Friday, January 11, 2008

Hiking Italia without hassles: it's all in the details

Whewf! And this wraps up the week in hiking entries as I am finally, and thankfully, caught up with images and trip notes. Honestly, it takes a heck of a lot more effort to put together a comprehensive outdoor post than it is to blurb food or produce Maddie videos.

Of course if the sun comes out on Sunday, we are sure to be hitting the trails again.

But getting back to the subject in question, I realized there needs to be some clarification on the excursions that we do, specifically on the level of difficulty and altitude, as it isn't always easy to determine if an itinerary is suitable to your level of fitness. That said, here are the determining factors on the sentieri (paths) that we select:

Total time involved going and heading back. [No more than 5 hours]
Difference in ascent and descent. [500 meters or 1640 feet, give or take a hundred]
Altitude. [No higher than 2500 meters or 8200+ feet]
Difficulty. [Easy/medium - no rock climbing, ladders or swinging bridges]

Another factor is the dog. She has her limits! We take care in not overextending the hike if the terrain is rough gravel, asphalt, or if we're in extreme weather like ice and snow. Her paws have cracked and bled a little from overexposure. She never complains, but like any worrisome doggie mama, I pick her up for a free ride.

Plans for the year include expanding outings to the province of Bergamo, picking up a telephoto lens for wildlife photography, and perhaps even scheduling an entire week in the wild, traveling from mountain hut to mountain hut by foot. The following links are two of my favorite hiking sites. Both in italian, even if there is a small english section in the second (mainly on the Spluga area of Switzerland).

Pieroweb Valle Brembana - for images, click ULTIME FOTO or LA TUA FOTO
Diska's Photos - this outdoor enthusiast is my hero!

On a final note, even if it would never cross your mind to park in the handicap zone, italian signs go the extra mile in making a not so subtle point. It says...

"YOU WANT MY SPOT? Take my Handicap"