Monday, 31 October 2011

Hiking Le Mare e Mare Sud

Hiking has been high on my to do list in Corsica. So I jumped at the chance to walk the Mare a Mare Sud, a five day route from Porto Vecchio to Propriano taking in mountains, spectacular river gorges and aromatic macquis.

Branching away from the busier port towns and venturing into the mountainous Alta Rocca region was a chance to see the flora and fauna of Corsica. There was an abundance of irresistible fig trees and terracotta coloured leaves lining the paths, not to mention bearded mountain men and the alarming sight of small Corsican boys with a rifle casually in tow. Standard protocol apparently. Coming from a fairly sun deprived neck of the wood in England, I was probably overly fascinated by avocados and aubergines growing in late October. So fascinated, that I couldn’t stop myself leaning over the fence and picking an avocado from someone’s garden.

For the first couple of days whilst trekking up some steep hills, I wondered what had possessed me to pack an industrial sized bottle of hair conditioner. A friend of mine told me about someone who cut their toothbrush in half on a hike in order to save space; it didn’t seem like such a ridiculous idea when you start developing bruises from the weight of your rucksack. But the incredible views at the top were more than worth it.

On day 3, we discovered that anything claiming to be “waterproof” should be taken with a pinch of salt. Arriving at the gite soaking wet after 4 hours of heavy rain and resembling bedraggled mountain urchins, that cliché ‘look what the cat dragged in’ had never been more fitting. But two hours later, with our clothes drying nicely by the fire and tucking into a delicious lasagne made with the corsican cheese brocciu, the whole day became more of a bonding experience than one to forget.

We made it to the final gite about 7k outside Propriano on Thursday, certainly not having completed any kind of athletic feat but collapsing onto a bed nonetheless and proud of that fact that we walked across Corsica. It felt almost as good as emptying the contents of my bag into the washing machine when arrived back in civilization on Friday. I only hope there’s no bad karma coming my way after stealing that Avocado.

All images are the property of J.Hanley.