Plan: Rif Patrick Gambino to Biv Testa d'Alpe - 24 km, 1750 metres ascent, 9 hours (note adjustment from spreadsheet, which missed a section!)
Actual: Camp by bijou Rifugio to Col Sgora - 1063 metres
18 km, 1300 metres ascent 9.5 hours including 1.5 hours breaks.
Best bit: Cool tranquillity outside Rifugio this morning.
Everything is very green here, at a time when it's normally brown, according to Luca, the guardian at Rif P Gambino. He told us the weather had been really bad until a week ago, when the sun had come out.
The sun blazed on us today.
This morning's mainly downhill route (back down to 140 metres) passed through 3 lovely Italian villages. First we met a friendly Swedish family at the café in Olivetta, then we reached Fanghetto by a rough path not on our French map. Seemingly passing through a catacomb under this village an excellent balcony path led to the pretty and well serviced village of Airole, where we enjoyed an alfresco lunch in the cool square.
Our afternoon's route lay steeply up a donkey track from the square at 140 metres, to a broad ridge at 1100 metres before dropping to Col Sgora, where at 5 pm we were pleased to find an unexpected water supply. In fact we were surprised to find Col Sgora, as it's marked in a different place on our map.
We saw no other hikers this afternoon. I wonder why? The temperature was 35C as we left the square, and we recorded 37C on the 1100 metre ridge. It was humid as well.
Quite hard work really, so what with my planning estimate cock-up we were glad to stop where we did.
Apart from the flies, that is. They had joined us on the ascent in ever increasing swarms and they spent the evening with us, only subsiding when the sun went down. But for them we would have had a lovely time on this grassy terrace with fine views east into Italy.
But the flies were debilitating and the tent, for a while, was like a sauna, so blogging not possible. Hence the delay in this transmission. Sorry!