Day 10 GEA Pracchia

The autumn mist returned with a vengeance today and again we couldn't see a thing.

The first task was to get up to ridge and onto a route which would take us back to the GEA. We identified a spot and managed to persuade our host to give us a lift. Fortunately he agreed to take some money because it turned out to be a long way, very slow, and along a track impassible without a four wheel drive.

Another foggy

The first day in the mist was frustrating but a challenge but today it was just frustrating. Lots of trails in this part of the world and not all them marked on our map and even the GEA itself was not always where it should be. There were supposed to be some good views today but with visibility sometimes down to less than three metres there was no way you could enjoy them.

Memorial to two young resistance fighters
So today was a bit of slog although there were some points of interest, including a strange memorial to 16 and 18 brothers who died fighting the fascists. I'm afraid we couldn't understand the significance of the two poles driven through a lump of marble but nor could the two Italians who interpreted for us.

That way!
So lots of fog laden trees, a lot of easy contour walking and then a sharp descent down to Pracchia. Pracchia feels like another old resort town. The buildings all date back to the 19th Century and there is a large bottling plant so perhaps the water was an attraction.

Hotel Melini
We had a beer in the overgrown garden of the Hotel Melini . Nice hotel, packed with all sorts of nick naks and with more than a touch of faded grandeur. The front part of the ground floor served as the hotel reception and as a florists, although nearly all the flowers were artificial, and when was already packed with displays and other decorations ready for Christmas.

The next stretch of the walk takes us to Abetone and for the first time on the whole trip we get high enough to escape the trees. It's supposed to be a tough walk and the guide warns that it should not be attempted in bed weather. The refuge on the route is closed and my plan had been to get a lift to a place called Orsigna and then walk to Abetone in a day. The guide says this should take about 9 and a half hours and given that we have struggled to beat its timings the walk is clearly a challenge. To make matters worse the weather forecast, according to the information Chris had picked up, is not good.

After dinner we consult the man who owns the hotel. He knows his stuff but doesn't altogether help us make our decision. Firstly he tells us that the walking is the best on the whole of the GEA, that it isn't going to rain until Friday but that walking it in a day, even with a lift to Orsigna will be hard. The first two bits of information revive my interest but the third is a bit of a dampener for Chris.

There is a funicular marked on the map, about half way along the route to Abetone, which takes you down to Cutigliano where there is definitely some accommodation. The owner rings the hotel books us a rooms and confirms that the lift is running although there is some confusion about the frequency. At last we have enough information to take a decision and decide to go.

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1 comment:

  1. J and C, sorry that the mist have come down and spoiling the views. Hopefully you will get better weather tomorrow for a superb mountain stage.
    Best of luck with the funicular. Sounds a good idea.
    Go to Hotel Primula,in Boscolungo, the next day if possible. Lovely informative landlady.
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good weather for you to enjoy the day.
    John Proud