We get up early because we know that it will be a very long day for us. Today’s activity was my partners choice – Lac de Melo (Walk 61, Rother Walking Guide, Corsica). I think he has chosen this because there is snow on the pictures in the guide… We are looking at about 3 hours drive and a 3.5 hours walk to a lake at 1711m altitude. By now we know that the guidelines in the walking guide don’t really apply to us and this walk is also classified as ‘moderate’. We will see. At the end of the day it is not important how long the walk is as long as we enjoy it.
The drive is long and leads us after Bastia to the inland with beautiful mountain views. Unfortunately, we pass another accident scene. The roads are narrow and go up and down with many curves. A challenge to drive but also dangerous.
Soon after we arrive in Corte. We don’t have the time for a stop there but it looks as if it would be well worth a visit. The newer part of the city has many shops and cafés whereas the older city seems to be built on a rock with every building built right on the edge.
We follow the road that is leaving Corte and leading to the Parc Naturel Régional de Corse. The road is mainly a one way track but although it has a white line in the middle there is no way of two cars passing whilst on the road. Every now and then, there are one track bridges wide enough for just one car with nothing to the left or right. I hate to admit but at some point I had to ask my other half to take over. This is way to scary for me (yes, you are allowed to laugh).
When we arrive at the final car park, it is already quite busy. Today’s route is moderate and it starts moderate but this changes soon. We are not used to mountains and I’m surprised to see people staring this walk in flip flops and with very young children.
We walk up to the Bergerie de Grotelle and soon the path forks. Our guide describes one option as leisurely and the other one as more demanding. Although usually being up for challenges we decide to chose the leisurely path with the idea in mind that we could always take the other path on the way back… It didn’t take long until we realize how wise our decision was. Nothing is ‘leisurely’ about the leisurely variant. At some stages the path looks more like a dried out waterfall and a path for mountain goats… Nevertheless, we enjoy it! The walk offers stunning view and the flora and fauna is amazing. There is even some snow left in mid July! Heat and height are difficult for us, we need many breaks but eventually we get to the Lac de Melo. We take our shoes off and cool our feet in the ice cold mountain lake. Two crazy German girls go for a swim with snow in the background. Their swim is short and they remain the only ones for the time we are there.
During our break, we discover that the walk continues to the Lac de Capitello. Another 300m height difference and another supposedly 45min walk. We are curious and torn whether we should continue. We have gone through more than half our water and needed way more time than expected but then there is supposed to be a lot more snow and the path meets the famous GR20 route (alpine long-distance route). We start but soon get problems – tearing eyes, runny noses and being constantly out of breath. We also note that it is already 4pm and clouds are coming up. With a 3 hours drive back it seems better to turn and go back to the car. It is a shame but I think it was the right decision. Later we should learn that our symptoms where the first signs of altitude sickness.
On the way back to our holiday house we stop at a restaurant at the beach in Marine de Pietracorbara and enjoy a lovely dinner with sunset on the beach and view of Elba. Another amazing day has come to an end.