Saturday night we are at Fabio's base camp, in the Gransasso forest. A dinner around the fire among old friends, just before our trekking begins.
Sunday morning: let's go!
We start from a little dam close to Cesacastina village: here a trail climbs up into the forest... But obviously we are not following the trail!
Conillo knows very well these mountains: he will lead us walking up along the stream.
This is Fosso dell'Acero: "Maple creek".
It is really beautiful with all these slipways, but, to be honest, there are no maple trees, not even a single one! :-)
Fording Fosso dell'Acero / Maple creek.
Rossella on the slipways
The only fall of Fosso dell'Acero
Chatting at the fall
The original plan was to walk on a very hot sunny day, enjoying many refreshing baths along the way... Unfortunately the weather seams to have other plans for today :-(
We were sad of missing many potential baths, but especially here we felt very bad: how can you avoid a jump in the water here?
Corrado is testing the water, but at 1700 m. of altitude and without the sun it's absolutely too cold!
Clouds are coming from the valley.
Rossella and the clouds.
We camp at about 2000 m., it is very cold and we wear everything we have.
You don't need a drone if you have Corrado :-)
The next morning the summer is back!
On the background is the Gransasso, the highest mountain in central Italy.
It is important to be aware of your limits: I know that if I put the suncream by myself I will get somehow burned! :-)
Shepherd, sheep and tarn. Getting closer to the summit.
In 3 pictures Conillo will tell us about the Laga Mountains flora.
Conillo: "If you sleep on these little yellow flowers you'll dream magic dreams!"
Conillo: "This crawling bluebell grows near the elves hideouts!"
Conillo: "Eating the yellow dandelion is good: it makes your ears stronger.
Sprites use this bluebell to make their hats."
Getting on top of Monte Gorzano, at 2458 metres.
From Monte Gorzano summit, a view on the Tordino valley.
David enjoying cheese.
Corrado in a "relax of the shepherd" style
Laga Mountains ridge.
In the valley below, just out of the photo on the left, is Amatrice.
This town will be destroyed by the earthquake just two week after our trekking!
Mount Gorzano ridge and, in the background, the Gransasso.
Artistic version of a selfie, by Corrado
Shepherd, sheep and clouds' shadows.
We leave the ridge: now we aim to climb down a little valley till altitude 1400. Out of any trail, obviously!
The valley is pleasant and full of flowers for few meters, but then...
...Then it gets so steep and rocky that we have to leave it and climb down in the forest.
We camp when we finally manage to get again close to the stream.
The camp in the morning.
At the dawn about 60 boars ran down in the valley just behind our camp: I've never seen so may, it reminded me the Princess Mononoke film!
I didn't sleep in the tent: I put my sleeping-bag outside to enjoy the the forest at night and the stars among the leaves.
Conillo: "This is actually my camp: look who's in the sleeping-bag!"
We find an unmarked trail, but this time we are looking for a real marked one: we are expecting to get it at altitude 1350 m. close to a waterfall.
Here it is the waterfall, and also the trail is there, perfect!
David on a slipway.
Conillo: "There are many magic dens to explore, in this forest!
This, for instance, is really a beautiful sprite's house!"
Along the way.
I'm always the last one.
Nice waterfall, isn't it?
Yes, but there's something wrong: this waterfall in on the map and we are actually only 200 metres faraway from where we camped!
How is it possible that we left our trail and got onto this secondary one, without even noticing the fork?
The trail crosses an area half kilometre long out of the forest: once it probably was a meadow, but now it is an impenetrable bushland full of stingy junipers!
We struggle there for a long time. Fortunately there are at least some raspberries to comfort us.
In the forest again, the trail is there.
The only time that we decide to follow a trail ...it is the trail that deserts us! Funny, isn't it?
Out of the forest we find a shepherd lodge.
The shepherd and his friends have just finished to eat a lot of mushrooms. They offer us a coffee and some fresh ricotta. Thank you guys!
Leaving the shepherd lodge.
Tordino's valley: we saw it form the top of the Mout Gorzano, and now we are there.
Our trekking is close to its end, but also the weather is changing fast: some clouds have just swallowed the Gransasso and are now running toward us.
Clouds are coming!
David uses his magic against the clouds, but manages only to bend the trees.
Rossella drinks in a much more elegant way.
Blub, swallowed by the clouds.
Forest in the clouds: yes, it's almost dark!
Conillo asked me to take this photo: he says that it shows the path to the elves' valley!
On the way back.
And here it is our car!
Rossella is particularly happy because she was worried that we could miss it :-)