The GR20: Day 2

Polly FarringtonComment

Day 2: Ref. d’ I Paliri – ref. d’Asinau

Date: 24th June 2019
Distance: 13.5km
Ascent: 1284m
Descent: 808m
Weather: HOT & SUN

Rolling out the tent it was clear it was going to be another beautiful day. In order to avoid some of the worst heat we had set an alarm for 6.30am and were still persevering with boiling water for porridge and coffee but it was becoming apparent if we wanted to get moving this was going to be a luxury we had to give up. Who doesn’t love cold soaked porridge on holiday?


Having a relaxed attitude is great, do recommend. Leaving your packing til the last second and realising you’ve lost your rucksack in a recent house move and having to borrow one that is way too large back-size-wise but way too small content-wise, do not recommend.

Trying to repack each day was a precarious endeavour. My pack was so stuffed that after I put the water bladder in, if I bent over or even breathed out too hard, water would pour out.


Nothing to worry about here…


People who hike the northern section first are often under the misapprehension that the southern half is easy, unfortunately having done it all I can tell you there are no real easy parts on the GR20 just marginally less-gruelling.

We spent day 2, the high variant between Paliri and d’Asinau, climbing up forested slopes, scrambling over rocks and rolling down the other side, lowering ourselves off precipices before eventually coming to a river bed where we were able to take off our shoes and soak swollen feet in the ice cold water.


It was unbearably hot by the time we began the final climb up to the Refuge d’Asinau, vertical and never ending. A final traverse across the mountain brought us to the refuge.

There is no shade. Not a single sliver. It is 2.30pm, 33 degrees and we are half way up the exposed side of the mountain with seven hours until the sun sets. It is times like these you do the only thing you can, have a fully dressed shower, drape a travel towel over your head like a microfiber ghost and lie very still in a tent that is hot like an oven, but at least provides a small amount of shade. Finally, at 8pm, the sun disappears behind the mountains and you can relax.