9/14/2013 – GR20 Day 10 Refuge d'Ortu di u Piobbu->Calenzana according to Ryan
7.5 miles (12k), 800 feet gained (235m), 5,100 feet lost (1550m), 3 hours and 35 minutes
Last night's sleep was punctuated several times by bells around the neck of either the refuge horse or nearby cows. Every time I woke up I would fear getting a hoof in the face, hearing the "munch munch" of the ruminant getting closer. Why do these creatures continue to eat at 1am anyway!? Are they never satisfied? At 5:45am the alarm and Jamie's nudging were not necessary to get me moving. We're heading out today to the world of more than 1 pad of butter! We quickly packed all of our stuff up for the last time and headed into the refuge for our breakfast (more cake maison...better than Carozzu's). We hit the trail at 6:35am with speed under clear skies. After 30 minutes we rounded a corner and got out first uninterrupted view of Calvi and broke into a run...but then we realized we had supposedly 5 hours of descent to go, so we slowed down a bit.
For maybe the first hour the trail was pretty rocky (multiple mouflon sightings), but then it gave way to the most perfectly smooth, evenly-graded switchbacks down into the valley. Calvi came closer and closer and the people we passed became more pleasant smelling. Finally, we rounded a corner and Calenzana came into view with its lone church steeple and red roofs. At 3 hours 35 minutes we came upon the trailhead and stepped onto the streets, stumbling into the Le GR20 Bar for real coffee and a Pietra. Life was good.
It wasn't long before Yves joined us and we jumped in a taxi to Calvi. 15 minutes later we were in modern, commercial reality. And it was beautiful. We quickly found a room at L'hotel Magnolia for 3 nights and they were kind enough to throw in a complimentary breakfast when they sighted our hesitation at the price. We couldn't get into the room until 1:30pm so we wandered around town, basking in the heat and blue waters. We indulged in a savory crepe and Orangina by the water and then walked up to the citadel. We really just wanted to clean up. Finally 1:30 came around and we checked into our charming (small) room with a disproportionately large bathroom. It took an hour to clean ourselves and the water ran brown and black with each pass of the soap, but it felt so good to emerge clean again.
Then, it was nap time for an hour or so...following nap time we headed out for a walk on the Calvi beach (don't know why we did that...it kind of hurt and we've been walking forever). The rest of the night was dinner (Jamie got her burger finally) that we had to wait 1.5 hours for, but we got 10% off and a real bed at 10pm finally.