Don’t stop exploring, not even when facing stormy sky.
But maybe run like crazy as soon as it starts hailing icy nuts.
As you may have already figured out, this lil’ adventure didn’t end up as planned.
The original plan was to reach the town of Montespluga for lunch time, eat some sweet pizzoccheri and then rise up to the Val Loga bivouac, to spend the night cuddled by a full moon and howling wilderness.
Of course, some snags came up, like the saturday morning effect: time slot where all non-vacationers from Milan and Brianza suits up with costume and head towards the lake of Como to soak like tea bags in the fresh Larian waters, jamming the highway from dawn.
Compliant with the above mentioned traffic jams, the lunch menu had to change as there was no place to eat that required less than an hour waiting, so we opted for the most stereotyped italian lungh: pizza (with peppers and eggplants to loot more energies).
The quiet start departs from the valley running along the river feeding the artificial lake. It passes by cows and horses, curious but also accustomed to the presence of hikers crossing their alm.
Once past the grazing trails, we reached the first gentle slope, which rises on a green hill, from where the silhouette of the bivouac can be easily noticed.
Concluding this stretch, the toughest and most beautiful stroke of climbing begins. The green vegetation leaves its place to the naked rock in debris, and the trail walks around snowfields surrounded by stone flakes sharp like knives. Some melting stream creates a thin tone breaking the constant wind blowing from the valley; water disappears and reappears constantly between the rocks, as if it was willing to play chasing games.
Once we reached the bivouac and enjoyed the view, the cold wind had frozen our paws, forcing us to retreat into the structure. Here I found the most beautiful wooden bivouac ever seen: 9 sleeping places with mattress, cushion and blankets, a large table with two benches and a full side dedicated to the kitchen, gas stove, washbasin and everything you need to cook as if you were home, at 2700m.
Given the cold and since it started hailing, we opted for some hot tea to warm up body and mind:
- Pot, check;
- Water, check;
- Gas, check;
- Bag, check;
- Ignition, failure at the first match;
- Re-Ignition, failure at second match;
- Re-Re-ignition, no more matches.
Yeah, we found out on our skin that for bivouac trips it is always better to carry behind our own source of fire!
Defeated by the primal challenge with fire, we waited for the hail to allow a brief truce to break the clouds, dodging by a little the torrential rains that accompanied the rest of the evening.
Finally we consoled ourselves with a wine-based dinner and Chiavenna’s gnocchi (mind not to confuse them with Valtellina’s pizzoccheri, italians are very sensitive to food) in the beautiful setting of a crotto.
Why is this adventure so important?
And why did I not omit it, since the great photographic projects that motivated my climb have not been completed?
Because even in a small failure like this, the mountain reveals itself with a new face.
The gentle green slopes cuddling the steps while climbing up the steep trail turn into dangerous stone-blades sparkling off the ground, and wind up with clouds and storms in an instant. In this scarceness of hopes, just a single ray of sun is enough to defeat the darkness and cold wrapping around the peak; it is a hope that resurfaces at every storm, and a storm that regenerates after every starry night.
A constant chase between warm and cold, wind and calm, froze and heat, green and stone, like a never ending song that alternates dissonating verses and never stops, because every verse is alike but different, each season renews water courses and new flowers sprout every spring.
The show of life that revives and stops, in front of our eyes, around and inside us.