In July and August of 2018, I set out with seven other Georgia Tech students to hike the trail that’s often called the hardest trail in Europe: the GR20. The trail begins in the small town of Calenzana and finishes in Conca, traversing about 130 miles of dramatic landscapes, from rugged mountains to green valleys and rolling hills. The sheer vertical nature of Corsica’s Parc Naturel Regional de Corse, especially the northern portion, was breathtaking and intimidating. There were many sore knees among the group due to the often arduous and lengthy descents off of ridges or passes. However, the team pushed through their sore joints, finished the trail, and had an amazing experience with each other and other hikers!
Our team was formed early in January 2018 and spent the next four months of the Spring semester preparing for the trip in multiple ways. Small teams were formed and spent many hours researching food, emergency services, logistics, transportation, and route options. All of these resources were continuously logged in multiple google spreadsheets and word documents. After researching and discussing, we came up with a strong itinerary and plan but made sure we knew as much as we could in case the situation changed. The team additionally spent countless hours in the gym, outside running, and on the Stairmaster to prepare physically for the steep and unforgiving nature of the GR20.