Monday, April 20, 2009

From Ballabio to Soldanella refuge through Val Grande

One of our favorite sources of information for hiking excursions is the Diska's, which accurately describes an impressive number of mountain hiking paths in our area. Also, for the excursion we made on Monday the 13th we referred to that website.

The path climbs Grignetta mount to a hundred+ year old refuge. Some maps, including Kompass n. 91, list the old name "rifugio Cavalletti" (Kompass n. 105 that overlap n. 91 on that area, instead the new name "Soldanella").

mount Grignetta; the glacier
that gives birth to Grigna river
Coming from Lecco by car we reach Ballabio after the new tunnel. At the roundabout, drive for Piani Resinelli, and following the main road you reach Ballabio Superiore. Here there is a little parking lot at left and the skinny road Via Grigna, that follows the homonymous stream, on the right. This is the starting point of the excursion. We left the car a little before.

The path begins on a carriage road open to local car traffic, but not far after a little bridge, it starts to climb on a path in the forest. Except for a couple of points it is easy to find the right way because at every fork or the wrong path, there is a clear marker pointing "piani Resinelli".

The first doubtful intersection is when you exit from the woods, where you'll find another carriage road. Here you must go left uphill. The road changes direction soon (because it is closed by a chain), and re-enters the woods on a steep slope at right. At a certain point the vegetation starts to thin away and you reach a meadow where you can enjoy a scenic landscape both at right and left.
This is the second doubtful point. After the meadow we reached a mountain house, where we asked for directions. Maddie made friends with their dog. Mr. Bentley barked to the "enemies" that didn't belong to his pack. The lady indicated the refuge, a white house that looked very close (but sometimes what you see is not what you get!). The lady explained the path for us, but she forgot one fork, where we decided to go left, passing next to a scenic waterfall (the other option looked like connecting to our choice a little above).
After the waterfall, the path goes to a steep slope and asks for one last effort. That's the strain of the first excursion of the season! Finally we reached the top next to a villa where four young people were enjoying a rest, shattering the peace of the mountain with loud music. We asked a confirmation on directions.

Just after the villa we were surprised to notice around us a place crowded enough that can also be reached by car (Piani Resinelli). Here i managed in hiding myself from a particularly sassy female colleague that i see refreshed and rested coming out from a car with some friends, all well dressed with designer hiking boots, clothes and backpack. Fortunately they didn't stop at the refuge! At the refuge we rested with a good bottle of water and a plate of cured meats.

The excursion doesn't have any particular difficulty, if not for the fact we were coming from months of lacking physical exercise. This past winter in fact, the weather was so ugly we were not able to make any true excursions on the snow.

The return was definitely easier.
GPS track record:
A: start point; B: waterfall; C: refuge
  • Time: 2:30
  • Distance: 4.04km [2.5mi]
  • Difference of level: 645m [2116'] (659m [2162'] uphill and 14m [46'] downhill)
  • Altitude: 715m [2346'] to 1359m [4787']

  • Backward (on the same path):
  • Time: 1:53
  • Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Earthquake in Abruzzo region

    I am not very good in speaking about a tragedy like that, without falling in any banal rethoric. I limit myself to notice that once again Italian news, involved in politics of any side, gave a bad image of theirselves, building a truth that "the master" likes although not very reliable. I prefer to trust in the direct words of my blog-friend Anna, who in this tragedy lost everything except, fortunately, life and health of hers and her family.