9.28.2016

Hiking Itineraries: Alpe Tre Potenze in Val di Luce


Climbing those little rocky spurs was nothing special, still the sky was stunning blue, the view amazing below my feet and the peak appealing, few steps above. For the first time after many years I was sharing the way up with my husband Tiziano.
In red our way up
Mountaineering had been our first love and we were supposed to go living in the Alps to run a refuge, I was 21. It was a life ago. 
Things went differently and we split. Now we are back together and we must trust each other. We do, and it's fun.
Val di Luce is an Italian mountainous area in the Appennino between Toscana and Emilia, not far from Pistoia.  Its name was Valle delle Pozze untill the 60ies, when the Abetone ski resort has been created. 
I was eager to climb so phoned to Tiziano and we arranged to meet in Pistoia. As always he was late. He arrived on his big old camper while I was strolling in the city center, my boots hanging on my backpack, and we went sleeping in Le Regine, at the start of the path.

It wasn't cold at night. We talked about our project, and of course I told him about my research about Anatoli Boukreev: a man he had always admired, his peer too.
We woke up at about 8am and after a good breakfast by "Tosca" we walked to the start of the chairlift. It was still and closed because in summer it just works during the week-end and it was Monday. We climbed the last part of the steep ski slope covered in dry short grass, then got in the beech forest looking for the 102 CAI path to Lago Nero. 
Lago Nero
From Le Regine (about 700 m) to Lago Nero (1730) it's a long demanding way. The path costantly climbs by the stream called Sestaione, and finally ends by a small beautiful lake surrounded by high peaks, including Alpe Tre Potenze (1940 m). From there a crest runs to Passo della Vecchia, Monte Dente della Vecchia, Passo della Fariola and Monte Gomito (1892 m)
Our ledge 
We didn't stop in Lago Nero, where there is also a small refuge, but aimed to reach the Tre Potenze summit. The path goes to Gomito and then follows the crest, or you can climb the slopes covered in blueberry bushes, now reddish and dry, in the watershed. 
"We should climb those rocks" I suggested "They look fine". Tiziano immediately agreed. 

We rested looking at the mountain, imagining an easy line up the spur. Painfully walking through the bushes we got to the foot, just under the crest leading to our aim. We trod a ledge to the begining of a narrow way up on mixed terrain. 
We started climbing, Tiziano as first. It wasn't difficult, still thrilling considering the increasing empty distance from the ground. Now and then I glimpsed the splendid view, at each step up larger, while the lake became smaller and smaller. Nobody in sight, a perfect silence!
Once on the crest, we walked to the summit. The view was breathtaking, reaching Alpi Apuane and Monte Cusna. Three men arrived from the other side, we said hi and took each other a picture. We didn't fancy to talk, we sat and just look at the peaceful greatness of nature.
Quite soon they left, we ate our lunch and started descending toward Passo della Vecchia, where we took the path to Monte Gomito, steep and a little dangerous because some passages are 'exposed'. From Gomito we descended to Selletta and back to Le Regine by the confortable path in the forest called 'Sentiero dei doni'. 
It was almost 4 pm when we rose two beers by "Tosca". Time to go home!
Val di Luce is a lovely place. In the ancient time it was barely inhabitated by few woodcutters but or by shepherds in summer. Nevertheless it has always been an important for travelers, merchant or pilgrims. Passo di Annibale and Passo della Vecchia, both near Alpe Tre Potenze, are ancient passages linking  three valleys that used to belong to three different countries: Granducato di Toscana, Ducato di Lucca and Ducato di Modena. The name 'Passo di Annibale' recalls the story of Carthaginian leader who in 217 b.c., crossed the Appennnini with his army of about 50.000 men... From this passage wood for the navy of Pisa was transported in 1600 and 1700. 
Atop Alpe Tre Potenze
In 1935 Valle delle Pozze was acquired by the 'podestà' (major) of Abetone, Lapo Farinati Uberti determined to make of it a touristic resort. A big hotel was built by Passo di Annibale. The Second World War interrupted the project but it went on in the 60ies. The Abetone ski resort, including Val di Luce, had his best years untill the '80ies, when it lost importance. It was easier now to travel to the more famous  Alps by cars for a 'Settimana Bianca' than to go by bus to spend a Sunday on the Abetone's snow. Things improved recently but it isn't easy.
As far as me, I like it as it is.

Time: 6 hours
Elevation: 1402 m
Where: Val di luce, Abetone, Tuscany, Italy
Start: Le Regine (700 m)
End: Le Regine 
Signals: CAI 102 (red and white) to Lago Nero. 
Things to see: Lago Nero (1730), Alpe Tre Potenze (1940), Gomito (1892).
The crest toward Go


'Lo slittone' in Selletta
Monte Gomito

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