GR20, Stage 2.

34°C in the valley, 24 on tops.
Epic mountain day. Walked Stage 2 against the flow. Most people start in Calenzana and head south. Mine was a day walk so I didn’t have to consider following stages.
The guide book says this is the stage that most people who are going to drop out of the Randonne will do so. It’s the heat and the long distance between water supplies that finishes them off, it says.
I took nearly four litres in the pack, and not much else.
Parked at Refuge de Bonifatu 535m. The walk up to the refuge at Caruzzo is relatively easy, especially when in the cool shade of forest. The first sign of nearing the refuge is a bizarre scaffold structure perched on a rock: a helipad.

From Col to Col.: First stop after the refuge was the Bocca Innomidata (1865m). Here the view of the most daunting section was laid out in front. A large steep sided bowl with a ring of pinnacles north and west. Each on their own looked fearsome, but to face a ring like teeth round this devilish jaw. If you stare, a few fawn threads that mark the path can be seen. Between them lay black charred canines.
Drinking water: I had enough but other people did not. With 3 litres, I could get to the spring in 3 km.Half way round the circuit, I met a couple of older french guys who were struggling a bit. One had an injury and the other had split his bottle and lost his water. He was the second person with the same problem today. The moral is; never use a disposable mineral water bottle.
Help! I need a geologist: intrusive landforms. What strange shapes these rocks made. The rocks are various types of granite. That’s an intrusive silicate magma.
My big question: are there surfaces like casts from a mold made by over lying rocks that have since eroded away?
I am used to looking for glacial relics, but here there is nothing to support such an idea.
Looking at the unfolding land, you can imagine thick magma being pushed into lower layers. In some places, there are bubbles big hooting to push your fist in. In other places, you could get a VW Beetle into the bubble.
There was little of the frost shattering that I’m used to seeing in upland UK. Strange, enchanting and always – sublime.
Finally start the descent. The pale green marking on the map and contours makes this look easy enough. Firstly, some big blocks to clamber over. The blocks didn’t really relent down the valley.
If you look closely enough at the map, a tiny droplet shape marks the spring. On the ground it was tiny too, just a black plastic pipe in a stone. A steady flow of water provides delicious refreshment. I took on another 2 litres for my rack.
This part of the walk took far longer than I expected, probably over 2 hours. That was frustrating, despite the unexpectedly smooth granite valley walls.
Aspen and boar;
After a short rise, a new valley. This one had aspen trees and was thinner. Between the clearings, the refuge started to appear. This snapped and a rush. Wild boar scattered away from my footsteps. There’s one to tick off- scare wild boar.
Descent into the dark forest: stopped briefly at Refuge Ortu di a Pobbu for coffee and mall loaf. Then the long walk down to the car. Light failed about half way and progress became frustratingly slow with owly a head torch to pick out tripping hazards.
Back at the car by 22.30.

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