May 11, 2009 at 9:57 pm #1236251
Does anyone have a set of the six IGN "Series Bleue" Top25 topo maps for the GR20? I'm interested in buying them for an upcoming hike of the trail.May 18, 2009 at 3:45 pm #1502001
you really won't need them to do the GR20 itself. A much larger scale map will suffice. I don't recall what I used in the 80s onteh GR20 itself, but I rarely ever looked at a map. The trail was very well marked by frequent red/white paint splashes and major trail erosion (because they don't really build trails there).
I have a shoe box full of Corsica maps, books and guides, but mostly because after my first trip to the island I went off-trail for all subsequent trips. sorry, not for sale, as I plan to return :-)
Only the first image on this photo page was taken on the GR20:May 18, 2009 at 9:05 pm #1502060
Beautiful photos, Peter. I understand that I don't need the maps in order to hike such a well-established trail as the GR20, but I'd like to have them with me anyway. I've since discovered that the IGN has a website–GeoPortail.fr–from which I can print out adequate maps.
By the by, have you ever sent anything to or from a Corsican post office? How reliable is the postal service on Corsica? Is it particularly expensive? I ask because I'm thinking of sending some gear (my off-trail clothing, mainly) from Bastia (where I'll be arriving) to Porto Vecchio or Bonifacio (where I'll be after the hike).May 18, 2009 at 11:17 pm #1502080
Rog TallblokeBPL Member
@tallblokeLocale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Good mapping resource, thanks Lilian. As well as printing them out you could consider importing the screenshots into a mapping program such as multimap on a handheld device with a GPS. Laborious but can work well once you've mastered the intricacies of image conversion and map calibration.
Peter, Our excursions off trail on Sardinia resulted in lots of scratches. Did you find thornproof clothing an advantage on Corsica or is the vegetation friendlier?May 19, 2009 at 10:36 am #1502167
it's the French mail system – should work fine, maybe not fast, but it works. I have sent post cards to people I met there and they have sent things back to me (inside Europe).
Just expect that around 11am – 3pm, the staff is probably out on "siesta" – same at the train stations. How I remember those hours of laying in the shade somewhere at these tiny rail stations, waiting for people to show up and open the ticket counter… It all moves a bit slower there :)May 19, 2009 at 10:41 am #1502170
Corsica has two levels of vegetation – below 1000 meters, you are dealing with inpenetrable brush called "macchia" – don't go there. I only did one canyon exploration east of Col de Bavella and it wasn't fun, even when we were able to use the river bed for much of the route.
Higher up, it is much more alpine vegetation, although there can be rather thick patches of brush. Those are without thorns though. The stuff I did off trail was usually at high altitude – like a hike from Venaco up to the ridge connecting Monte Padru with Monte Rotondo, which was probably the most brutal hike I ever did on Corsica (due to 40mph wind, no water, and a ridge that was more or less a boulder field). Vegetation was not the problem up there.May 19, 2009 at 10:55 am #1502177
one more thing about the trial – it is SO heavily used and so poorly maintained, at least for US National Park standards, that it is easily seen from space at low resolution
The fact that the trail was so heavily overused was the main reason we started hiking alternate routes. When you meet 150 military people plus 100 other hikes each day, avoid to step into human waste anywhere near one of the huts, you start looking for alternates, too. Bring water treatment – you absolutely need it up there.May 19, 2009 at 11:41 pm #1502362
Rog TallblokeBPL Member
@tallblokeLocale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
thanks for the info, I guess getting and staying high is the way to go. We got a lift up to Oliena in Sardinia, under the Supramonte, a magnificent limestone capped mountain range. That looked ok higher up too.
Reading what you said about the trail, I think we'll explore Sardinia more, as it's really undeveloped in terms of walking tracks. I speak better french than italian. It's interesting that place names on Corsica look a lot more italian than french though, I ought to read up on the history of the island.May 20, 2009 at 8:03 am #1502419
They are probably more Italian than French anyway – the language that is native to the island is "Corsu" and sounds a lot more Italian than French. The thing about Corsica is that it is much more alpine than the island in the south, which is why I prefer it. You rarely drop below 1000 meters and if you take a hard look at the maps available, you will be able to make your own GR20 and see the place without the crowds I mentioned. There are a few magic places I found that way, and even more importantly, the population away from the usual tourist trek routes is extremely hospitable. It was hard to not accept to stop in everywhere for lunch.
There are ski lifts where there shouldn't be any, and there are a lot of logging roads in the forests up high that you won't see in the US park system, but then Corsica is a cultural landscape and people have shaped it for ages. The best trails are those built by shepherds hundreds of years ago.
I friend I met in Corsica in 1982 still hikes there every summer, and even has written books about the place (well, about the geology, which is fascinating in Corsica, boring in Sardinia) http://www.jkuhle.de/Corsicagesamt.html
Given that after 25+ years he still returns as often as he can, there has to be something special about the place.
I'm in the process of digitizing my old slides this year. Once I am done with my Muir Trail images, I'll be scanning several batches of Corsica images. Maybe that'll whet somebody's appetite to search for the lesser traveled routes on the island.May 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm #1503408
Thanks for your suggestion, Roger, but I prefer to use paper maps and compass instead of GPS.
And thanks for your additional comments, Peter. I'm sorry to hear that the GR20 is so spoiled by overuse. I'm still stubbornly intending to hike it next month. If I can afford to return to Corsica, I will try to hike some of its other trails eventually.May 25, 2009 at 2:29 pm #1503429
@timoaLocale: Finland, Espoo
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.