We were chatting about what to do when my neice arrived in Italy for a month’s holiday.
“Let’s take her on a walk to Lago Blu,” said my daughter Lisa. “It’s an easy walk and the view of the blue lake at the end of the walk makes it well worth it.”
“Are you sure we can manage?” I asked, remembering that I’m not the fittest of people and although Trish is a lot younger than me, she’s recovering from some health problems.
“Yes, of course,” she reassured me. “Even young children do that walk.”
So, given what she said, I expected a relatively easy walk in the mountains with the sun shining and a glorious day all around us.
At the end of the walk, I expected to see this.
Reality started to set in when we parked the car in the village at the start of the walk. There was snow! Admittedly not a great deal, but there were drifts of frozen snow beside the road we had to take. It was more of a track really, and the higher we went, the bigger the drifts got, until they were right across the road and we had no choice but to walk gingerly along them. The mountain air was crisp and cool, and all around us the sound of running water reminded us that spring was rapidly thawing those snow drifts.
An hour and a half after setting off, we were stopping more often, out of breath and exhausted. I expected to arrive at the beautiful lake around every corner of the windy, steep road. But no, it would still be as long again before we got there, and we were in for an interesting walk across a field of thawing snow. Boy, was I grateful for my walking boots and padded socks! Have you ever walked across a drift of melting snow? Some of the time, the snow is still frozen and it carries your weight. The rest of the time, your feet sink into the slushy ice, and you find yourself with a shoe full of icicles and wet jeans. Not good! I was lucky, and managed to avoid getting my feet too wet. Poor Trish was almost losing her shoes as her feet broke through the ice on every third or fourth step.
We crossed the icy field and stopped for a lunch that lived up to my expectations: delicious quiche and prosciutto sandwiches washed down by crisp, clear mountain water. Couldn’t have been better! But where was the lake?
Lisa was very encouraging. “See that big rock half way up the hill there?” (Pointing at the distant rock slide.) “It’s just behind that rock. We’re almost there!” (Big smile and excited voice.) “Just tell me if you want to turn back.”
Trish and I looked at each other. We had come so far and braved the ‘Sea of melting ice’. We desperately wanted to see the beautiful blue lake, our reward for persevering and putting up with the cold and our tired legs.
“Nah! We can do it!”
Not sure if you can see it, but the big rock is just above the tree line.
So we shouldered our rucksacks and skirted the side of the field, heading towards the rock slide. It was a bit worrying when Lisa said, ” it all looks so different in the snow. I’m not so sure where the path is.” Then she headed confidently towards the rocks and we started climbing. This was no path! This was climbing up big boulders, and my knees and legs ached with each step. The rucksack felt like it weighed a ton and was getting heavier with each step! I puffed and panted, and concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. After a while, Lisa found the path, and we crossed a few more snow drifts. Do you know how scary it is when the snow drift to your right heads straight down, and you know that if you slip, you’ll be going down there!
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