A warm and sunny November weekend, too warm indeed for the advanced time of year, and I felt, once more, that I had to follow the call of “Mother Mountain”, how the locals use to call the splendid Majella range. The idea I came up with: explore an apparently seldom frequented area, spend a quiet night at the bivouac Pelino, right on top of Monte Amaro, and combine a long and mostly pathless hike with some peak-bagging.
Although this trip would not go exactly according to plan, I am sure that it is impossible not to return satisfied and with your head full of images from a visit to this part of the Central Apennines.
I had planed to connect all 2,000 m peaks of the southern part of the Majella range. The route itself seemed feasible, but the total altitude gain to negotiate with a heavy bag, the loose terrain and the early sunset turned out to be a combination unfavorable to my ambitions. In order to avoid an emergency bivouac, somewhere in the open at about 2,500 m, I had to rethink my plan. Reluctantly I decided to let go of three of the summits on my list.
Here the summits touched during this 24 hour hike: Colle d’Acquaviva (2,200 m), Altare dello Stincone (2,413 m), Monte Macellaro (2,646 m), Cima di Fondo di Majella (2,593 m), Monte Amaro (2,793 m).
I reached the bivouac shelter on the summit of Monte Amaro about 20 minutes after sundown. With the last ray of light from the sun setting behind the horizon line a wicked wind came up. I had experienced this before on this mountain range, more than once. It made me realize that my decision not to stick to the original plan had been just about right. Temperatures were dropping dramatically within minutes. A gelid air was biting my hands and cheeks and reminded me of the season. Later, from inside the shelter, I listed to the wind still accelerating and raging for hours against the thin metal shell.
Very early in the morning … no wind at all. The crisp air, almost preternaturally clear, the view from the summit at sunrise, the vivid colors of the sky, the rocks and ice in the highly energized light … everything apt to keep one in a dreamlike state.
For the descend I decided to take the Valle di Taranta, one of the deep, canyon-like valleys of the eastern parts of the Majella.
After a short stop at the mountain hut “Rifugio Fonte Tari” I took the trail that got me back to the trailhead … almost exactly 24 hours after my departure.