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.
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.
You 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.
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.
Already 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.
As 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.
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.
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.
As I turned away from the town and headed into the woods. I had the feeling I was being herded.
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
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.