Todays major adventure!
Today’s route actually combined two days of our route notes. We had figured the last two hikes would be shorter and easier on the old bodies . But – not so! We were to hike two loops in one day . .. oh well . . .
Once outside the town, we headed down literally hundreds of small switchbacks down into this beautiful gorge. This stretch took us a good hour and a half! Very steep. They called it an old mule track. Pretty amazing. I have learned to really bend my knees and I was able to hike this stretch much more quickly and efficiently. D had a new strategy as well . . He led the way and acted like the sherpas we used in Peru when we hiked to Macchi Picchu. 😀.
At the bottom was a nifty old bridge. Really cool area! We stopped to have a snack and, of course, a group picture. So Dave set up the tripod on a tree. He tried a couple of times to race back to join the picture (10 seconds is what he had). But it just wasn’t working. So – this was a popular spot and this nice gentleman offered to take our picture. Of course, it was set for 10 seconds – so he had to wait for the picture to happen! He got a couple of really nice pictures . .
After chatting and taking pictures and snacking – Tom was ready to head off – this is the usual for Tom, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of making his acquaintance . . . So – off he went heading up the other side of the gorge. Colette was whistling for him to stop and wait . . And then this hiker walked by him saying, “Stay with your family!” How funny. This was the fellow we had asked two days before to please look for Tom at the refuge and let him know we had headed back. How does that happen? 😀. And so – we had to have their picture together! 😀
After 3 or 4 miles of hiking – we landed in Ota – another really special mountain town. The odors of amazing food kept drawing us onward and upward and we discovered this marvelous little restaurant over looking the countryside!
We have not had any spectacular lunches on this hike (although one can not argue with a sandwich made of Corsican crusty bread, jambon, et fromage,). 😀. We had omelettes and salads and iced cold cokes! I have to say we lingered there . . It was a special spot!
And then – for the tough part of today’s hike. 🤔. Steep up over rocks and slippery ground. Then down over this section they described as either exhilarating or terrifying! Suffice it to say, we did not find it exhilarating! Very very steep – mostly dirt – trees to hold on to as you descended all the way down – for a good half an hour! Yikes! That was not easy!
Once we got to the bottom, we had another mile and a half on the trail – but we decided to walk the road into town to cut down on our distance. First very steeply down – and then up and up and up. You could see the town of Porto below – but we were walking up! Something wrong with this picture . . . 😖. Finally, Dave discovered the path down. Hard to call this thing a path! It was terribly steep, dry slippery, and very narrow! We were getting tired and just wanted to get there! You can see this area from our hotel – hard to believe we hiked down it! Finally – you could walk along normally – we were practically down!
And then the Jojo went down! Four minutes from the finish of our entire hike! For the first time in ages, I was just walking along normally – not watching my feet and grabbing for trees or rocks for support – and I tripped on a small root and fell. Landed smack on my poor repaired elbow and ripped it open! It looked awful. I knew from the moment I saw it – that I would need stitches. . And we were not vacationing in the United States of America! 😳
I yelled out D’s name and he came running back. The others had already jumped down over the final wall. They helped me down and carried my bags to our hotel. And now starts my medical saga . . It’s a long story . . . 😀
Of course, no one speaks anything but French on this island and we do not! Major liability when you are in trouble medically. The receptionist at this hotel was fabulous with her limited English. There usually is a doctor in town but not on Wednesday’s. She called the emergency number and within half an hour, a rescue vehicle operated by the local firefighters arrived at the hotel. With the siren going! 😳.
These three guys were really cute and very helpful. We think they were having a lot of fun with us English speaking folks. The younger guy, who seemed to be in charge had spent three months in Miami and he was all fired up about our country! They worked very hard to clean up my wound. It was full of grime. 😖. So – it was about an hour to reach the town of Cargese.
