Looking a bit colder now? Let me tell you it was! This weekend I hopped and jumped and stumbled over about 8 such streams, and occasionally missed and got wet feet. But thankfully ONLY wet feet! My fear had been slipping and getting my whole self wet and very, very cold. Could so easily have happened, I’m definitely not the most sure footed! It started so innocently, with wanting to go for a walk. Note the word ‘walk’, no mention of scrambling over rocks or jumping icy torrents.
We headed for the nature reserve of Orrido di Botri, the deepest canyon in Tuscany. The canyon is only open June to September as there is too much water the rest of the year, but we knew there were a number of marked trails around the area. We took the route to the left of these buildings following the red and white markers of the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano). Notice here I’ve used the words ‘trails’ and ‘routes’, that’s the benefit of hindsight! Beforehand I somehow had the word ‘path’ in my head, quite forgetting that mountain enthusiasts of the CAI probably didn’t have the same vision as me of what a walk might involve!
Here’s Red Riding Hood, looking lost in the woods (also known as youngest son with hoodie on). You may be thinking surely we took a wrong turn, there’s no path there, just trees and rocks. We thought that too, but every so often there would be a red and white marker on a tree or rock so we knew it really was the route.
Okay, so a bit stony. But then the route hit a series of mountain streams, and the bank was far too sheer to go up. This meant crossing the streams, stone to stone. Fun in summer maybe, but rather daunting in mid winter. Here’s Rod about to jump, notice the fallen branch in the top left of the picture.
Whilst I was till crossing this little stream I looked up to find Rod balanced on that branch! Across another rather wider stream. Crazy man! At first he was going well, but then almost lost balance. He made it in the end. There was no way I was going to cross the same way, I had to try the stone hopping, but this time missed and got one wet foot. But only one, and only a foot.
Not too far past this we gave up, it looked to be just more and more of the same, crossing small but icy streams within a larger river bed. It had been kind of fun up to that point, but now there was the prospect of having to return exactly the same way, re-crossing every stream. But where to cross? This was a wide section and needed careful selection of the best spot.
We made it back to the car, relieved that none of us had slipped in the icy cold water and with something of a sense of having had an adventure. Driving back we were rewarded with the mountains being bathed in a wonderful evening glow.
We stopped to enjoy the awesome scenery at a bend in the road heading back to Montefegatesi. There was a cross and a photo of young woman. Beneath it a plastic chair. Someone must come to this spot to remember her.
Orrido di Botri can be reached via Tereglio or Montefegatesi, both stunning villages either side of the Val Fegana (valley) soyou can make a very scenic circular route.
FromLucca head towards Barga on the SS12 then SR445 until the roundabout for the Val Fegana and Tereglio, SP56. This is proper road all the way to the Orrido di Botri.
Or, from Lucca north on SS12 until Bagni di Lucca, then behind the park in Bagni di Lucca take the road signed for Montefegatesi. Shortly after Montefegatesi the road becomes a rough track, but okay for a normal car if the weather is good.
Montefegatesi can be reached by bus from Bagni di Lucca, 3-4 buses per day.