GR20 – Day 12 – Manganu to De Ciottulu i Mori
Could not wish for more pleasant morning walk. For a very short time we walked on rocks, and then we entered a paradise of meadows and path that let us thread on soft dirt, and sometimes on even softer grass.
Cowbell could be heard around, and once in a while there was a sound we have never encountered before. It was as if a spring sprouted from the ground but when we made a step to investigate the area the sound suddenly stopped and we never heard it again until few minutes later at a different area. It must have been a bug, small enough to hide in the short cow grazed grass that’s very good at playing hide and seek. We never saw it once.
We walked through the meadows for quite a while before the landscape gave way to more rocks. While in the morning the mountains were guarding us from a distance, and the tallest ones were still far away, there was smaller rock that surrounded us more closely now and the views were beautiful. The
path was blasted through, and once in a while we saw iron rods holding the rock in place. We had to watch our foot placement but otherwise it was one of the easiest day on the trail. No scrambling at all. Just walking and soaking up the views.
The trail dropped quite a bit today, and we knew that eventually we would have to gain the elevation back. We enjoyed the downhill anyway.
After a forest where cows and pigs roamed freely, we arrived at a road. Civilization. There was a hotel Castel Di Vergio and a small store where we bought ice cream and coke and after a short conversation with our Dutch friends we decided to push to the next Refuge which is said to have one of the best views on the route. According to one source we signed for a two hour walk. According to another one it was closer to three hours. It ended up being three.
The trail left the civilization and vanished in a forest again. It dropped, surprisingly a lot of dropping was done during the first hour of the trek. There was a forest marked by the GR20 blazes together with red and also blue blazes which we later determined was the Mare Di Mare route crossing Corsica on more relaxed terrain.
Eventually we started to gain elevation and when we did it was pretty steep. But still it was a trail and we did not need to use our hands at all, and the scenery just got better and better as we proceeded up a lush green valley protected by some rugged granite peaks.
We crested the initial uphill, walking along a stream the entire way that lured us many times with small and larger pools to dip in. Lower down there were tons of tourists enjoying the refreshing water, but higher up the crowds thinned and once we got to the top of the climb be found a very nice, deep pool with a small waterfall feeding it that we did not have to share with anyone.
Afterwards the trail meandered up the valley on a grade that was gentle to our weary legs and we were in the world of constant views. It was the most enjoyable uphill, until we spotted our destination perched on a shelve high above our heads. Immediately we knew there is another steep climb awaiting.
This hill, gained on switchbacks of loose fort and gravel was the worst part of the day. There was not one single person coming from the south who would not have something to say about the bitch of a climb. But still it was just a steep hill at the end of a very long day and there was no scrambling involved and for that I was happy.
We arrived at Refuge De Ciottulu Di i Mori at 3:30 p.m. after about eight hours of hiking. We set up our tent, and bought a beer, and listened to the cowbell all around up. Wherever we looked there was a view. Absolutely breathtaking view. Probably the best view we had in a Refuge so far.
The stage between Refuge Manganu and Refuge De Ciottulu Di i Mori is long and might pose a physical challenge to those not trained properly but compared to anything else on GR20 it’s walking only. No hand work required. And it’s jaw breaking gorgeous.
Refuge De Ciottulu Di i Mori has the most incredible view. You can see down to the wallet you came from and behind you tall peaks are towering, including Mount Oro, third tallest peak of Corsica, which can be gained in 4 hours round trip from the refuge.
Sitting toilet is available at Refuge De Ciottulu Di i Mori. Luxury at this altitude.
As of June 23, 2019 camping is €7.00 per person.
Dinner is a three course meal including soup, pasta and cheese plate for €22.00
Large Pietra beer is €6.00 and you will pay same price for half liter of wine. They have white or red available.
Shower are cold but on a hot day, the water is somewhat warm. There are also some amazing pools along the way, quite tempting to jump in if you want to refresh along the way.