We have decided to keep the story of this hiking exactly as Alessio Massari, our friend and professional excursion guide from Abruzzo, sent it to us. It sounds like a detailed report of a beautiful day. Enjoy!
“…Today’s hiking is one of the most difficult of all on the Majella Range, we are heading to “Monte Amaro”. This is the highest peak of the Majella Range and the second highest, after Corno Grande, Gran Sasso, of all Appennini. Monte Amaro in Italian means Bitter Mountain and we learned that this name is very explicative of the fatigue and difficulties one encounters when trying to reach the top. It is therefore important to make this tour only if in perfect physical conditions, used to this type of excursions and always taken by a professional guide!
We leave from 4788 Ft of altitude, in “Località Lama Bianca”, where there is a sign to a fountain, “Fonte della Chiesa”. Here, after a short walk into a thick beech forest, we get to the fountain, a useful stop to fill up our water containers.
“Fonte della Chiesa” fountain
We keep walking over wide mountain pastures until we re-enter the beech forest . As we get out of it we see the so called “Rava del Ferro” easy to recognize for the red color of the soil.
“Rava del Ferro”, red soil in the distance
By “Rava” we mean a very sharp decline caused by millenniums of water flowing down to the valley. Looking up we see that our path almost disappears under the gravel of the ravine in a narrow corridor in between rocks. It is a very steep slope but we bravely decide to keep going.
Looking up at“Rava del ferro”
We stop often to recover energy and breath and to look at the stunning view behind and below us. Watching from here the Morrone Mountain, that initially almost faced us, becomes smaller and smaller and in the distance we can now admire the Gran Sasso peaks.
A view of the Morrone Mountain, down below, and the Gran Sasso range in the distance
Our attention is often caught by the unusual shape of some of the stones on our path. Watching them close we realize that they are sea fossils, small sea shells and fragments of corals. In fact, over a hundred million years ago, these mountains were submerged in a tropical ocean and, what today is the Majella Mountain, once was a a coral reef!. We finally get to a plateau where we eat a byte, to recover energies, and of course we watch the beautiful landscape in front of us.
A well deserved rest!
Back on track we walk for another hour until we finally reach “Piano Amaro”. It is a sort of highland with alpine meadows where we can admire a unique Apennine edelweiss. Finally after walking along a mountain crest we reach the Monte Amaro Peak.
We did it!!
Here Rifugio Pelino offers a shelter from the strong, perennial winds. There is no vegetation here, only a land of white stones shining under the beautiful sun that is up in the sky today. We are all intimidated by the majesty of the mountain but at the same time we are very proud to be here.
The Pelino Retreat on top of Monte Amaro
Up here we feel like touching the universe roof! Our view extends 360° well over the limits of our region, Abruzzo. We see Lazio Region from here and Molise and Marche to the North. Some say that, on clear days, it is possible to see the Croatian Coast, on the other side of the Adriatic Sea! We definitely see the entire Adriatic coast below us till Gargano Promontory to the South.
Monte Amaro faces the Adriatic Coast
It is already time to get back and to descend we decide to take another path and go via the “Rava della Vespa” that runs parallel to the “Rava del Ferro”. When we get to the edge of our descent track we realize that it is very, very steep so we decide to go down somehow helped by the flow of stones that as we walk fall down. However we have to be very careful as most of the stones are too big to let us slide safely on them and too small to be a support for the descent.
A challenging descent
We go down carefully and slowly and it takes about two hours to cover a height difference of over 2624 Ft. until we reah the end of the “Rava” and the beginning of a further slope, covered with grass, yet very difficult to walk on.
Wild horses we met on our way back
Finally we get back into the beech forest and back to “Fonte della Chiesa” where we started our day. It is the sunset, the mountain above us turns pink and then yellow until it gets dark. The moon is rising and by the time we reach our cars it is high in the sky illuminating the mountain with an unreal, beautiful light. We were up there just a while ago!
Monte Amaro illuminated by the rising moon
A fox looks like waiting for us in the dark! It is very common to see them in the National Park of Majella.
A fox waiting for us in the dark
The last emotion of the day is offered to us by the sun light setting behind the Gran Sasso National Park.”
Sun set on the Gran Sasso National Park
If you want to contact Alessio for more information about the above described places or the possibility of going hiking with him you can email him at email@example.com