Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Mother's Gift- A Month in Italy- Part 4

The Hike

The night before we began our trek, I met my fellow hikers: Roberta & Mark, Laura and our leader: Andrea.  They were all warm and inviting. We shared a little about ourselves around the diner table.  Wine and pasta galore!

All of them were well traveled and Laura and Andrea were especially well adventured.  I shared about my mother, my five children, my husband and eventually Josh.

"FIVE CHILDREN!" they exclaimed.
Yes, five children.

 I had wanted to keep Josh's life private, but it just seemed to slip out near the end of our evening.
I went to bed that night excited, nervous and feeling overwhelmed.

I couldn't believe I was there.
I felt such gratitude, though stunned with the enormity of my life and the meaning of this adventure to me.
I cried.

In the morning, as we met for breakfast, each one pulled me aside, and in their own way, using their own words,  told me  how proud they were of me, how this trip was really a big deal and that they were so happy I was there.

I felt accepted.  I felt loved.
The "rightness" of this adventure confirmed.

Our first day of trekking felt short as it was only 5 miles with 1850 elevation gain.
We took a private taxi up the road to Ra Stua and were dropped off at the trail head.
We were hiking the Alta Via 1

We hiked up and up through a larch forest passing this sweet bench and alter.
We would see many benches and alters along the way.

Many natural spring fountains like this are found beside the trail systems and even in the villages.
Cold, fresh, pure water.

Each day we passed many different refugios, homes to the families that run them.
This young girl lives year round with her family caring for their cows and horses as well as guests.

The trails,  sometimes a road, were well marked.

Our first night was Refugio Fodara Vedla.

A little bar table with a view right outside the front door of the refugio.

Many of the huts were much plusher than I expected.
Andrea and I shared a room on the first night together.
We even had our own bathroom!

All the cows wore large alpine cow bells.
The sound was divine, stopping just at dusk.

A sweet outbuilding near Fodara Vedla.

Fodara Vedla Chapel

The view from the front porch.

Looking back at the refuge. 

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