my legs the reach was little too far for comfort but with Dave’s help I managed without falling off the rock.
The traverse was lots of fun otherwise. It was not the easiest terrain to cover, with rock and crumbling dirt and small gravel that acted like bearings but the views were absolutely spectacular and worth the extra effort.
The work continued even after the climbing was done. The nature of the trail did not allowed for a fast descend. The route, a perfect combination of steepness and gravel, made us watch every step we took and it wasn’t until after we reconnected with the valley variation again when the going got easier. We crossed couple beautiful creeks then with some really awesome swimming holes than some hikers were taking an advantage off at this time.
The last 30 minutes were on a notable uphill again. Myriad of paths crossed the slope and we watched for the red and white blazes carefully not to weir too much off the route, though I don’t think it mattered much which path we took, they all led up the hill, and one way or another would get us to Refuge D’Asinao where we arrived at 2:20 p.m.
This refuge is one of the newest on the trail, it reopened this year after an explosion destroyed the original one, and it sits on the open slope with some incredible views.
There was not much shade to speak off, or protection from the elements but when conditions are in favor this is a great place to stay. One can rent a bunk inside the main building, or rent a tent (€11.00 for a two person tent plus €7.00 per person per night), or if you have your own tent, you pay the €7.00 per person only.
Food was absolutely delightful here. We were treated to a starter of sausage and bread, then we had traditional Corsican meal consisting of lentils and sausage, cheese sampler followed and for desert we received apple sauce. According to a German couple at our table who hiked here all the way from the north, it was one of the best dinners they had on the trail. We paid €19.00 per person for the feast.
The place filled up in the evening, I was glad we came early and had a chance to do laundry and shower (cold shower) before the crowds arrived. Tomorrow we might not be as lucky, we have a long hard stage ahead of us and there is a little chance we will be at the next refuge early.