Postassieve to Consuma
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
For today’s outing, our itinerary briefly notes a constant uphill track that takes us from vineyards into the trees and for about the next five days, the forest will be our setting! Most of of us have been so looking forward to getting into the woods for the beauty and serenity – and now after two days of intense sun with little shade – for the reprieve! Today’s climb was to the top of a saddle of mountains that separate two sections of the Arno river. The day’s mileage was projected to be 18.9 kilometers or 11.7 miles.
Alas, about 2/3 of today’s walk was on pavement, yet the spectacular views over vineyards to the first reaches of the Casentino National Forest was truly a satisfying offset! We are heralded with the vision of trekking through forests to the green mountains of the Central Appenine range, so trusting all and all (including a selective memory) we will conclude this as an enjoyable stage.
Well No Kidding this was a CONSTANT UPHILL TRACK!!?!! I’ve walked many a steep, difficult and long hill, sometimes for over two miles and more than a couple of hours. Today was BRUTAL!! Hardly a handful of flat track intervals and though we had pleasant temperatures in the low 70’s and lovely cloud cover for the first hour, a considerable part of the day was exposed in very hot sun again to nearly 90°! We did break the morning up by stopping under a shaded structure with a view of a sprawling wine estate for nearly a half hour, meeting up with a friendly band of Norwegian trekkers.
We enjoyed their company again at our next stop for snacks and refreshments at a bed and breakfast restaurant where we hung out for at least another half hour. At the first rest stop I pulled out Sandy‘s guidebook for Show and Tell as I wanted them to be aware that they were in the presence of an author – Sandy is so humble!! They dug into the book since they had nothing so informative as that to guide them! Ultimately, it was a very hard decision to part with it, but I decided to give my copy of the book to them. So at the second meet up, one of the guys asked for my email address. I like to think that I now have a connection in Norway for perhaps a future trek on The Way of Saint Olav!! We continued to make our way up, Up, and UP, ultimately upon a “short cut” even previously untraversed by Giovani or Sandy – until we arrived at the back entrance to
Santa Maria di Farrano.
Arrangements for a specially prepared lunch had been made with the current owner, Father Thomas, who is slowly restoring the centuries old Romanesque church on this premises. We had pasta and bread and some yummy sliced cheeses. I was admonished a bit with today’s blog title at this point for taking only a small portion. It is true, pasta is an important offering here in Italy!
By the time lunch was over it was 3:00 with another five miles of all uphill. At least 1,000 of the 3,542 elevation gain remained. I made another extremely difficult decision – considerably harder than giving away the guidebook earlier in the day. We had a choice of hopping on the van at this point and being transported to our accommodations, or going on. I hate to admit that I chose to go in the van…. Not because I felt wrecked – my body is still feeling good and though I don’t typically walk this late in the day, I felt pretty confident I was capable. I guess we’ll never know, because I took the ride. My reason boiling down to the lateness of the day I projected it would take the group to get in. I just really didn’t want to give up the tiny bit of cherished personal time I knew that I would have before our group dinner. I sill walked 11.1 miles (All Uphill) so I feel good about that.
And then dinner time got moved to 8:00, and I drew a line again!! I have uncomfortably resigned myself to a 7:00/7:30 dinner time given the circumstances – still late for me, Yes, I know Italians eat late as a rule, however, it’s also customary to walk around for another two hours and stay up until midnight! We are going to bed quite soon after eating to prepare for our next day of walking! I ended up getting a portion of the meal at 7:00 from the kitchen, and was in bed before our after dinner briefing commenced.
So okay, tomorrow is another day to better adjust to the “When in Rome” thing. Our phrase of the day from Sandy, “We floated in on rivers of sweat.”!!!