Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Monday, 6 July 2009

Sunday 5 July 2009 - Day 1 - Limone to Pian delle Gorre

First - congratulations 'Anonymous', your observations about last night's restaurant are spot on - confirmed by its 'Coach and Horses' logo.

Our other readers seem to be wisely silent or, like us, away enjoying new adventures and only an occasional signal.

The Touring Hotel was friendly and fine, if a little pricey at €45 pp for B+B, and just a bit noisy at 2-3 am when the nearby Irish bar 'chucked out'.

Luckily the 'Vespa Club of Torino', who had earlier filled the town with 2-stroke fumes, had either left town or gone to bed early.

Today's path took us from Limone to the route of the 'Giro del Marguareis' - a short trek that very few English will have heard of, but one that passes through fine country and will link us with sections of the GTA (Grande Traversata delle Alpi) for the final few days of this biennial 'Famous Five' trip.

We travel light and use Rifugios. It's very relaxing. For the rest of the trip I'll be even lighter, as my walking poles disappeared during the course of the day. A shame, as they were my 14 year old original Leki poles, bought to provide support pending an ACL replacement. They, like my knees, have been through a lot.

So, this morning we headed out of Limone on paths not described in any guidebook and marked only vaguely on our 1:50000 map. We were pleasantly surprised as the good path wound gently up the hillside through lovely old woodland towards Colle Almellina, 500 metres above Limone.

On the way we paused at a bench overlooking Limone, causing a friendly man with a small friendly dog (all Italians and their dogs appear friendly) to have to queue to sit down to read his paper. "That's a long way" he remarked, when we told him where we were heading for.

Above the colle a vague but waymarked path led directly below a floating eagle and past skipping chamois towards Colla del Vaccarile, below which we stopped for a long lunch whilst several of the party, unused to being at an altitude of 2000 metres, were glad of the hour they were allowed, to recover their breath in the oxygen deprived environment (or so they claimed).

We descended past marmosettes into cloud that had been building on this fairly humid day. The path was vague and no longer waymarked. The loss of my poles was discovered. I returned rather energetically to our lunch spot. Some re-ascent was involved. No poles. Hey ho. The others waited patiently in their cloud. I returned. We continued to fumble our way down the hillside, encountering shepherds' huts marked on the map, and paths that were not so well recorded.

The views cleared. The flowers continued to delight (most of) us. We entered more lovely woodland and passed a roaring waterfall before emerging at Rivendell, a lovely grassy area thronged with Sunday picnickers from Cuneo, with this delightful rifugio (pictured) at one end of the meadow.

It came on to rain (it's for the heat - as Showell Styles used to accurately observe) but we didn't mind, we were happy with our beers, and later with an excellent four course meal involving polenta, beef, sausage, chicken, salad, cheese, parma ham and tarte tatin for pudding. There was a fine veggie option for Jenny that arrived on time - the Sport Hotel in Arabba could learn a thing or two from this friendly establishment when it comes to dealing with vegetarians!

Thoroughly satiated in almost every way from the day's activities, we adjourned early but happy to our en-suite room for five people.

There are just 8 people staying here, the 5 of us, 2 Germans who are looking at us very quizzically, and a lone elderly gent. It's all very pleasant, and much quieter than the GR5, our original plan for this trip.

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Alan Sloman said...

It all sounds totally idyllic Martin. What's with the quizzical Germans then?

What are they interested in?

Candace said...

I am enjoing reading your blog! May I ask how much walking you have done in Italy? Can't wait to read more! Candace

Phreerunner said...

Quite a lot actually - check the labels - 'Dolomites', 'Italian Border Route'.

Candace J. Angove said...

I have now had a good squiz around your archive list! How wonderful!
I am an intrepid bushwalker from Australia who has been living in Italy 5 years. My Husband isn't a big walker and the last 4 years have seen smaller minimal fuss trips with our baby ( now 4 ) daughter. I have lacked alot of confidence to go out on my own, and thus have been restricted to local walks or day trips in my local area. Mon Gioie is a favourite of mine as it is only 50 minutes in my Fiat 500 from my house to Viozene! I hope you liked it up there. It is a special place for me and I revisit it frequently, with my now 20 kilo daughter still wanting a piggy back on the child carrier in the steep sections! (I walked my friends up there for my recent 30th birthday with 10 kids under 8. We had a lovely jaunt and the kids still played in the patchs of snow that remained. Lunch is always good up there too). Absolutely love the Blog on the Italian Border Route which I read in its entirity. Spectacular! Would love to do another long walk oneday... Perhaps next spring. Sorry for taking up so much space on your comments page, I just wanted to get better acquainted as I wll be keen to regularly read your blog. Thanks for the inspiration and the know how. Regards, Candace

Phreerunner said...

Thank you Candace. I don't mind at all that you made such a long comment. One of the reasons for doing the blog - apart from self-indulgence - is to perhaps inspire others to gain pleasure from independent visits to the hills. The 'Italian Border Route', as you probably realise, was much tougher than the fairly easy and short journey we enjoyed this month.
You are very lucky to live so near to such beautiful and varied countryside. Have you tried to identify the wild flowers? - that may be a great way to help you walk at your daughter's speed when she gets too heavy for the backpack.
We return to the Alps at the end of August for a couple of weeks, but we aren't yet sure what we are doing as Sue is unable to carry a heavy rucksack at present.
Have fun.
Best wishes

Candace J. Angove said...

Thanks for the note Martin!

The IBR certainly sounded a challenging adventure, and I did note the difference in pace, distance and altitude. For me at least, long trips also have the added psychological challenge, Although from your blog it seemed for you all was a walk in the park! hahaha.

That is wonderful suggestion to take up wildflower identification with my daughter. Do you have a guide book suggestion? Despite knowing Italian, I would prefer a book in English... Hmm, perhaps amazon can help me.

I hope your walking companion is feeling better, and you both enjoy your next adventure here in Italy, or where ever you land.
Looking forward to a good read.

Phreerunner said...

Candace, the guide book we use is 'The Alpine Flowers of Britain and Europe', by Christopher Grey-Wilson and Marjorie Blamey. It's currently out of print, and prices on the internet vary tremendously.
If you send me your email address - use the contact button on - I'll let you know if I find or spot one. (I recently found one in the USA for £5 and ordered it for a friend).
Good luck

Candace J. Angove said...

Very kind of you to offer!

p.s has a destination presented its self for August?

Phreerunner said...

No, the next trip will be planned last minute (based on flights booked to Geneva) depending on Sue's fitness. Alta Via 2 in the Dolomites is a possibility.