Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hiking Abruzzo: Pacentro -> Castrovalva

It's a rainy day.

We start in the rain and opt for the bus down to Sulmona to avoid the last part of the trip down: 30 minutes on road. Road is bad, rain is bad, rainy road is bad^2. Adventurous bus ride down the hill with half the village gossiping away in the bus. In Sulmona we buy some bread for lunches and then head out on our way. It's raining and we're walking along the main road. Greg, of course, manages to get splashed by passing cars twice (see? bad^2) before we turn off onto a side road. Along we go for a bit and then onto an unpaved portion. Shoes and pants are soaked within seconds. The rain from above comes and goes, but the bottom half remains wet. Very wet.
through very wet fields...
Plenty of what would normally be good walking, but it is somewhat marred by the weather. It's definitely not boring: you get to spend lots of time dodging puddles or overhanging branches. luckily not too much mud. By the time we get to Bugnara we've both kind of had enough, but the bus stop has no schedule and the buses don't go the right way anyway and the next train is in three hourse. The waiting room at the train station is open, so we get out of the rain, take off our boots, ring out our socks (!) and have an energy bar break. The break in a dry place does wonders for our morale and we set back out after 15 or 20 minutes of rest.

More following Hennig's great directions, more nice paths/farm roads, a couple minutes of very unexpected sun, along we go beside a stream turned rushing river (lucky no stream fording today), up the valley, across a dam, lunch break standing during a pause in the rain, onward and upward until we reach Anversa. Quick break in the main piazza (alive! people sitting outside under umbrellas at the bars), then head back down into the valley and along a marked trail up the other side. After a bit we spot a young wild pig, then big mamma, then several more young ones. We spend the next few minutes being noisy as we climb, singing the "I don't want to meet a pig on this path" song. After a bit, the path steepens ans now it is muddy. Slow going. At some point the path flattens out and we spend a bit of time in a cut for a gas line. Here's it's super muddy with lots of clay. Sticky! Icky! Clay! Onward through the woods until we reach Castrovalva, find the agriturismo, call for the keys, shower, clean socks, and being some serious boot drying strategies.

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