1st August: The Casolari dell’Herbetet traverse 2656m

Another stunning walk with all the attributes of yesterdays’s on a much grander scale.

We set off early knowing this walk would take about 7 and a half hours and it was going to be another hot day. The ascent was only partially shaded but I was quite pleased that I didn’t struggle too much and we soon overtook all the people who had set off at the same time as us (having just got off the bus) and we pretty much had the path to ourselves.

After about 2 hours of climbing we reached Rifugio Vittoria Sella at 2584m and stopped for a small beer and a piece of fruits of the forest tart. John asked about rooms because he fancies a trip back here next summer to do the 12 day Alta Via 2 trek. The scenery is just amazing and everywhere is so peaceful compared with other mountain ranges we’ve walked in. We’ve hardly seen anybody again today, particularly once we left the refuge

The next stage of the walk was a traverse at 2500m, high above the valley floor. The path was narrow in places, but not too scary. The views of the snow covered mountains (including Gran Paradiso, Italy’s highest mountain at over 4000m) were breathtaking, as were the many waterfalls tumbling from their heights; and once again the hillsides were covered in colourful flowers and butterflies.

In a few more hours we finally reached the end of the traverse. We were still high above the valley floor and couldn’t see how we’d get to the bottom as the valley side was so steep. The path curved backwards and forwards between the high rocks and we finally reached the river. It was really hot now and I was pleased to take my boots off and paddle to cool down.

The last couple of hours beside the foaming waters of the river in the valley bottom seemed to go on forever. Just as I was starting to complain, the village came into sight and we were soon sitting in a cool bar with a bowl of ice cream. Italian ice cream is becoming an addiction!

Tonight we’re going out for dinner, and tomorrow we’re having a lazy day. I think we deserve it 🙂 x

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