After the break from the Corsica blogs, I bet everyone is gagging for more information from the lovely sun filled island. Last time, the blog shedded light on the fact that the preparation probably wasn’t all that great with us picking up the wrong gas and contemplating what dehydrated food would taste like cold and also shacked up in a tent waiting for storms to pass. Luckily today is a different story.. or is it?

After the first night at this camp reflecting on how dumb I was not to notice the difference in gas, as much as I would love to blame the group for this mistake, I was sent into the French supermarket and picked up the gas without a second thought so I guess the blame would rest with me. The morning was a normal morning, we were up quite early and were trying to do a killer day so that sounded like fun and it is interesting when trekking seeing everybody has an item of choice, if weight and space in a rucksack is one of the major things which people seem to complain about on the road then this personal item doesn’t apply to the rules and most people are just happy to have them. A common choice I find on trekking routes is people carrying real coffee, the extreme coffee fans take a coffee grinder and real beans showing a total disregard for weight. Luckily members of my group of friends were not this addicted and decided on filter coffee, so had a massive bag of coffee and a ton of filter papers to make that sweet morning brew. I wish my essential extravagant item was exciting..

I said cheese, not this horrible foot!

Cheese, the lovely yellow stuff, this is my item of choice. I don’t even eat a lot of cheese, I guess when you are away and exerting a lot of calories it has all the qualities that you want in food and thus I had a massive block of emmental for this trip and even if it wasn’t the right climate and was going to sweat like mad who cares, it was my cheese and I was going to eat it whether it was soaking wet and gooey or straight from a fridge.

Morning formalities were pretty standard and then we were on the road, like most treks the path went onwards and upwards which was fun, apart from the trekking term seemed to be a bit inappropiate to say the least, the path kind of disappeared and a hopping game across boulders soon turned to a kind of pulling yourself up and getting a leg over boulders which then turned into genuinely scrambling over boulders until we reached a great plateau where the views were magnificent. What a great moment. Everyone decided to chill out and take a break and enjoy the peace and views from the moment. I could have stayed in that moment for longer than I did however something was about to change.

Beautiful scenery of the place.

Ring Ring…. Ring Ring… Ring Ring… what the.. how the.. why the.. a phone up here? Okay so we were all carrying phones, you know how parents worry it is only pleasant to be able to contact those closest to you to let them know that you are not dead and kind of still enjoying things. I think in all my texts I ever send I pretty much always say the same thing; ‘Hey guys, hows things going lovely here, a bit hot all good.’ if that isn’t convincing I don’t know what is, apart from the lack of knowledge about the only being down to one stove with not enough fuel to last the week and the soggy clothes and tents we were carrying about. Spirits were high and one of the group had a phone call from her mother.

Sarah had a slight issue with one of her toes which was causing her discomfort, luckily for her she is a medicine student so could do a self diagnosis and assess whether it was serious or not. She came to the conclusion that although it looked pretty bad and hurt a lot, she would be ok until we were able to get to somewhere where she could pick up some anti biotics. Oh.. how mothers can change even the most knowledgable minds.. Cutting a long story short, ‘get to a doctor right away, you need to get it seen to, I don’t want your leg falling off.’ I guess that was settled then, we would be trying to get to a doctor.

More scenery, it was a lovely place!

The route kind of levelled out a bit which is always a nice surprise, however around every corner there seemed to be a cruel obstacle blocking the way which either needed ducking under or climbing over, easy when your at full fitness and feeling nimble, not great when you have a full pack on and are starting to feel quite tired. According to the book we were following we had reached one of the high points for the day and the camp was much further below us, infact if you looked down and squinted hard enough you could just about make it out. The path down looked mighty steep but hey we all had to do it and it probably wouldn’t take too long so we all got on with it hoping we could reach the bottom and sort things out.

I love downhill, it tends to kill a tired leg but I don’t know what it is, it seems to suit my personal style of walking perfectly, I simply bounce down the ledges and before we knew it we were rocking up into the camp which was an old kind of ski lodge called Haut Ascot which was a pretty cool place. The camp was connected with a road for this reason and therefore there was a bail out plan to get to a doctor if the decision was that this was needed. Relaxing at the camp was nice, the day wasn’t too difficult and everyone was in high spirits seeing the tallest mountain on the island in the background and deciding what decision to make from here. Relaxing is always nice but I had a strange feeling that a storm would be coming in, it also seemed that our gas problem was a bit of a non problem. A lot of the huts and lodges along the way were equipped with gas and the people didn’t mind/know if you used it half of the time making our gas shortages pretty non existant.

Hang on a minute.. I swear there were four of us.. what the.. how the.. where the.. turns out Sarah and another member of the group had been trying to get a lift from the ski station to a town so they could see a doctor, sounds good to me.. I just wish I was informed of what was going on, a simple text message telling us to meet them the next day and get the bus down from the ski station was what remained for us other two to enjoy. After putting the tent up and enjoying the formalities of choosing what dehydrated meal to eat we started to relax and I had a beer at the lodge. Beautiful! Dehydrated food is quite amusing, no matter what you choose, there always tends to be one rubbish choice which everyone tries to avoid, even if you had chosen all of the food there is still the one choice which everyone wishes they didn’t have, however today there were more important things to worry about!

Descending to camp!

For one we had to abandon the trekking for the meanwhile and try and regroup before deciding whether to continue or not. Could this be the end of the trip? Or was it a minor set back? Who knows more importan.. CRASH.. There goes the storm again.. Bundling all the things in the semi waterproof tent and hoping for the best I look up and literally 20 metres from where I am standing a bolt of lightning crashes against a tree branch and brings half a tree down. Nature is pretty impressive in situations like this and also slightly scary.. We decided to take refuge in the building that was available for those ultra light hikers who like to sleep in hard beds indoors. Seems everyone else had the same idea and I felt sorry for some French people who had to tolerate my excuse for an attempt at their language. The World Cup was in full swing so it was interesting hearing everyone who had news on the event and seemed to be a pretty good international language.

Going to bed that night, two things were in my mind.. Would we be able to get the bus the next day and would we be able to continue? With the trip appearingly in tatters and the trekking ground to a halt would the four of us be off on the beaten path again or would this be it.. Next time you will learn about the delights of Corte, the true capital of Corsica and Vizzavonna, a little railway town with a great place in my heart. I bet you cannot wait!