Going up through the Leaves

During August I took some vacation days so I could do some longer hike than usual. Because of this I have a ton of posts to write, so the following articles will be based on events happened a bit eralier than publication date (uninteresting details, I know, but for sake of completeness I wanted to note them down).

This being said vacations started in the best way possible. I was joined by ndotl that came from Germany just to do some hiking (he is used to Alps but not so much about Appennines). Today’s destination: San Benedetto in Alpe! From here the main idea is to reach Acquacheta’s waterfall and improvise from there (since we have all day long). We leave in the early morning, park in the little hamlet and we start following the CAI 407 trail.

Along the way we pass nearby an hut, Bivacco del Rospo, with a fireplace inside to grill some meat. I take the time to log a cache and reactivate it. From here we wade a couple of time the nearby creek, Fosso dell’Acquacheta, and we head to the Acquacheta‘s waterfall (famous for being cited in the Divine Comedy from Dante Aligheri) and then, nearby, a little pool with another waterfall. We stop a bit there to take some breathe.

From here we quickly go up to the Romiti‘s plain, where there are also the ruins of an old group of houses (with also the ancient San Benedetto’s hermitage). The plain is great to have a picninc or camping also! Between the abandoned houses there’s also a cache, where I leave a TB.

We dwelve again in the woods along the CAI 411 trail, coasting the little creek. The path is really easy and we start stepping up the pace while planning where to go after this. The initial idea was to complete the loop going to Mount Prato Andreaccio, but since we were really quick in arriving here, we decide to “hook” one of the track I was looking at the day before at home. We decide to follow the short CAI 419A trail and we follow it to the end, near Borghetto at the base of Mount Sinaia.

We then decide to reach a nearby chucrh, Santa Maria all’Eremo. We reach at the so called Crocione, a little junction with a wooden cross, where we reactivate a cache after having logged it, and we proceed down the exposed way. We are near the church and we take a stop at the little graveyard: differently to what usually happens to this tombstones lost in the mountains, it’s clear that someone mantains this place! There are fresh flowers, the grass is tended and the tombstone are clearly visible. We proceed to the hermitage but we are distracted by:

  • An herding dog that looks upon us from the distance while guarding a goat’s flock. He doesn’t seems interested at us, but you never know;
  • A cow grazing nearby;
  • BUT more importantly a lot of signs with written “WATCH OUT FOR THE BULL” that are not clear in indicating WHERE the animal is. Moreover, the trail pass in between some of these enclosures, so we proceed very carefully.

After passing another little gate (and being sure the bull is at our back :D) we proceed downhill heading towards the statal road. Along the way we keep an eye for the path we will have to follow. After a while two dogs come from the upper path barking (probably they live in some of the nearby inhabited hosues and here we start sweating: they are free, they seem enraged and they start coming after us. Of course we keep calm, if they smell fear they usually attack; luckily for us after a bit they lose interest and they go back. We also meet a couple of lumberjack that are gatering logs! We leave the main trail for another one less visible, directed to Casa Bargelli.

From here the real adventure begins! I chose this loop basing myself on some tracks Isaw on OpenStreetMap, but let’s say I had understimated the quickness of the landscape changes based on vegetation. As soon as we come across the house the track disappears in a mix of vegetation, thorns and mud. Of course we do not step back from the challenge (going back would mean at least a couple of kilometers on asphalted road, no way!) and we begin to use the little knowledge we have to orientate on ourselves. Our next destination is Mount Prato Andreaccio on the ridge on the border between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. We proceed in this order:

  • We go up trying to avoid knee-deep mud pools until we find a little path;
  • We follow it until it disappears in the woods, near a creek where we track a few boar footprints that probably were here a bit before us drinking;
  • We continue going up directly through the woods until we are on a larger track;
  • We stay on it for a couple of meters when it disappears again. Now we see the ridge upon us, at a much higher altitude. We decide to follow a creek bed (that is dry now) to gain altitude slowly;
  • At a certain point the bed abruptly ends on the wall of an abandoned house. We cut through the woods until we are on another track, that lead us to a blind valley dwelving into the vegetation. We then finally see the trail we have to reach;
  • Now we just have to do the final climbing, through leaves and some trees. In some places we are nearly vertically climbing. In ~twenty minutes we are finally on the marked track!

From here on it’s a cake walk. We reach in a matter of minutes Mount Prato Andreaccio, where there’s a cool breeze, and going along CAI 409 trail we begin descending towards San Benedetto in Alpe. The are many steps and we are a bit aching on our legs, but we can’t wait to get some rest at the end of the hike. We are hearing more clearly the creek and we finally emerge on the bridge of the little hamlet!

We have a coffee in the local bar (it’s also a very good restaurant!) and we go back home. Ita was a great tiringhike (after all it was 20 km with more than 1500 meters ascent), but it was very funny!

FLOWER OF THE DAY

The musk thistle (Carduus nutans) is a flower easily recognizable by it’s thorny leaves that can grows up to 1700 mts., found everywhere in Italy. and was introduced in 1800 in USA, with some specimen found taller than 5 meters! It can be cooked when the plant is still young and it recall artichoke’s flavor.

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