Thursday, September 17, 2009

San Marco - Valcava

This excursion was quite obvious to find - for us. In fact it is enough to go out from the house and start walking uphill.
To reach the small village of Valcava at the top of the mountain, you can walk on the asphalted road, but this way is not that beautiful in the weekends because it is invaded by hordes of Milanesi cars.
There are several other hiking paths that reach the same destination, cutting across the hairpin bends or ascending next to them.

The first time we tried (August 17th), after a long time without any exercise, we and the dogs decided to turn back half way, tired for the lack of exercise and for the heat of the day. We walked on the paved road and it was easy enough, apart from the last kilometer where the slope is very steep (18%).

After a couple of weeks (September 5), back from the holidays, we tried the second part, parking the car exactly at the end of the previous time. This time we tried to avoid the paved road, in fact we found a nice hiking trail. This part was much more interesting, walking in the fields and the woods and

Stone wash-tub
checking out some views impossible to see driving a car. At a certain point, we found a crossing connecting some different paths where there is a stone wash-tub still in use.
At the top of this excursion we arrived to Valcava village, without reconnecting to the main road.

Last sunday (September 13) we tried the whole distance. To climb the mountain we walked exactly the same paths of both the previous excursions. To return back we tried to stay on the hiking trail. If the middle section is really steep on the road, it is even more on the path, and that, actually, is the only hard part of the whole excursion.
Unfortunately during the descent the battery of my GPS died. That's why we took a lot of time to notice that at a certain point we took the wrong way. The detour was about a couple of kilometers, but fortunately it was enough flat.

First hike
  • Time: 1:03
  • Distance: 3.95km [2.45mi]
  • Difference of level: 285m [935'] (302m [991'] uphill and 17m [56'] downhill)
  • Altitude: between 681m [2234'] and 1008m [3307']
  • Backward (on the same path)
  • Time: 1:01

  • Second hike
  • Time: 0:52
  • Distance: 2.73km [1.7mi]
  • Difference of level: 256m [840'] (266m [873'] uphill and 10m [33'] downhill)
  • Altitude: between 1000m [3281'] and 1266m [4154']
  • Backward (on the same path)
  • Time: 0:42

  • Third hike
  • Time: 1:59
  • Distance: 7.14km [4.44mi]
  • Difference of level: 585m [1919'] (612m [2008'] uphill and 27m [89'] downhill)
  • Altitude: between 681m [2234'] and 1266m [4154']
  • Backward (on the alternative path, about the same length and altitude)
  • Time: 2:00
  • GPS track of the excursions.
    A: start at San Marco; B: stone wash-tub; Z: end at Valcava
    In red the first excursion, in green the second. In blue the shortcuts on the hiking paths we made during the descent of the third excursion. In yellow the unwanted detour (the yellow and blue tracks were not recorded by the GPS but built on GoogleMap)
    Cumulative statistics from the beginning of this year
  • Total time: 26:33
  • Distance: 101.29km [62.94mi]
  • Difference of level: 5522m [18117']
  • Minimum altitude: 343m [1125']
  • Maximum altitude: 1550m [5085']
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