Thursday, 12 June 2014
The wild boar
This was the first morning of our walk and even though we would have preferred to have left earlier we decided to have breakfast that started at 7.30am. At eight we left the hotel after being waved off by the manager and set off for the long climb through Assisi . We stopped at the doors of the Basilica San Francesco so that our walk would be from St. Frances to St. Peter and then struggled up through Plaza Commune and eventually to Porto Cappuccini where we would leave Assisi and take to the National Trails that criss-cross through the Umbrian countryside. If this was to be a gentle walk through Italy then it had got off to a bad start with vertical walking and warm humid conditions. The walk along trail 50 was challenging both in its incline and also the under foot conditions. By the time we reached Santa dele Carceri we were near exhaustion. This was the hardest mornings climb I have ever done and was in its intensity brutal, just sheer climbing for three hours with nowhere to stop for a break. At the sanctuary Emilo we stopped for a break and enjoyed not only a life saving cup of strong coffee but also the company of a Dutch couple. It was difficult leaving the sanctuary, the thought of what lay ahead, the stiffness that had settled in, I could have stayed there but the journey had to continue. We had decided to make the mountain path climb to Monto Carceri and quite honestly the difficulty of the walk took away the beauty of the scenery. You were concentrating so much on your footing and your breathing that scenery was not important. At 1284 mts the ridge was reached and it was pleasant walking to M.Civitello at 1261 and here the scenery was spectacular. A lunch of energy bars, fruit and water sitting on top of the world is worth the agonies you go through to get there. The downhill paths that looked OK on the ordinance survey maps were anything but easy and as we stopped for a few seconds break we heard rustling in the bushes to our left. I tell you the sight of a wild boar just feet away soon made fatigue disappear and the sight of two Irish walkers running like f!!! down a path would have looked amusing if there had been anyone around to see it. The run didn't last long, fear or no fear. At path 54 we had to made a decision. The path was so rocky, narrow and with a vertical drop to your right we decided to turn back and take a longer path with a lesser descent. It really is a bit of roundabouts and swings. The longer path took longer and with the heat reaching 34 degrees we were glad to finally see the rooftops of Spello.