Saturday, 3 September 2016
Friday 2 September 2016 - GEA - Lago Santo Modenese to Passo delle Radici
1000 metres ascent
6 hours 30 mins
NB Distance and ascent are as per ViewRanger (ascent figures may be generous if it's anything like Anquet) and times include breaks.
Thanks for your comments. I'm not replying individually because I've a limited data allowance and Android also annoyingly sends two copies of every comment. Conrad spotted a 'lurker', probably somebody doing something no more suspicious than stripping a bush of raspberries.
It was another 'blue sky' start, with bits of cloud developing during the day, but no threat of rain. (Ie same as yesterday). Except that after we arrived around 3.30 pm there were several claps of thunder and bright flashes, reminding us that storms can develop very quickly in the mountains.
Rifugio Giovo was fine, but our most expensive accommodation yet at €64 each for half board, a round of beers, a litre of wine, a pot of tea and some bread and cheese and salami for today's lunch.
After watching a heron float lazily over the lake where lots of fish were jumping last night, we got away soon after 9 am and spent the first few hours leapfrogging the Belgians before eventually leaving them to enjoy an early lunch.
Today's easy paths were an absolute delight. We started with a gentle ascent through woodland then over open ground with fine views to the Alpi Apuane - clearer this morning - to reach Colle Bruciata and a pow wow with Yves and Michel (now correctly spelt).
There was a familiar whiff in the air here, and we soon spotted a large herd of goats on a nearby hillside. We also saw sheep today, hemmed into a small pen in the forest. Graham startled a snake that slithered quickly into the undergrowth, and I startled a rabbit that hopped nonchalantly away.
From Colle Bruciata, Graham went over a minor summit, Cima dell'Omo, whilst the rest of us took a superb balcony path. At a panoramic corner Yves took the phone and Michel substituted for Graham in today's picture.
The route continued in the same vein for the rest of the day, switchbacking beneath a soaring eagle along the roller-coaster crest of the Apennines, dipping occasionally in and out of woodland. T-shirts and shorts were again the preferred attire. The sun tan cream is taking a bashing and Sue and I haven't needed our waterproofs at all.
We left the Belgians to descend to San Pellegrino, and continued on to reach 'Old style Hotel Lunardi' at Passo delle Radici soon after 3.30 pm. The rooms are comfortable, with added en-suite facilities in the corner that could be described as bijou. There's no wifi (again - there was none last night) and a stalwart band of elderly staff are striving to provide a meal for us at 7.30.
We met just a handful of people today, and we may be the only guests at this 29 room hotel.
Later: I think we are the only guests though there was one other diner. Tonight's four course meal was the best yet - thick soup, tagliatelle with mushrooms, sausage and veal with chips, fried polenta and mixed salad, followed by bilberry cake. All very tasty, but we are stuffed.