Crna Pec Rifugio
Sunday April 13, 2014
We are headed to the woods around M. te Nanos driving through the Slovenian wine area where the Terano wine is produced. Small, tidy and mostly newly planted grape vines run along side the road. Here the vines are supported in the traditional manner with wooden railings. The leaves on the vines are just starting to bud, new green leaves above the just turned red soil. This wine is rustic and is meant to be consumed with fatty foods such as thick slices of prosciutto or pork to cleanse the palate of the fat.
The road follows a small stream where the capogita’s parents went to gather cray fish (gamberi) when they were first married.
As we look towards Nanos we see that it is shrouded in low clouds – in fact we cannot see the summit at all. The road up to the sentiero has been recently redone. The pavement is new, there is a white lane down the centre of the road, there is a kind of small paved trench along side the road to take in rain and snow water, and large boulders held together with concrete to prevent landslides and so road closures.
The walk starts straight up hill , along side a sand gravel pit, and the footing is soft with loamy soil. We are walking into a thin mist and tiny drops of water are forming on my jacket. We are in a deciduous forest and with pussy willows in full bloom. Underfoot purple violets stand out sharp and bright against the stark stone.
Then we enter a pine forest and underfoot slippery brown pine needles. On my left as we climb is a sheer drop into the forest. We are kind of walking around a rock face on the right below a crest and on the left a sheer drop below into leafy green woods. The trail is about a meter wide. Then the trail crosses a rock slide, sharp, grey white carsic stones but shale like and slippery. The trail narrows to about half a metre – basically just wide enough for your boot. There is a wire handrail and I am told to make use of it to round the bend. Below on my left is a sheer drop down the rock slide. I am also told very politely and this is one of the things I love about the Italian language, how politely you can say things, “ Do not look at he panorama, you probably already know this. But look where you are walking. If you want to look around then stop”. The “do not walk and gawk principal”!
As we head higher we start ot see all kinds of flowers. Primule del alte montagna – much deeper yellow in the rock crevises, shamrocks, lily of the valley, dwarf irises, leaves of the ciclamini not yet in bloom.
Now the misty rain has turned to real rain drops. The trail and the trees around us are shrouded in a thick mist. How great is it to walk in the woods with no mosquitoes, no black flies no deer flies. I cannot believe how much I enjoy the walks knowing that I will not be eaten alive by blood sucking insects. There are however ticks that you have to be careful of – the kind that cause lime disease. We spray our pant legs before heading out on the trail.
Then I hear a cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo. At first I am thinking it is somebody’s car alarm, or maybe a cell phone but no we are walking on a mountain side?
I finally ask and am told yes indeed this is the sound of the cuckoo bird quite common in these woods. All around is quiet, and mist and then the soft sound of cuckoo in the distance- actually quite comforting. Apparently it is not easy to actually see a cuckoo bird. Through the mist is also the sound of chirping birds
Then all of a sudden just behind us a group of extreme mountain bike types, one bleeding from the shins, pass us. I have no idea how they can possibly be biking on these narrow, rocky trails but there you go. We see them again when we get to the rifugio, then again later and they are headed straight down and not along the trail, we see them again in a parking lot. We all comment on how crazy is this?
The rifugio is not open. We stop for to eat our lunch and then have to decide. To we keep going as planned or head back because the rtrail is slippery from the rain. Reluctantly, the decision is to head back.
On the way up my weight is on the inside leg and it is ok. On the way down it is harder to put weight on the inside leg and at one point the capogito has to hold on to my back pack as I am not sure where to put my foot on the narrow trail with a straight drop on my right. Nothing but mist in my peripheral vision which I think is not helping my balance as I have no reference point on the drop side. Also I learn, do not turn to get around the rock face if the rock face is close to you just bend down because when you turn the backpack hits the wall and throws your balance off.
It ends up being an 10.8 km walk. Since it is still early we stop at San Daniele di Carso.