9/7/2013 – GR20 Day 3 Usciolu->Bocca di Verdi according to Jamie
10 miles (16k), 2,700 feet gained (830m), 4,200 feet lost (1290m), 7 hours and 45 minutes
Boy am I glad we decided to do this stage by itself. We awoke as the campsite came alive around 6am but laid "in bed" until the alarm went off at 7am. After yesterday Ryan was ready to sleep in. As we opened up the tent Ryan's first words were "Oh! A stray piece of bread. Let's take it." About 10 minutes later we realized it was our bread! Upon investigation we realized our jam we had been dreaming of was missing along with the cheese we had been excited to try (although we didn't notice the cheese until lunch). We reluctantly ate our bread with Nutella and soon we were off. The trail began with a climb above Usciolu. At times it still hit me that we are actually doing the GR20. Probably partially because we had a view of the sea for the first part of the day.
We quickly made our way into rocky terrain along a ridge line, which made for excellent views. We also got our first real taste of the hot Corsican sun. Made you wish a little that the rain would return. The first half of the today definitely had that up and down feeling again. We could also see almost our whole route for the first half of the day from our first high point. After our final ascent of the day we could finally see Refuge de Prati. We were done with false summits (theme of the day) and the clouds finally rolled in to give us some relief. The first descent ended with a super soft, flat trail, at which point I began to sing to my feet to stop them from hurting. Prati was beautiful with lush green fields for camping but we moseyed on to Bocca di Verdi. After a bit more of the flat the main descent began. Definitely easier than parts of the day before but still a lot of foot pounding. As I write this Ryan reminds me of the French "runner" we encountered who only started running when I let him pass. Anyway. We soon entered the forest where I was determined not to stop. We finally made it to Verdi after always thinking it was just around the bend. Upon arrival I immediately sat down and took off my boots. We set up camp and had a hot shower sans soap, which was so refreshing (not the sans soap part)! No sticky sleep tonight! Now enjoying a beer before we assess our cash situation before dinner!