50 Shades of Autumn

As you will see, a month was enough to completely change the scenery in an awesome way. This will be a more colorful post than usual. The plan is to do another loop using only marked CAI trails (so I can map some signposts on the way). It seems it will rain a lot, but water will not scare me and, as I begin, the air is still pretty fresh. I park my car on Peschiera’s Pass and, after gearing up (my backpack is becoming heavier and heavier as time passes) I head towards CAI 555 trail. A couple of minutes passes and it begins to rain, so I decide to wear on my jacket… then a couple of minutes passes again and it stops. Since I don’t want to unload my backpack every five steps, I decide to stay jacket-off: again, water won’t kill me.

So the rain seems to stop for a while and I keep hearing cow bells in the valley surrounding me, even if I barely see one. There’s one thing I always try to stick for in my hikes: NEVER touch any animal (yes, also cows). This because you never know how it would react: even the most peaceful animal can become a beast if it has calves around. I proceed on the path (very large, a car would surely be able to pass here), passing nearby a pipeline station and a sleeping calf. Going on the road bent to the right and proceed slightly uphill. The colors are so amazing that I’m barely able to describe them and the pictures will SURELY not do justice to the view.

And while I’m proceeding along the path… two cows block my way. Again, I know it sounds silly, but I would never go nearby them: so I have to think how to make a detour. The only way seems to go down on the right, toward the nearby creek coasting it for a while (with no real path to follow) then, once went over the animals, go back onto the main trail. That’s exactly what I do: I jump into the strict vegetation and, with a lot of effort, I’m able to pass the two cows! I’m a bit tired for the detour but in a very short time I finally reach Lavane’s Mt. Saddle: it’s the junction between a lot of trails, so I’m sure I’ll come back here many times in the future…

I make a little deviation to a nearby hut, Partisan’s Shack: there are some beds in it and also a little fireplace. It’s pretty cool indeed and could be easily used to sleep along the way of a multi-day hike: there’s a picnic area outside and a magnificent viewpoint. I stop there for a while to eat something then I go back to the Saddle, ready to reach the top of the mountain.

And, as often happens in this mountains, the top is a bit underwelming… this beacause they are more often than not surrounded by trees, so you can’t really see any cool landscape. But at least you know that from here on it will be pretty much downhill for a while… and then the view hits me: I come out from the woods on a magnificent ridge that proceed downhill with a full view around me of the colored woods. Undescribable. You would have to be there in this particular season to really understand what I mean (or maybe I’m not just good enough with words). I decide to reactivate a nearby cache just in the hope that people will come and see what I saw. Feel what I felt. But I know it’s impossible.

I know that I sound like a baby when I try to describe those things: this surely is in part for my lack of synonyms to use in English (I use the same word 40 times in the same post) but also because the more I hike the more I see that too many things are not “tellable”. You can’t (or at least I’m not able to) recapture a feeling of this magnitude in words. You can’t recapture a landscape in a picture. It’s something you have to live on yourself… and then MAYBE you will understand (everybody have different interest and sensibilities of course). And we are only half of the trip! I reach and abandoned farm, Il Briganzone, where I reactivate the last cache of the day. And after a bit… it begins to rain (spoiler, it’s not stopping anytime soon)

I try to increase my pace because the clouds behind me seem to bring a storm (luckily I’m wrong, but one can never knows). I reach Romiti’s meadow, where I passed by with ndotl some time ago, then I go over the Lavane’s fall and, instead of proceeding toward San Benedetto in Alpe I take a left, uphil: now the real adventure begins. The last part will be all uphill and all under heavy rain, knee-deep in mud: I reach an inhabited house called Pian Baruzzoli and, following the white/red sign, I proceed on my way. I’m not running but I’m trying to be as fast as possible and then I reach another house (abandoned this time), called Fontanacce, and I still incre- wait a second, Fontanacce? I wasn’t suppose to encounter another house on my way. I check the map and I took a wrong turn 30 minutes ago. The rain is still heavy. I’m pretty exhausted.

I have two choices in mind: backtracking up to Pian Baruzzoli (where I took the wrong turn), but it would take a while and I’m pretty soaked in water as per now. Or (how stupid I was to thought it would be a good idea) going outside the path since, with the map, I could orientate myself and see where the path should have been. In fact I was just a bit west from the correct one: this would have been an awesome thing to try with good weather condition. With rain on my glasses, fog coming down and 15 km on my shoulders it was a pain. I started going uphill on the right only to find myself blocked by vegetation, I had to nearly crawl in mud in some places with branches grasping on my backpack holding me back. It toulk me 30 minutes of this to finally find myself in a more open wood, from where I could really see the path: I rushed toward it and continued going in the right direction.

After another minor hiccup (a sea of logs on the main trail) I was quickly able to pass over Poggio Inferno and, finally, mounting back in the car. It was harsh. I was soaked in mud and water. But it was so satysfing…

To be fair a logged some other caches (not reactivated), but the reality is that after this hike until today I did not hide any more of them. I don’t know why, maybe it’s not the right moment. But I feel more and more involved with hiking and less and less with geocaching. I also would like, from the next post, to add some more details to my hikes (sort of I was doing in the past with my geowalks). Scouring through the web sometimes I find some very cool hiking blog/website: this one has been one of my favourites, there are thousands of hikes in ONE PARK ONLY. And als oI like the old-school style, will have to think about it.

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