This summer I have decided to head east and discover some trails in another country. I was aimlessly searching the internet this past winter looking at different trails around the world in hopes of finding something that inspired me. I wanted to get out of the country for a breath of fresh air from all the drama over the past few months, but have never hiked in another country, much less another continent. I stumbled upon some reviews of the GR10 in France and slowly became intrigued by the landscape and the sound of the 500 mile trek across the Pyrenees, but it seemed a bit too short for an entire summer so upon further research I found that there are three long distance trails that cover the Pyrenees including the GR11 and the Pyrenees Haute Route. Both the GR10 and the GR11 seem to be a relatively well blazed trail, but I still wanted something a bit more challenging in hopes to take my capabilites to another experience. After deciding to take a risk I settled on the Pyrenees Haute Route or the “HPR” and began looking for other hikes that I could link up to create a longer hike to cover a two month period in Europe.
Research naturally led me to the Camino de Santiago in that it could be walked straight to the base of the Pyrenees and setting me up for a second leg in my thru hike. Reviews of the Camino seem shitty to the point that the first site I found when just typing in the trek was called “10 reasons why hiking the Camino de Santiago sucks”. So I looked for other options and found that the Camino del Norte, the northern Camino, had better reviews, more scenic and was less populated.
I still had enough time to throw in a smaller hike and found that there is a trail known as “Europe’s hardest trail” on an island called Corsica. This trail is called the GR20 and covers the island at an angle in about 112 miles. This trail seemed a bit intimidating when I read about the gnarly summer thunderstorms that almost daily hit in the afternoon, the rocky terrain and the landslides that supposedly have killed hikers in the past few years, but it seemed close enough to work into my schedule and short enough to do in about a week.
Plans began to come together and I finally came up with a rough idea of what the summer will look like: I fly into Spain on the 15th of June and will hike the Camino del Norte west bound and then on July 7th will fly to Bastia to hike the GR20 in Corsica and then finally fly to Hendaye on the 19th of June to hike the Pyrenees Haute Route until September 1st. Planning has been a rush and full of excitement in discovering new trails and ways of hiking in different countries I have barely been in. I hope to blog as much as I did on the PCT, but am not sure how things will work out when I get over there. Until I leave I hope to post a few more times about the planning process and an updated gear list for this summer. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy following along!