June 2nd, 2009.
To tell the truth, R. was not frightened at all. Grandpa waves wishing us a good hike. We won't meet any terrible monster (anyway, what's wrong with biscie?). Later we will laugh for his thoughtful suggestions.
Unfortunately Maddie recently broke a crossed ligament and that day she was waiting for the operation. Now she is recuperating and, even if everything will be ok, she still has to wait few months before she'll be able to hike again. Thus, this time she stayed home, and Mr. Bentley decided the same for keeping her company. Good thing, since in some points the path would have been impassable for them.
Entering via dell'Acqua Bianca you can find the first signs, with trail marker n. 15B pointing
The hardest part of the climb is when we arrived to the bottom of the wonderful waterfall Cascata di Era. The path is very steep, the top of the cascade, where path n. 15B ends up crossing with n. 15.
Going right from here, within another fifteen minutes we could go to Alpe di Era (mountain farmhouses) where there is also a small chapel. We cut this part and went back to Somana following the yellow dots along path n. 15. This part of the excursion, more flat, is much easier than the outward. This path dominates, on one side, the canyon where the river flows, and in some points it is possible to see the path 15B we covered before, much lower on the other side.
After a quick visit to the cool interior of the church we restart our hike. The last part is a very long descent on irregular steps, marked at intervals by the stations of the Way of the Cross (that, going down, we cover backwards). The path terminates on the main road, at one hairpin bend after the crossing with via dell'Acqua Bianca.
The excursion, although long and hard, doesn't have insuperable difficulties, apart the small tracts with chains. The 15B is anyway labeled with a double E (Expert Excursionists). Since the river can have sudden floods, it is not advisable if there is the risk of rain. Because of the frequent fords (we got water till the ankles) it is suggested to wear waterproof hiking boots.
Distance: 15.5km [9.63mi]
Difference of level: 591m [1939'] (1146m [3760'] uphill and 555m [1821']
Altitude: from 343m [1125'] to 934m [3064']
Distance: 8.16km [5.07mi]
Difference of level: -591m [-1939'] (214m [702'] uphill and 805m [2641']
Altitude: from 934m [3064'] to 343m [1125']
In red the outward on path n. 15B, in yellow the backward on n. 15.
A: parking lot; B-C: Era waterfall; D: chapel-refreshment
Cumulative statistics of the 5 excursions from the beginning of this year:
Total time: 16:31
Distance: 58.39km [36.28mi]
Difference of level: 3646m [11962']
Minimum altitude: 343m [1125']
Maximum altitude: 1550m [5085']