A Day in the Woods

New year, new walk: as soon as the time is right and since, luckily, I had some vacations from work, I planned my first trip of 2019!

The starting point is an old a renewed one (good old Prato all’Albero): I chose it because I had to do maintenance to one of our caches. But before arriving, the first reactivation of the day!

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This picture is more than one year old when I came here to log the cache!

This is one of the many fabio4x4 caches that I reactivated during my trip! The container was in good shape, so it was a very quick check.

After reaching Prato all’Albero, it was time to begin my hiking session! I quickly reached the cache I had to maintain and while I was there I was lucky to find a red neckwarmer: since I don’t own one it was really a lucky shot!

From there I proceeded I quickly proceeded to another place that I know pretty well at this point: Capanna Sicuteri.

I headed up passing over the sources of the Rio Rovigo and went up to the next crossroad; the last time I was here with Elian, we turned right: time to see what’s on the left!

I reached in a matter of minutes a really great viewpoint where another cache was hidden… the view was really astonishing! The thing that I loved the most is that becoming every time more acquaintance with the zone, I can recognize literally every manor I see in the distance (Lozzole, Fintomorto, La Lastra, Stabbia and many others)! It’s a really good feeling, and it’s one of the main rewards I get from exploring.

Now the rougher part begins because from the description of the next cache I see that a particular tree should be the sign for turning left: the problem is that there is no trail on the left to be seen anywhere (and no particular tree also). So I decided to do what I love the most: follow the GPS and get lost in the woods! After a bit of up and down, I reach the abandoned house that, again, offers a great point of view on the opposite valley!

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And, surprise in the surprise, there’s a trackable in the cache! The owner had it marked as lost, but the cache was simply archived. I take it in my hands and will make sure it will not go lost again.

To go back in the main trail I have to cut through some ferns, but it’s pretty easy to backtrack.

I keep following the path, passing over one gate for the livestock, and after a while, I reach Ronchi di Berna’s pass. It’s probably one of the best place I reached thus far: it’s the old pass that linked Palazzuolo with Firenze and Marradi (the new one is called Sambuca’s pass): you can still see the old paved road in some points, and thinking about people that had to travel here with their handcart it’s strange feeling.

Of course, there’s a cache hidden here, near an old wayside shrine under some rocks.

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The little shrine

Going up I aim for the big antenna I see not very far: I know it to be Mount Carzolano since that is visible from very far (and also a good orientation point if you ever get lost around).

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Not far from the top

Reaching the top was a matter of minutes, finding the cache was not: it was really time-consuming, and without the spoiler image I wouldn’t have been able to find it!

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Finally there!

Time to go back, but from another way: after a bit of backtrack I came back to the previous junction, but instead of going to Ronchi di Berna, I continued downhill trying to reach Ca’ di Vagnella where the last reactivation of the day was waiting for me! This cache is the first of a long series we really want to do.

In an old interview the last inhabitant of Lozzole, Smeriglio Fabbri, named a lot of old manors that were part of his parish: Fintomorto, Stabbia, Ca’ del Cigno, Campergozzole etc. He named like 40 of them! Some of them are known to us, some instead we never heard of: we want to plant a cache in all of them! The series will be called “Le case di Smeriglio” (Smeriglio’s houses): some caches just need reactivation, many instead need a brand new cache… and since Ca’ di Vagnella is named in that interview, we will start from here!

I then pass near the house (now restored and inhabited), I reach the first junction where I turn left and I proceed going down into the nearby river (the one I passed the spring before).

After some wading, I reach the main road bridge that passes over me. Luckily I check the map: I was about to proceed beneath it, but the correct way is the one going uphill 😦 Time to regain some altitude I suppose!

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The bridge in all its magnificence

After a good portion of the uphill road (most of it on the old paved road) and after dropping some real sweat, I finally reach a junction I know: the last time I was here I turned right to Ca’ il Piano, this time I’m coming from the other way!

And in a matter of minutes I was back in my car. This walk let me discover a lot of great interesting places I had in plan for a long time, it was surely the best way to begin the new year!

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