This quote is often nagging me in the back of my mind. I can’t go long without a good hike and one of the best places to go in Italy is Abruzzo. Last year I stayed overnight in the hills and hiked one of the mountains, and also did a little paragliding!

The leaves have started turning and I wanted to head back, but this time to a different area a bit closer to home.

Civitella Alfedena

A guy I know at work (I know, there’s always a guy!) told me about going climbing in this area and how enjoyable it is. I took his word for it, packed a day bag with snacks, hiking equipment, and a solar powered charger, and the next morning I was off.

Abruzzo Mountains to Naples ItalyThe drive starts on the highway but not for long, its scenic but slow on a one lane road. It does take about 2 and a half hours, but is definitely an enjoyable drive.

Civitella AlfedenaYou come into the city on that zig zagging road in the right corner of the map. Down past the lake, over the bridge, and to the city. I parked just across the bridge. In the city there was an event going so everything was shut down because everyone was attending. I tried to ask about it but it wasn’t a wedding, so I’m not sure.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo ItalyAfter parking I walked across the bridge, realizing there wasn’t very much water in the lake, and headed for the trail. Except I couldn’t seem to find it…

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 2Across the lake and down the road to the next town I meandered about a bit because I just wasn’t sure which way I was to be heading. 

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Ready for the hike, day pack, camelback, music, warm cloths, ray bans, ready!


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Finally I found some guidance on a poster off one of the roads.

I had bought the map but just couldn’t seem to figure out where the trail began. Following the above poster, I hiked up the hill, past the church, and finally onto a foot path that looked to be a trail.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 3Already winded (I shouldn’t admit it) I was happy that the trail levels off here a bit as I came up over the ledge. Now I was just above the town I had been walking in and ever so slightly climbing higher as I went.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 4Happened upon a war memorial.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 5Equipped with gun. I wonder how many people come up here to ponder the past?

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 6Looking out at the town as I hiked above it. Quite a perfect contrast of colors.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 7Close up on the rooftops of the town.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 8As I swept across the landscape I got a better view of the lake and the road leaving the city. Except that the trail I ended up on dumped me onto a road farther up. In which case I decided to follow a dirt road down and across sneaking through the back yard of an older couple that lived in a cabin.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 9

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My favorite picture of the day

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 10In which point I inevitably ended up at the base of the mountain with no trail and instead of wasting time decided to just climb it.

It wasn’t very easy to do.

Sometimes walking straight up a mountain is quite hard especially if its slippery. Luckily it had rained a couple days prior and the dirt was a thick mixture perfect to hold my footing.


The way was slow going. I would climb up an embankment, stop and rest, climb the next embankment. This took well over an hour at which point I finally came to a clearing that let me know I was near the top.

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Which is the moment where I was quite surprised. I heard an animal in the bushes and it sounded like a very sick cow until as I was standing next to a tree catching my breath, 3 elk ran out and across the clearing very near me. They had no idea I was there.

I was frightened!

Immediately I asked a few people how to deal with Elk, I had just seen some in Canada but from a car, not on foot.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 30As I turned away from the town and headed into the woods. I had the feeling I was being herded.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 31Which is how I ended up on these rocks. I felt like I might be attacked by the elk. Fortunately that never happened but I think they were just trying to lead me out of their territory.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 32As I started to grow cold sitting up in the rocks, I decided to trudge on and make my way across the ridge line. Heading back towards the area where I had parked my car.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 35Although I was trespassing into elk territory, I felt it important to have something to defend myself with and went through a few sticks till I found the perfect one.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 36 Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 34If the elks come, I will be ready.

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo Italy 37Entering into a field, the fog was creeping down on the land and I wasn’t exactly sure where I was on the mountain so I decided to consult the map

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Wouldn’t you know, the map tells you about the elk and where they are located?!

Civitella Alfedena Abruzzo ItalyIn case you were in doubt, here’s the proof. Elk poop.

As I walked the ridge line I realized how many hours I had been on the mountainside and decided to start the decent because I wanted to make it to my car before dark.

It was a struggle getting down, my legs were hurting and each step as I weaved my way to the bottom. As I walked down into the town I ran into this guy and happened to have a few carrots as a snack

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Hello Mister

Getting back to the town and finishing all the snacks in my bag and water on my back, I headed back to the car to make my way home. It was dark when I started the drive back but when I got home a hot bath helped sooth the cramps in my legs. Then it was off to bed in complete exhaustion. It was a wonderful day.

This article appeared first on Dynamic Soarer.