GR20 – Day 15 – Ascu to De Carozzu

What a demanding day. We finished stage 4 yesterday, stage that is considered to be the hardest, and so I thought anything we would do from now on would be easier. How wrong was I.

More relaxed part of this stage

We started climbing steeply from the very first steps. The grade never eased, and after the initial several hundred feet in a forest, we walked into the open alpine scenery with views and rocks to scramble. Lots of rocks to scramble. I used my hands more than on all the other stages combined, or so it felt. Most of the scrambling was straight forward, but the route weaved through the slope and we had to be careful to follow the blazes, if off route the scrambling gained on difficulty dramatically.

We made a good time to Bocca Stagnu, even with sun blasting on us. From there we walked shaded and with refreshing breeze cooling us off. The conditions were brilliant. The trail absolutely awful.

Taking a deserved break after a long scramble.

There was lots of crumbled rocks, too big to be called scree, too small to be called boulders. They were difficult to walk on, they made us slip and slide, and every time a bigger slab of granite appeared, we welcomed it greatly. Until the slabs got slanted steeply towards a precipice.

The most dangerous sections were aided. We could grab onto a chain if we desired so. I grabbed every single chain available.

If you have head for heights, and the rock is dry, you might not even blink, but if you are like me, and being near a cliff makes you uncomfortable, this section might test your mettle.

Laura making it through a tight passage.

At the bottom of our descent there was a suspension bridge and afterwards we walked up for a brief while, again with an air of couple chains, and finally we arrived at Refuge De Carrozu.

I was exhausted. Physically the day was not horribly long, not more that some of the others, the mental challenge however pushed me over my limit. We set up our tent, I crawled in and took an hour or so to calm my nerves.

Christ on one of the down climbs

Tomorrow we have a choice of valley route which is supposed to have a good trail, and shade. Or there is an alpine variant, long grueling path through the mountains. Dave is in favor of the latter. I’m not sure. I might join Laura and Willy on the valley route. I bumped my knee and it hurts, and if it doesn’t stop hurting, playing it safe might be the best option for me.

Another stage completed. Time to celebrate.

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NOTES:

As of June 26, 2019 camping at Refuge De Carrozu was €7.00 Camping is behind the refuge. Sites are scattered in the forest. Most are smaller and little slanted but quite cute.

Dinner was €19.00

Really liked the shaded terrace with a view of the Mediterranean where hikers could mingle. Soft drinks were €3.50. Piece of chestnut cake was €3.00 Bowl of peanuts €1.00 Half liter of wine was €6.00 They do not sell bread or sausage or cheese. So plan your breakfast and lunch accordingly.

Toilets are sitting compostable ones. There are 4 available.

Cold showers are available.

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