I won’t drag this out.
Let me tell you what happened.
I kept climbing up – but slowly because it was so steep. I managed to get past one wall of fallen timber and brush, and traversed the side of the mountain about 20m before coming to another wall, which I couldn’t get over.
So I climbed up the hill further.
I kept on looking for a track, and each time I thought I’d found one, I climbed up to find that it was nothing more than a ridge.
But then I noticed on my GPS app a series of tiny crosses, nearly at the top of the mountain. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I hoped it was markings of a track. I noticed that it looped round, and eventually met up with the pilgrim track – the GPX files of which I’d loaded previously.
I worried though that it might be out of date, or that the track had been blocked or washed away like the one further down.
But I had no choice so I kept climbing, kept climbing, and then up ahead I saw a wooden cross – like a signpost.
You have no idea how happy I was. I scrabbled up, and sure enough, it was a track, no wider than a goat path.
But finally I had a way of getting back to the pilgrim track.
I followed this path around the top of the mountain, and then down a sheer descent. All that distance I’d climbed up, I now had to climb down.
The track eventually took me back down to stream-level, and there was Peter Landers waiting for me standing by an old quarry .
I yelled out to him: Maaaaaate.
He yelled back: Maaaaaaate.
The others were waiting further along, and we continued out walk. That whole ordeal had taken nearly two hours.
I walked with Patty for some distance, through some beautiful countryside –
We had a good leisurely chat as the others steamed ahead to meet up with Elena and the van. The plan had been for Elena to meet us at the half-way point with some lunch.
By the time we arrived, Elena had parked by the river and had laid out a beautiful picnic lunch of local cheeses, hams, fresh salads and bread.
It wasn’t a particularly scenic spot to park, but it was practical – being the earliest place on our track where she could drive up to us in the vehicle. And after what we’d been through, we needed food and water, and we weren’t interested in a view.
After a quick lunch we headed off again – across the bridge, then through flatter easier country, but no less beautiful.
We arrived late into Sansepulcoro, and had a dinner in a small Osteria – handmade pastas with wild boar sauce, grilled lamb Tuscan style, and gorgeous wines. Oh and we finished the night with a bottle of Vin Santo dessert wine, and a basket of biscuits to go with it.
During the course of the dinner we recounted our own versions of the eventful morning – and we laughed and we ate and we laughed and we drank and the stories became broader and funnier in the telling.
What a wonderful way to finish off an incredible day…