Monte San Primo. Agile hikers aren't the only ones to climb up here in summer because the tell-tale aroma of ovine and caprine droppings invaded our nostrils long before reaching the top. Our intent was to go up then return on the mainly forested trail (right side of photo) that commences behind Rifugio Martina, but the ascent is so steep (average 14% grade) that I wasn't too keen on going back down through the bug-infested environment again. The top photo was taken looking back at S. Primo as we descended to connect with sentiero 1 and continue on a loop trail to the starting point. For those who may have ended up here for trails near Bellagio, take a look at this site to see what the fuss is all about and tell me that ain't gorgeous (scroll to bottom). Unfortunately, it was a hazy experience for us this past Sunday and thus the wait continues until a clear weekend comes along. In the meantime I've set our hiking goals to explore more of the area that is just 30 minutes drive from Bellagio (lightened square in the photo below).
Rifugio Martina to Monte San Primo - nearly 600 meters straight up
It is supposed to take only 60 minutes but whoever calculated that figure must one of the ungulati (hooved ones). We slowly made our way in an hour and 45 minutes in the humidity and I advise sturdy boots/shoes and even hiking poles for this trail. It almost felt like a hike in a tropical forest with all that foliage scratching across my legs, plus you can't see the very peak and just keep trudging along, expecting to get above the treeline any minute. Avoid it if there has been recent rains because it will be muddy and slippery.
View enlarged map (A = Monte San Primo)
All pain and no gain is plain rubbish in my book and we try to end a day of hiking with a reward of gelato. Eupili Cafè (Via Mazzini, 68 in Pusiano) has some of the best gelato that I've ever devoured and the guy behind the counter has always been great to give us little taste samples. Here: fragola (strawberry), pistacchio and fiori di sambuco (elderflower).