Saturday, July 30, 2016
Stumbling into Ancient Trees and New Friends along St-Francis-Way
We wake up by a lake at Lago di Piediculo and take run into our friends in Scotland – Sophia and Danny. They suggest we take the West Highway Way on one of these trips. They are the only other hikers we’ve gotten to know along the route. We’ll see them on the way.
So we take a detour to La Croce. It’s a lovely Monday morning. I run into a silk worm in the woods. Come everyone. Come say hello.
It’s a silk worm, I explain. As lovely as the waterfalls yesterday.
Yea right, everyone says.
Every day a different one of us has a challenge walking.
Today, the little one is having a hard time.
But mom helps her come around and they walk together.
“This is the best day of my life. All my life I’ll always keep on walking…” Caroline followed.
So we hike up and up and up and up and up. Apparently, there is a tree where St Frances once found himself sitting, that offered him cover from a storm. Legend has it that it took care of St Frances. Today a thousand-year-old birch tree that he might have actually known is on the way.
We hike there and greet the old beauty.
I love these trees and the stories that grow from them. This is a huge part of the way, developing a closer relationship with the animals, the geese, the trees, the bugs we meet as well as the people on the way.
So we hike, past a field of thistle.
The trail is supposed to be there.
Its not there. Its not here.
The trail is nowhere.
“Its really not here.”
“The GPS says it is here.”
“But there is nothing here. It would be better marked.”
“Ben, is that you?” I hear a voice scream, from what sounds like the streets. “Its Sophia!”
“Yes, where are you?”
The four of us would hike the rest of the day together, all the way to the next town, where we stayed, drank a bit at the bar, and ate an incredible meal, overlooking the valley as the sun went down.
It was the kind of meal we could only get in Italy.
We’d hike through the next morning before they peeled off, far too fast for us.
The beauty of the small towns is stunning.
In the end we walked 13 miles today, around 18 k. 395 up 745 meters down.
And by the time we got to the room, we were slammed.
So we relaxed and fell into a pattern in which we walked, took breaks, relaxed, hiked some more, walked through the pain, kept on walking all week, day after day, hike after hike, chat after chat, step after step, meal after meal. Over the next few blurred days, we’d wander from Piediculo, to Poggio Bustone, where we traveled to the bar with our new friends, and had our best meal of the trip sitting outside at Osteria L’Antico Archo Enoteca, looking at the ancient town as we ordered rounds of food and wine.
The next day we’d wander to San Lorenzo, where we’d stay at a small country inn with only two other guests, our new friends, at Santa Giusta Agriturismo. We met our friends when we arrived. They were chilling after arriving two hours earlier. We all sat for a beer, cooling the pain of the throbbing muscles. The pains of the road are significant, so we need something to help us forget them for a while as the beauty surrounds us. Geese greeted us on our arrival, saying goodnight, and goodbye the next day. Caroline says they are my spirit animal. I adore them. The country inn here offered a lovely meal, majestic vistas, a terrapin to say hello and a swing for the kids to play on.
The camera cannot come close to approximating these views we saw. But here are a few pictures from the way.