Some years ago I considered using the Wallon refuge in the Pyrenees as a base. It seemed a depressing prospect so I never did it. The point of backpacking is to move. The thrill, every morning, is packing up and setting off. It gets tiring too, but tiring is better than hours of boredom when your mood deteriorates.

This is the view from the balcony at Refuge Petra Piana. I camped here for three nights and enjoyed it. I used a rest day which I’d planned for a village, as a far better option. I stayed in the mountains. I climbed Ritondu, which wasn’t my initial plan either.

The first morning weather was exceedingly bad with wind, mist, and some rain. It improved after a few hours, part of which I spent in my tent half sleeping after breakfast. The afternoon was cold but bright. I had the refuge to myself, like a basic but luxury hotel because of its wonderful location.

There are gas cooking facilities at Corsican huts so you can make tea and reasonably acceptable food. You can buy basic provisions at Petra Piana which in my case, vegetarian, meant pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce. There are toilets and a cold shower. The guardian was an amusing elderly chap who acted annoyed when I changed my mind and asked for a larger quantity of cheese, saying “les Anglais!” disparagingly with twinkling eyes.


Corsica: Petra Piana

Monday November 9, 2015