Corsica, France (May 1975): Northwest half of the GR20, from Calenzana to Vizzavona
[This page was created in May 2020.]
The GR20 is a 180km itinerary across the mountains of the island of Corsica from Calenzana (northwest) to Conca (southeast). At its midpoint near Vizzavona it crosses the railway that connects the cities of Ajaccio (south) and Corte/Bastia/Calvi (north). Nowdays the GR20 is regarded as one of the most beautiful and demanding long trail in Europe and is extremely popular among hikers. But in the years following its creation in 1972, the ″trail″ was not as famous as today and definitively less crowded. In fact, it was initially conceived as a long multi-day spartan hike with small refuges along the way, to be made in full autonomy by carrying a heavy backpack. During our week-long hike between Calenzana and Vizzavona in early May 1975, my partner and I only saw a handful of other hikers. There was still much snow on the high passes and ridges.
Traditional stone houses at the start of the GR20 near Calenzana.
Suspension footbridge of Spasimata.
Reaching a pass on the mountain crest south of the a Muvrella peak, above the Lac de la Muvrella.
View from the mountain crest toward the village of Barghiana (toward the southwest).
View toward Monte Cinto (2706m), the highest peak in Corsica.
Sunset seen from the Altore refuge, with Punta Missoghiu partially visible on the right of the photo.
Morning view over the Haut Asco valley from the refuge, with Punta Missoghiu visible on the left of the photo.
The next 8 photos were taken along the most challenging section of the GR20, which includes the (in)famous Cirque de la Solitude area, west of Monte Cinto. Most of this section is on exposed rocks and (at that time of the year) on snow.
Lac de Nino.
Refuge de Manganu.
Pig farming in the mountains. With pigs living such healthy lives, it is no surprise that Corsica is famous for its charcuterie.
Lac de Creno.
The Corsican fire Salamander (salamandra corsica) near Lac de Creno.
Acrobatic river crossing!
Some last snow before the end of the multi-day hike.