Thursday, July 8, 2010

Refuge Martina - Mount San Primo

June 27, 2010.

The path we will have to hike
in the return, seen from the summit
of mount San Primo
It looks like it's going to be a hot day, so we decide to leave early.
On the road that connects Erba and Como from Lecco there's a detour to the right towards Canzo. This is a beautiful scenic road that leads to the famous town of Bellagio, cutting through the Triangolo Lariano in the middle. After Canzo, at Asso you must go straight and ignore the signs to Bellagio (which takes you back to the coastal lakeside route). This road is famous for cyclists (in fact we encountered a lot of them). Soon there is the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel, dedicated to the memory of Fausto Coppi (a famous champion cyclist of the 40s and 50s), and, right there, the Museum of the bicycle. Just at that point there is a road to the left, which clings, with a lot of bends, to the mountain. The drive ends with a stretch of dirt road, in San Primo, where a disused hotel (I wonder why never restored ... it is beautiful!), and eventually a parking lot. A bar indicates that access is allowed only by foot. Following the signs to the refuge Martina is the main road and then a detour to the left. It takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the refuge, uphill, but not difficult. Almost all the hikers stop here: actually it looks like a very welcoming place. But our destination is the summit of Mount San Primo. Behind the hut, in fact, the trail branches off and the descent begins!

The same trail, just after hiked
The path becomes increasingly difficult, so that in some places we have to hold onto rocks or trees. Maddie and Mr. Bentley needed some help to overcome particularly steep sections. It's hot and rather humid, the flies stick to sweaty skin every time you stop to breath. But the place is beautiful, the trail cuts through the woods and the birds singing keeps us constant companionship. Mr. Bentley misses his pillow while Maddie is looking forward to see what will come next. We met some other hikers, even a couple of cyclists coming down in the opposite direction with the bike on their shoulders (crazy!). We ask them for information and they confirm that the path on the opposite side, is definitely easier (they have done uphill biking).
Finally, after almost two hours, the forest suddenly opens and the top is at hand. There is a votive cross and a big antenna, powered by solar panels.
Two paths branch off from the top, on the crest, one at right, towards northwest, one on the left, to the southeast. Unfortunately the weather is not very good. No rain, but it is very muggy, and the lake cannot be seen. There is supposed to be be a rather nice view of the split between the Lecco and the Como branches, where Bellagio is.
We take a left. A little further down we stop to quickly eat a sandwich. The descent is much less steep and easier than the climb, but it is also much longer. At some point we find a marker that indicates the path Sentiero Italia #1. We follow that which takes us through woods and pastures, down to a farm. From here you take the paved road that leads down to where the disused hotel is.
  • Time: 1:59
  • Distance: 4.62km [2.87mi]
  • Difference of level: 562m [1844ft] (578m [1896ft] uphill, 16m [52ft] downhill)
  • Altitude: 1151m [1077ft] to 1568m [1678ft]
  • Time: 2:50 (including a 20 minutes stop for lunch)
  • Distance: 6.48km [4.03mi]
  • Difference of level: 562m [1844ft] (47m [154ft] uphill, 609m [1998ft] downhill)
  • Altitude: 1678m [5505ft] to 1116m [3661ft]
GPS track of the excursion.
In red the ascent, in yellow the descent: A: Parking lot; B: Refuge Martina; C: Summit of mount San Primo; D: Lunch stop; E: Intersection with Sentiero Italia #1; F: Farm house; G: Disused hotel.

No comments: