Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Valle del Fiastrone, Gola e Lago di Fiastra; the valley, canyon and lake Fiastra


Here is a nice, shaded hike below Lake Fiastra starting at Monastero at the cemetery.  One can visit the canyon dug by the river over millions of year and walk through the water between the tall rock walls and also visit the Grotta dei Frati or cave of the monks where they lived in this hermitage ages ago.  The entire hike took us about 2 and a half hours on a beautiful August day and you will see only few others.  As you see above, you must walk, crawl or climb across the river several times as you make your way upstream.  Waterproof boots or sandals are useful.  I used walking poles and crossed on rocks while Maryse took to the fallen trees to make her way from one side to the other.

After a 30 minutes walk mostly downhill from the cemetery, you reach the river where the path splits; to the left for the canyon and to the right for the Grotta.  Both paths are well marked.

Here one sees the shear walls and they get even taller, although at some point you have to decide whether you want to get wet above your knees to continue or turn around.

Bacco loves the water

Imressive stone walls on both sides dwarf Maryse

Here's where we turned around.

A view back to the canyon from near the Grotta

In the grotto you will find a statue of St. Francis and his prayer on the altar, a huge cistern and sleeping area.

Upstream you find lake Fiastra, beautiful with its turquoise waters

View for an overlook on the north side of the lake

Unfortunately, the lookout has also served as a "lover's leap" and there is no way you would survive this fall.  The dam is to the far left.

This view is from just below the scenic overlook.  You can swim, kayak, picnic at the lake which is really worth a visit.  In Autumn, the trees in the canyon are spectacular.  

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Mt. Priora, Tre Vescovi and Pizzo Berro hikes/2014

You can look back to July 2012 on my blog and find a similar post, but I thought it was time to update this great hike.  The longest part is the drive from Nascondiglio di Bacco and back to the rifugio di Fargno above the town of Casali (or Bolognola); start early and finish at lunch time and you can eat in this "bunker" at 1900 meters above the tree line.  Try and arrive early to avoid any crowds, I started at 810 from the refuge and was the only person on the top of the first 2 peaks.
From the refuge, I recommend taking the left fork at the base of Tre Vescovi, skirting and climbing its north side. This protects you from the early morning winds which in my 2 hikes have been fairly strong, but abate after 930 or so.  This is an easy climb to just above 2,000 meters and took me 35 minutes.  After a short stop for photos with Bacco and the surroundings, we descended to the saddle separating Tre Vescovi from Pizzo Berro.  Arriving at another fork on the east flank of Pizzo, I take the left turn to scale Priora first because it is a bit higher and longer.  The mountain flowers here are fantastic especially in late July and early August.  We topped Priora, the 2nd tallest of the Sibillinis in about 90 minutes and I enjoyed the views of Val d'Ambro and Gola dell'Infernaccio from the top.  Descending along the crest you come back to the crest of Pizzo Berro and a 50 minute hike from peak to peak got us to the top.  This is fairly steep and I would prefer to climb this than descend it (which is what the guide book describes).  More great views await of the Mt. Bove trio and into Umbria, Lazio and Abruzzo and then 45-50 minutes got us to our lunch date at Rifugio di Fargno where I had a nice plate of penne pasta with 10 herbs and a couple of bruschetta.  4 hours and 20 minutes total time with 40 minutes of r&r on the peaks, so the hiking part was 3 hours and 40 minutes.  Everyone's pace is different and the book says to allow 4.5-6 hours for the hike.  Enjoy!
 View from my parking spot showing Tre Vescovi on the left and Pizzo Berro on the right
 One of the few signs in the Sibillini mountains although the trails are easy to follow.
 Atop Tre Vescovi looking towards Mt. Bove Nord to the left of the cross
 The saddle between Pizzo Berro and Priora
 Atop Mt Priora, windy and chilly, but with great views 360 degrees
We wrote on names in the log book, one of only a few in these mountains
Some of the beautiful mountain flowers near the trail

4 legs is always faster than 2 legs; Bacco waiting for me on the steep inline up Pizzo Berro

Atop Pizzo Berro looking towards Mt. Priora

The view east from the descending trail

Bacco living on the edge looking towards the Bove circuit to the west

The "bunker" where we will have lunch, rifugio di Fargno

We got lucky and there were still blooms near Castelluccio on the drive back