On a recent stay up in the rarified air of Castelluccio di Norcia to celebrate the start of yet another one of my trips around the sun (aka, birthday), I hiked a few of the trails inside the vast Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini (National Park of the Sibillini Mountains) and captured some breathtaking views of the Piano Grande (Great Plain).
Like Sir Edmund Hillary, the New Zealander who, along with Tenzing Norgay, his Sherpa guide, conquered the treacherous summit of Mount Everest in 1953, I, too, had a Sherpa-of-sorts leading the way around some of the scenic routes of the park that straddles the border between the regions of Umbria and the Marche of central Italy.
Armed with hand-whittled walking sticks and canteens filled with fresh mountain stream H2O, our small “attack team” maneuvered its way high above the vast plain below.
On Day-1 we tackled the Sentiero Blu (Blue Trail) out to the Fonte di San Paolo; Day-2 we headed up to Forca di Presta and the Rifugio degli Alpini; and, on Day-3 it was the steep climb up the Sentiero Viola (Purple Trail) to the cross at the top of Monte Veletta. Whew!
Unlike Sir Hillary, none of the members of our “expedition” received a Coronation Medal or were knighted on the spot by Queen Elizabeth II for our efforts in conquering the trails and steep climbs around the National Park of the Sibillini Mountains.
But, thanks to “Sherpa” Giancarlo, we did make our way safely back to a few watering holes to toast the terrain we just traversed.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images