D had had a grande beer while we waited for the firefighters to arrive. He was sitting in this pull out chair in the emergency van while I was strapped into the bed! 😳. No windows. The road was full of twists and turns as the town of Porto is way down on the ocean and the only way to reach the next town is over this road. I watched D’s face turn white and he was just holding on to not lose the beer he had just consumed as well as his lunch . . Yikes.
So – once we reached the town, the doctor came out to the van to look at my wound. He was sort of scruffy but he did speak a few words of English. Not many, mind you! He peeled the skin back and shook his head. Too dirty . . “It would not be a good service for you for me to fix this. You need to go to the hospital!” Mind you the hospital is in Ajaccio – well over an hour away and the only way to get there is by taxi! Oh well! Oh – one more item – this doc says that the hospital treatment would be free as was the ride over with the firefighters. But we needed to pay him 50 euros! 🤔. Probably better he did not want to treat me. This clinic looked a bit questionable.
The taxi driver did not speak a word of English – but the doctor had given him some notes about my treatment and he took those in to the receptionist in the emergency room. She spoke a little English and got me signed in. “Passport please!” I, of course, had no passport or medical cards or anything. We explained and she said we could take a picture of it and send it to her once we got back . So – we desperately had to go the bathroom first off. Just down the hall – so dirty – no sink to even wash your hands. We were not feeling confident. 😖. I was called to the triage room and the nurse there assessed my wound – rewrapped it and I went back out to wait.
Attendez As in wait! That is what we did! But – there was a whole lot of life to observe as we waited . . Lots of people crying. Little people and old people. Ladies marching around in very high fancy shoes and tight tight clothes – with medically improved faces! Sad little kids with their binkies and blankets. There must have been at least 50 people waiting for services! There was a sign posted that said you would be served in the order in which you arrived – but that was clearly not the case . .. just outside our waiting room was the smoking section. Outside – and full of smoke. Lots of smoking over here . . .
People would come and go. Get X-rays and come back. Occasionally, a nurse or the doctor would come to the door and call someone’s name. But not my name! We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 and I was called to enter sometime after 10: 30. Meanwhile, we had hiked all day in tough conditions. I had blood all over me. We were all sweaty. Not a pretty picture . . I’m sure we looked way older than our 74 and 75 years . . . And – no food since 1:00. Jojo does not do well with no food. I was starting to shake – when the D said, “ be quiet – they’ll think there’s something wrong with your head and not treat you!” 😖.
Once we went in the back room, things looked much cleaner – but hardly more organized. There were lots of people back here – on beds – in wheelchairs – just sitting around chatting. Lots of complaining about getting treated next . . Only one doctor. One elderly woman must have had mental health issues – she just walked around looking confused and talking to herself. Finally (after being moved from one room to another three times) the good doctor came in to take care of my wound. “Let’s go,” he says to me. 😀. Dave had to leave and he got started. Lots of Novocain (which really killed) and lots of stitches with syringe cleaning as he went (I think). I couldn’t really see. And I have to say that the Novocain was only partially working . . . He worked on me for probably 40 minutes positioning my arm in three different positions – so that the elbow would move properly. Yeah! I was fixed up!
Back to the waiting room so that the receptionist could call us a taxi – which took 45 minutes to arrive. 😖. More attendez. And then we had a two hour drive to get ourselves back to Porto. I slept some. D did not. Our driver was great but he couldn’t find out hotel and we lost 15 more minutes looking for it. Arrived at the hotel at 4:45 AM. Literally had to take showers and I needed to find a way to keep my wrapping dry. Not easy at 4:45.
What a day! From hiking about eleven miles – up and down – very steep and slippery at times. Elevation gain about 1000 feet. The rest all DOWN. Roughly 4000 feet! Wowsiers. And then – our medical adventure!
Today was all about rest and recovery. We did walk into the port section of Porto and had a delicious lemon pie gelato. And then a pizza to split with coke. Thinking the coke might provide some energy 😀. Looking forward to happy hour tonight. And being normal! 😀