The Corsican MoorDwight Peck's personal website

Corsica in the Off Season, 2007

Corsica, the grudgingly-French island off the coast of Italy. We're catching the off-season rates, late November and early December 2007.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Hike to Lac de Melo, Valley of Restonica

We're nicely settled in at the Hôtel du Nord in Corte (ancient capital of kings, or at least of mid-18th century presidents), and now we've motored up the wee little tiny road into the Vallée of Restonica for a hike, and this is the place near the Pont de Frasseta beyond which camper-vans are not permitted.

Kristin at the trailhead, the Bergerie de Grotelle (1370m), 25 November 2007. We're bound, in fact, for the Lac de Melo up behind that rocky headwall on the far left. Some of us, however, have only brought our "hiking sandals", so we'll have to drive back down to Corte and fetch our proper boots for this snowy walk.

So now we're back, with our boots on, and we're pacing in a leisurely manner up to the Lac de Melo behind that headwall in the distance.

Were the truth to be known, we're following Hike 31 "Lac de Melo and Lac de Capitello" in Noel Rochford's Landscapes of Corsica: a countryside guide (4th ed., Sunflower Books, 2005), but even at this point (having forgotten our boots in the first instance, encountering more snow strewn about the path than we'd planned for, and having got out of bed long after the cock had crowed in any case), we've got doubts about completing the entire route.

But we're in good spirits anyway.

An old stone hut, with a prominent marking to remind the inhabitants where their door can be found.

The path bifurcates here, left and right, and Kristin is determined to take the path with the "metal ladders" (Rochford, p. 115) to the right.

No "metal ladders" yet, but more snow in the gulleys.

A treacherous little gulley with old snow that disguises the vasty gaps between the rocks.

Searching all about for the "metal ladders"

Metal ladders

Lots of metal ladders, in fact

Onward to the Lac de Melo

Nearby cascades

Kristin and the path to Melo (or, in Corsican, 'Lagu di Melu')

Lac de Melo (or Melu), 25 November 2007

And a fine Corsican picnic lunch in prospect

Corsican salami. Corsican bread. This must be Heaven.

And Corsican "brocciu", the famous ewe's milk cheese, the national favorite.

The way upward to the Lac de Capitello, at 3 p.m. after a nice lunch. Sometimes we just have to rein in our dreams and settle for half a hike. So we're starting back down now -- for dinner.

The cold old Lagu di Melu (or Melo)

The cold old Lac de Melo (or Melu)

Kristin preparing to leap back down into the Vallée of Restonica as shadows gather

The better part of valor

"Order for me! Kir for the apéritif!"

A hurried dash back down the Restonica valley, with dinner on our minds. Which, however, in Corte, at the restaurant "Pascale Paoli" in the main square of the upper village, was not just bad, but appalling. Pascale Paoli himself (1725-1807), president of Corsica during its extremely short-lived independence, would have balked at fried gristle with a local football game blaring out on the television.

Kristin and our pleasant green Renault Kangoo, nearing happy hour in the Valley of Restonica.

Base map:

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 13 December 2007, revised 13 June 2012.

Corsica, 2007

Corsica, 2009