pietra di Bismantova

Snow-excursions in the Reggio Appennino 2018

On 10 March, we enjoyed a snow-excursion in the Reggio Appennines, at the Cerreto Alpi. We all become children again when our feet touch the snow and at the end…. tired but happy, we go back to where we started as if we have conquered a mountain. So leaving Parma along the Val d’Enza, we follow SS63 until we reach the Cerreto Pass. It divides Tuscany from Emilia and the province of Massa Carrara from that of Reggio Emilia.

So we pass from the splendid Pietra di Bismantova to Castelnovo nè Monti, and then onto Cervarezza until we reach Cerreto Alpi, 10 minutes from the Pass: we stop at the Briganti, a group of young people who work voluntarily for their town and community, running many events and not just in summer. We take part in the “pink” snow-excursion on 8 March, International Women’s Day, an excursion led by expert guides.

And we’re off…

So snow-rackets on, with front light and snow boots, and off we go… we cross the small town on foot before we reached the mountain path: the snow rackets help us make our way along. Daylight has already given way to the evening gloom, but the clean mountain air and the smells of the woods and the snow accompanies us all the way. The sound of snow underfoot, the white clean snow, the difficult path (we are after all in the mountains), a beautiful experience. The still-bare trees and their branches that suddenly lurch across the path mean we often have to bend down to get through. The snow is cold, but it is soft so when you fall in, you think…. how much fun it was when you were a child! But the effort of the walk soon warms you up. You look for tracks left by the animals who live in the woods, and then you think…… and if we meet a wolf? We reach the top and unfortunately, we can hardly make out the lights of the Cerreto Lakes and the ski-lifts in the distance, as the fog has descended and the stars are hidden. They seem so close and yet so far, but such close contact with nature, with its smells and sounds, with the sky, it all makes you feel like you part of a single universe.

Now comes the hard part, working our way down, but with fortitude we confront this difficulty too (even if some of us come a cropper in the snow along the way). The rain welcomes us home, but as expected we arrive on time. The hikers’ evening continues with prized delicacies like polenta and other first courses, but we have to make our way home early for reasons of work….. this event allowed us to learn more about our splendid and beautiful area. We are ever more convinced that our Appennines have so much to offer and that there is so much more than we have yet to discover.

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