Making us work for it

Getting to the coast was no small task. It would be a two-day affair, and our first day didn’t start until 10:300 a.m. We backtracked almost the entire distance of the previous day (taking a different, more painful route), and had a late lunch back with the ponies. The cuties are obviously accustomed to being fed based on how one of them stared us down the whole time we ate our cold mashed potatoes.

Painful

Ponies!

Backtracking one day wasn’t enough; we had 10 km as the crow flies before reaching the next campground, Sega. We left the grassy plains for a three-star gorge as the sun went behind the mountains and were forced to jog past some of the prettiest scenery of the trip as dusk fell.

Colin was getting panicky that I would get panicky, but we were carrying food, water, flashlights, and even shelter, so I was nowhere near panicky, just anxious to get to Sega. Fortunately, it was mostly a gentle slope along the gorge, never far from the river. Just as it got to the point of needing to dig out our headlamps, I heard a generator. Then Colin spotted a light. We’d made it to Sega, 28 km away from where we’d started that morning. Our reward was an entire box of macaroni with sour-tasting tomato sauce and some of the Swiss chocolate we’d been carrying.

Sega the morning after

It wasn’t a long hike to Corte the next day, though it wasn’t without excitement. The path carried us through the three-star gorge, passed several blackberry bushes, only a few of them with ripe fruit. Overhasty, my hands were spotted with big splotches of juice and tiny dots of blood. Eventually we crossed the river and met dozens of people shouting and splashing in the water. We found a rock with shade and sun and devoured lunch.

So typical of us, we underestimated how long it would take to get the rest of the way to Corte, so the last hour of the hike was almost a jog, and we rushed through Corte instead of seeing it leisurely as we’d intended. Going through the supermarket was a blur of canned food and bulk boxes of instant mashed potatoes.

The train slowed down enough for us to hop off on a hillside a couple kilometers above a pinprick of a town called Novella.

“Ciao! Ohh, ragazzi!” The team of workers sitting near the tracks was apparently Italian. (Corsica is a part of France.)

“You’re about to be addressed in Italian,” I muttered to Colin, seeing the man who’d said hello shift on his perch. Rapid Italian followed, with Colin explaining our plan to walk to the beach, and the man, Felipo, explaining we were 20 km away.

“Hey boss, can I give these kids a ride in the truck?” (my translation of Italian, which remember I don’t speak)

In a hot minute we were loaded in and rumbling down the windy hill. We hit a spot of traffic in Novella when we met two cars going in the opposite direction on our one-car-wide road. Felipo and Colin chatted away while he drove us all 20 km to a campground by the beach.

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