After another 11 day stretch of non-stop working, Bacco got a little antsy and begged for a mountain hike. We have had one week of 90 + degree weather (with another week to go), and above 1300 meters you get a little respite. My goal was to find a nice trail with abundant streams for Bacco to play in and drink. I chose no. 26 in the book and headed off to the little town of Ceppo a 75 minute drive from us. This is evidently mushroom heaven as they have a barricaded road which they open only for those with mushroom hunting permits. I parked outside the gate and headed off on a very pleasant stroll through the "marvelous forest" (the chapter title for the hikepassing all the cars of the fungus searchers along the way. Its real name is the bosco Martese and was the site of a famous battle in WWII between the resistance fighters of the area and the germans. After 90 minutes, we ended up at a nice 40 meter waterfall called Cascata della Morricana where I snapped some photos and tried to figure out how I might return to the parking area without retracing the 5 km stretch of trail which was on a dirt road.
Don't get me wrong, for a first date hike, you could do this and have a picnic and be wonderfully satisfied as it is quite peaceful, beautiful and easy. But, I hadn't even gotten close to being lost yet, so I went back to the book and found a way to make it a loop hike (no. 25). I hiked further along, up and out of the forest, where the trail had been beautifully marked, and entered a pastoral setting of grasses, flowers and singing birds, but no trail. I followed the general instructions written in the book walking directly into a 200 yard stretch of tightly bunched thistles and, hidden beneath them, stinging nettles. I felt like St. Benedict doing his penitence after feeling lust for a woman when he exited from his hermitage (he had lain nude in a field of nettles until the feeling passed). I arrived at another 2 or 3 beautiful waterfalls where the description of the route was, "head right before the last waterfall, you will see the trail when you are nearly upon it.