Corsica - Day 5
The past few days had been super warm, so I was quite surprised when I looked out of the window. Everything was covered in a thick layer of snow. I needed to go to the bathroom really bad but the French family was sleeping near the door. Our relationship was already odd enough so I didn't want to scare them again. I could walk outside barefooted and pee there, but that would involve walking out in the snow and the French's sleeping quarters were looking out over the balcony. In the end these were all excuses, but now I had a reason to go Bear Grylls style and pee in my water bottle. That of course was a dream come true. Just when I wanted to flush it down the sink the French guy walked in, while of course barely saying anything.
The mountain today
During the past night there had fallen about 5 cm of snow. That wasn't too bad but it was snowing increasingly harder and the wind was picking up. If I would get over the mountain I would likely be able to finish most of the rest of the GR20, while if I didn't my vacation was basically over. Despite the snow I tried to give it one more shot. If I failed I would try walking around the mountain below the snowline. As I expected, the snow was really too deep, but walking around the mountain was doable.
Great weather along the way
After a while the weather got way worse and it started to thunder. I had no choice but to descent again. Because I wasn't on a trail, the descent went slow. It took 1.5 hours. My map mentioned a smaller path running to a village a few kilometers away. I considered going there, but there wasn't a way to get from there to the other side of the mountain either, so it wouldn't help me much. I also simply couldn't find it, although the French seemed to have taken it. It was clear I wouldn't get over the mountain or around it, so I decided to turn around and head back to the paved road with the bus stop. There was a lot of snow on the trails I had walked on in the scorching sun just the day before. I knew the weather there could change quickly, but from sunny and 25 C to 10 cm of snow and thunder in one night was a lot.
They day before I had sheltered underneath those trees to hike from the sun.
After a while the weather got a little better and I came across a lady heading to the cabin, but she wasn't planning on climbing the mountain. Later I met a French hiker who did plan to climb it, but he clearly hadn't bought his snowshoes through Ebay. Later I passed two more hikers who planned to walk the route. I considered turning around and trying to climb the mountain together, but by I was too exhausted from the hike and the weeks running up to it. I was annoyed I hadn't met them yesterday, with their help I would likely have made it.
The reason that the hike hadn't worked out was a combination of still being tired from University, the snowshoes not arriving, the route being tougher than expected, the bad weather, not meeting anyone to ask for advice, poor sleep due to the campsites not being marked on both of my maps, and not eating enough because of the stress of dealing with those things. If I had been better rested and carried snowshoes I would definitely had made it over the mountain. However, for all I know I then might have gotten stuck on the next one.
A salamander on the path
After 4 hours I arrived back at the asphalt road I had been on the day before, but it was now deserted. The bus wasn't running. There were also a small hotel and restaurant, but I rather wanted to make it back to an actual village. I kept on walking down the asphalt road leading into a valley, which again had no good camping spots. Despite being at a much lower elevation the snow and cold continued.
Eventually I found a flat area next to an adventure rope trail made in the trees. That seemed appropriate. After pitching my tent I took off my clothes. Despite my waterproof jacket and pants everything had gotten wet from either the rain or sweat. I dried myself with my spare t-shirt, so my sleeping bag was the only dry thing I had left. This had gotten a bit out of hand and I clearly wasn't prepared for the weather there. I was glad I had made the right decision by turning around. Later I would learn it continued snowing in the mountains for another 3 days.