GR20 – Day 9 – Vizzavona to L’Onda
The distinctive scent of blooming elderflowers was quite pronounced as we were leaving the village in the morning.
“Don’t you want to stay?” asked the breeze rustling through the bushes. “It’s so pleasantly fragrant here. And how delicious the tea would be made from these flowers.”
As tempting as elderflower tea sounded, we had our first day in the north on our schedule and there was not time to waste. We were on the trail at 6:00 a.m. sharp.
The first half of our hike led us through a forest. The trail was shaded and it was wandering around a creek. It was easy going. In about 40 minutes we arrived at Cascades de Anglais, series of pools that are a popular day hiking destination. Nobody was swimming in them in this early morning hour. The food kiosk was also closed shut.
“They should open in seven minutes,” said a lady sitting at one of the tables. “Coffee sounds really good and seven minutes I can wait.”
“You’re the first Americans we met,” said her husband.
We decided to wait with them and get a coffee as well. The bar did not open in seven minutes. Though the sign promised it would, there was no movement whatsoever but we had an opportunity to learn during that time that Will and Laura were from British Columbia, Canada and they started in Conca 6 days ago, and just like us they were planning to go all the way North. It was seven minutes well spent.
Second part of our hike had us climb a tall head wall at the end of a mountain basin. There was lots of slabbing involved, and couple sections where we had to use our hands to climb up some rocks, easy class 2 at most, nothing even marginally scary.
The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. We were now walking to the heart of the mountains and our legs could feel it but what a feast for the eye it was. Granite peaks rising from the lush green valley and towering above our heads. D’Oro was among them. There is an alternate route that run over the summit of D’Oro and it surely was a temptation but according to the description there were several exposed section of class 5.1 which I was not comfortable to climb with overnight backpack. I probably would not find them comfortable without a backpack either.
At 11:30 we reached Muratellu, pass which was the highest point of our day. We had our lunch here, just like everybody else who arrived before or after us. We lingered. We talked to people. We soaked up the views. We could see our destination just bellow us and it was early in a day so there was little reason to rush.
Eventually we got our butts moving again. I was quite happy for the direction of our hike which has us climb on steep, but solid granite and descent on much softer and crumbly slope. It was the kind of a slope where you make a step up and slide a half step back. On the down hill it did not matter.
Bergeries Onda was the most relaxing place built in a meadow with views of the pass we just came though and the hillside we would ascend on tomorrow. It’s going to be a decent workout to get out of here since we chose the high route for our next section of the trail but we’re camped just by the water source and the soft sound of ever flowing stream should let us fall asleep and keep us sleeping sound so hopefully in the morning we rise refreshed and ready to conquer the next stage.
Hikers that are in decent condition and do not suffer from knee problems would find the section moderate. Those who did not train as much could find it difficult.
Technically there was no pucker factor whatsoever. The little scrambling we had to do was easy and safe.
As of June 20, 2019 camping at Onda is the typical €7.00
Pietra Beer is also €7.00 for large can. They carry both Ambree and Blonde versions.
Dinner is a 4 course meal and it costs €22.00 We had vegetable soup, vegetarian lasagna with herbs grown locally, cheese which was quite unique, and chocolate mousse. Good amount of food.
Store carries basic supplies – sausage, bread, wine, beer, chocolate, peanuts, Nutella, jam, toilet paper. Prices are little steeper, sausage we normally purchased for €6.50 cost €10.00 here but considering how remote and hard to supply this place is, one really has no right to complain.
Toilets are the squatting kind.
Showers are cold, on a hot day the water can be like warm. If you want hot sheer, the cost is €2.00 but we’ve heard the water is just the same temperature as the cold shower.