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Friday, July 26, 2013

First Hike on Corsica (Corse in Francais)

The third day of the trip was a hike.  The book told us it was a four-hour hike with about a 2100' vertical climb.  The drive to the hike consisted of a series of hairpin turns with cliffs on one side and rock faces on the other.  There are no shoulders, occasional guard rails, and barely enough room for two cars to pass one another.  Actually, there are plenty of times when there really isn't enough room to pass one another and there's a sheer cliff and no rail on the outside.  We had to stop and back up several times on one drive, or the other driver did. You've just got to hope the other drivers are paying enough attention to realize you both can't fit!

So, it's thrilling, terrifying, beautiful, and exhausting all at once.  The biggest thrills come when you're executing a 200-degree turn (200 is not a typo), and a truck comes around the corner going the other way.  There were a few sharp intakes of breath and adrenaline rushes along the way.  I think it's worse when you're the passenger, because you're not in control.  The worst part of the driving is usually when you leave the secondary road for a back road that leads to the start of a hike.  Those roads often have only one lane.

So, after a much longer drive than we anticipated, we started off on what turned out to be a great hike.

Below is a view from the top.  That's the same lake and snow as in the previous pictures.  We could see the Mediterranean from up there.  I was amazed at how far it's possible to walk in a short time.  From down at the lake, the peak was clearly visible, marked with a cross.  It looked so far away, and so high above, yet we were there 45 minutes later.  I didn't want to leave the ever-changing, awe-inspiring, 360-degree view.  Unfortunately, a big thunderhead was approaching, so we grudgingly started heading back down the mountain.

A wider view of the lake.  We ate a tasty lunch before the peak, and a scrumptious peach tart after coming back down from the peak.  We got the lunch and dessert from a bakery in a small, sleepy mountain town we stopped at on the way out.  The peak we visited is the high point of the mountains on the left.

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