Stage 12: To Refuge d’Usciolu

  • Ascent: 1300
  • Descent: 850
  • Time: 7hr 30min

This is a long stage with various ascents and some scrambling. Even though you start in the forrest the treecover soon disappears and after that most of the hike is on an exposed ridgeline. There are awesome views towards the sea for most of the day. To avoid thunderstorms and heat an early start is advised.

The starts out gentle enough with a stroll in the woods along a 4×4 track. Upon leaving the 4×4 track there is a long and steep ascent all the way up to Bocca d’Oru. From Bocca d’Oru you turn right along the ridge which you’ll follow well into tomorrow’s stage. Soon after leaving Bocca d’Oru you reach the beautifully located Refuge de Prati. After Refuge you’ll track across the ridge many times exchanging views of Corsica’s rugged interior with views of the Mediterranean sea. Though beautiful this section is also verry rugged and requires some scrambling.

View from Refuge de Prati on the GR20
View from Refuge de Prati

After some hours of hiking the path reaches Bocca di Rapari and Bocca di Laparo, both crowded with tortured and windswept trees. From here on there is still some 400 meter of ascent as the ridge goes up all the way to Punta Bianca. After a heavy lunch this section can be very tiring. After Punta Bianca the path countours underneath Monte Furmicula before descending down to Refuge d’Usciolu.

Windswept trees on Bocca di Laparo on the GR20
Windswept trees on Bocca di Laparo

Refuge d’Usciolu is very basic with french toilets and two cold showers. There is also a small shop to stock up on supplies. The warden runs his own post service to the valley and postcards are available for those who want to write to the folks back home. There is also a fat cat to pet if you are in need of comfort after a hard day. As the hut looks out over the sea the sunsets are amazing! The terrain around the hut is rugged, which means that level camping spots are hard to find. Arriving early is therefore recommended.

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