The GR 20: Harder, Pretty, Colder.

Jenn hiking the GR 20 in Corsica

When my husband and I decided to hike the 120 mile, or 200 kilometer, GR 20 hiking trail in Corsica I was not aware that it was considered the “toughest” hike in Europe. Maybe the meaning was lost in translation between the French and English guidebooks, but for all those out there that can’t parle Francais, let me make it very clear the GR 20 is the TOUGHEST hike in Europe. The terrain was never flat, it was a trail that constantly traveled straight up and straight down mountains and in places where the pitch is exceptionally steep the trail utilizes chain, bolts, and ladders to give a hiker something to hold on to.

As demoralizing as it can be to boulder up a mountain, I will say that the views on both sides of the pass always made the effort worth it. Corsica is far more beautiful and diverse than I thought it was. The GR 20 travels from one end of the island to the other and in that time it passes over jagged peaks, through old growth forests and across ridgelines where the sun can be seen setting into the Mediterranean Ocean.

Speaking of the Mediterranean Ocean, when I think Corsica in the summer time I have a very James Bond perception of bikinis and sangria, but that was not the case at all. Corsica was cold in the mountains, even in late June. I always ended the day in my down jacket and there was many times when the trail crossed over large snow fields.

All said, the GR 20 was not what I expected, but it was better than I expected.