After freezing our butts off for more than a week (packing light does come at a price!), we have had our first warm night on the GR 20! Between the elevation of Col de Verde about 400 metres lower than the refuge of Prati and the weather that is improving as we are getting closer to July, night temperatures have become two digits.
A beautiful path uphill leads us to a plateau from which the Eastern plane of Corsica bathed by the Mediterranean Sea opens up. A few minutes later we reach the Refuge of Prati where we fill up at the spring before starting the demanding and dry ridgeline hike to the Refuge of Usciolu.
We are happy to be back on a more technical aerial trail that reminds us of the Northern parts. Every challenge is rewarded by fantastic views with the sea on both sides and a perfect visibility.
Only a very few shaded areas provide a shelter from the burning sun that enhances the delicious smells of wild thyme and lemon-grass. A mix of cool and warm winds regulates our body temperatures from medium hot to very hot as we reach the altitude of 2,000 metres.
Relieved to eventually see the Refuge of Usciolu after this strenuous hike and with hardly any water left we are warmly welcomed by Fred, one of the keepers of the refuge. With its stunning views and incredibly well supplied store with fresh fruits (such a luxury on the trail!), and pretty much everything a hiker could wish for, we are happy to pitch for the night with our tent opening on one of the most beautiful vistas on the GR 20.
Marcella & Claire
- For gear tips, stay tuned and follow us to not miss out: in a couple of weeks exclusive posts to help you select your gear will be published.
- For a bird’s eye view and to get access to all the GR 20 articles, please refer to this prologue article.
- At time of writing, the refuge of Prati had a very poor reputation mostly due to the attitude of its keeper and we recommend hikers to skip it and sleep at Col de Verde instead (an easy downhill further when coming from the south, and a good morning warm up when coming from the north).
- Beware of water conditions on this specific stretch that is very dry (a marked spring has dried out: do not waste time looking for it) and make sure you carry enough.
- The refuge of Usciolu is one of the most isolated ones on the GR 20, and its keepers do a tremendous job to supply it in the most incredible way. Stay tuned for a behind the scenes article to be published soon!
- Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area! To download the GPS track, refer to this short tutorial.