Corsica 2012 – TMM: “Calenzana -> Bonifatu”

In a previous blog post I started describing my summer holiday to Corsica. I wrote about me and my friend’s journey to Calenzana, starting point of Tra Mare e Monti long-distance track. Now I’d like to tell you about the first stage of our hike.

On 22nd July we woke up at about 7 o’clock. To my surprise, our tent was the last one on the camping place – all the other ones were gone! As it turned out, all other hikers from camp were heading to GR20 and set out very early to avoid sun and heat.

Start Finish Distance Max. elevation Min. elevation Track record
Calenzana Bonifatu 15.1 km (incl. 2 km detour!) 575 m 218 m GPX file

We were much slower and left quite late, around half past eight. The first stage of Tra Mare e Monti, at the beginning common with GR20 route, led us through Calenzana village and up the hill. The ascent was quite pleasant, not very steep.

Calenzana (from GR20 and Tra Mare e Monti)

Calenzana (from GR20 and Tra Mare e Monti)

After about 2 km we made a big mistake. There was a branching with a sign showing direction “GR20” to the left. There was also an orange dot on the sign (Tra Mare e Monti is marked by orange color) and as I see it know it was quite clear we should’ve turned left. However, at the moment we decided to go to the right, because there were orange markings along that route. Unfortunately, it started slowly returning back to Calenzana, which we noticed after about one kilometer long hike, during which we descended by more than 120 meters!

Ascent back to the branching was quite tiring, but at least then we were back on the correct track. It kept ascending up for about 500 more meters to the crossroad, where GR20 and Tra Mare e Monti splitted for good. The TMM turned to the right and slowly climbed up to the Bocca A U Corsu pass, located at 575 m ASL.

From the pass there was a really nice view to both Calenzana and northern coast and to the valley in the south, where we were heading. Descent there was very nice, offering beautiful views most of the time. Leading through the valley, there was quite a wide unpaved road, easy to walk along, but quite tiring after some time.

Our tent at Bonifatu

Our tent at Bonifatu

After about 12 km we crossed the bridge over river Figarella, after which TMM left the unpaved road and started ascending through the wood along the river. The climb was quite steep in some parts, but the narrow path through forest was very nice change from the wide road.

In its last part of today’s stage, TMM led approximately one kilometer along the tarmac road to Maison forestière de Bonifatu, this stage’s gîte d’étape. Just like the gîte in Calenzana, in Bonifatu it was also possible to camp in the tent. Price was very similar too, 8.50 EUR per person, with nothing being paid for tent. Since there was no supermarket around, it was possible to buy some groceries in gîte. However, this was very expensive – for three Zilia mineral waters (1.5 liters each) and three baguettes we paid 14.70 EUR!!!

Here is the elevation diagram (generated by my GPS altimeter and processed by Garmin BaseCamp application) of the track we went, including our unintended detour:

Elevation diagram - from Calenzana to Bonifatu

Elevation diagram – from Calenzana to Bonifatu

The following GPS waypoints might also come in handy. You can download all of them in a single GPX file.

Name Description Approx. Elev. Latitude Longitude
AUBERGE BONIFATU Maison forestière de Bonifatu 526 m N 42° 26.532′ E 8° 51.251′
BOCCA A U CORSU Bocca A U Corsu pass 575 m N 42° 29.773′ E 8° 50.849′
CAMPING CALENZANA Gîte d’étape in Calenzana 218 m N 42° 30.633′ E 8° 51.037′
GR20 DELENI GR20 <> TMM branching 563 m N 42° 29.752′ E 8° 50.997′

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