Dwight Peck's personal website
in the Off Season, 2007
the grudgingly-French island off the coast of Italy. We're
catching the off-season rates, late November and early December 2007.
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.
in the Forêt Domaniale de Vizzavona
main road runs over Corsica's mountainous interior, from Bastia in the northeast
to Ajaccio in the southwest, and we're on it. Here's another of those ubiquitous
Genoese watchtowers, as we motor along from Corte to the Col de Vizzavona to start
our hike, on 26 November 2007.
the Col de Vizzavona (1161m altitude), we're setting out to follow Mr Rochford's
Hike 4, "Forêt Domaniale de Vizzavona" (Landscapes of Corsica:
a countryside guide, 4th ed., Sunflower Books, 2005, pp. 61-62).
stop: another Genoese fort (ca.1200m), not much left of it, though
merchant-imperialists of Genoa wrested the island from Pisan influence in the
13th century and essentially fortified the whole thing -- the Genoese overlords
built fortresses at Bonifacio and Calvi, and elsewhere, and nearly a quadrillion
watchtowers (vere 67) all along the coast. It's said that a signal-fire
set off on one of the watchtowers, warning of the sighting of Barbary pirates,
could be relayed around the entire island in about an hour.
Genoese capitalists ran the island like a southern US slave plantation until the
mid-18th century, when the Enlightenment democrat Pasquale Paoli led a revolution
and forged a constitutional democracy out of the place (probably the world's first
constitutional democracy) and hung onto it for a decade or so, until the exasperated
Genoese capitalists sold off their "ownership" to the French and in
1769 the nationals were whacked by the French army at the Battle of Ponto Novo,
on the Golo River between Corte and Bastia, and Corsica became "French".
Kristin's in this photo, peeking from a window like a wistful 18th century Corsican
at the Gates
Genoese, French garrisons, Saracen looters -- they're all gone now. Sic transit
gloria mundi. Today it's just us.
the old tower, we're contouring back towards the famous Cascades
des Anglais (1150m), spectacular waterfalls of the river Agnone first popularized
by English tourists.
gazing contentedly down at the Cascades des Anglais.
we've come in at the top of the Cascades des Anglais and can't get a good photo
angle on the whole thing. The cross-Corsica Grande Randonnée hiking trail
(GR20) passes through just below here.
now we've scrambled up through all the awkward bits and got up into the "splendid
beech forest" in the hanging valley under Mont d'Oro.
river Agnone splashes all about us as we wander upward.
on the beautiful slagheaps, with the view back down the valley
continuous levels of big and little waterfalls up the Agnone in the Forest of
Noel Rochford, in his walkers' guidebook, recommends bringing along one's "bathing
things" (p. 61).
river Agnone in its early incarnations
hiker who has, alas, forgotten his "bathing things". November 2007.
little waterfalls and pools. Too bad about those bathing things.
at the Pont de Porteto over the creek . . . sorry, River Agnone.
to the right of us . . .
to the left of us . . .
ruined French Alpine Club refuge at about 1550m, the end of Mr Rochford's recommended
hike for today, and after a dash a few hundred metres onward for the views, we'll
turn back and rejoin Kristin at the bridge.
of the Mighty Agnone
and the babbling Agnone, as we descend into the beech trees.
contemplative moment. Or, at least, a good scenic view.
in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane."
Or a drone.
probably Punta del Cappo, but might not be. Mont d'Oro (2389m), Corsica's fifth
highest, is said to dominate this valley, but I think that this one's on the wrong
side of it.
cascades, as the shadows lengthen
end of the hanging valley and the start of the scrambly exercise back down to
the Cascades des Anglais
having got down the scrambly exercise parts of it and not pleased. This place
is said to have been infested by bandits until the late 19th century, who preyed
upon travelers over the pass; a mere glance like this would probably have sent
them scurrying off.
back out to the Col de Vizzavona as dusk settles down upon us
at the Genoese fort, and a Star Wars spaceship landing site on the far side of
the Col de Vizzavona. Time for dinner.
Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 15 December 2007, revised 14 June 2012.