10.10.2016

Hiking Itineraries: from Consuma to Secchieta


The weather was crappy: humid but not cold, so rain showers were expected but no snow, and a lot of mist. Monte Cimone was our goal for the week end: 2.165 m, the hihest peak in the northern Appennini. In those conditions it was going to be frustrating and even dangerous.
Tiziano and I decided to wait untill Sunday morning and to opt for a closer destination in case of sun or at least not rain.
The sky was bright blue when I woke up on Sunday morning. Damn! it was too late for the Cimone! but a quickly check of its web cam shows a compact mist. Ok, let's go for plan B!
The mountain village of Consuma  - 1050 m - is on the ancient road linking Casentino to Florence and Valdarno. Few stone houses, a grocery, a church built in 1932 but in romanic style and a modern fountain (1950). That's all. 
It used to be a holyday destination and many people living in Florence have got here a holyday house. Indead: holyday houses are taking over the place. Some are nice, some are ugly. Difinitely they are too many, and as a consequence the narrow woody paths have been enlarged to allow cars access. On Sunday morning there was a lot of traffic
It was humid and relatively warm, a perfect condition to mushrooms to grow, so a perfect moment to go looking for them. The forest just over the village was crowded of families in mud boots holding baskets covered by a rag. "Did you find anything?", "Nothing" they will always reply "Few", "Three or four". Mushrooms seekers always deny they are carrying tons of them. 
Also, it seems they can't bring thier basket too far from their cars so they must be parked almost into the forest, as closer as possible. 
Tiziano, my son and I took the 00 CAI path in Consuma, climbed among the holy houses to the edge of the village and walked on the muddy busy dirty road for half one hour. 
In Croce di Ribono (1.098 mt) the path gets arduous: a steep track climbing the hill in the beautiful forest made even more beautiful by the colours of the Autumn: red leaves on the soft soacked ground and trees wearing all the nuances from golden to light green.
Firs and beeches seem to meet in a point, an invisible border crosses the forest and above it you don't see one fir. Altitude is the reason but in the ancient times this forest has been attentively grown as a source of wood, so humans had probably a role.
We were almost on the crest but the 00 path keeps running in the forest untill Passo Croce Vecchia (1201 m) from where we could see Monte Secchieta, its refuge and the wind turbines on the left. There we sat down and ate our lunch. 
The weather, couldy but so far dry, was worsening, the first drops of rain start falling and we decided to turn back. 

Time: 5  hours
Elevation: 500 m
Where: Pratomagno, Tuscany, Italy
Start: Consuma (1050 m)
End: Consuma
Signals: CAI 00 (red and white) to Secchieta. 
Things to see: the forest of firs and beeches.

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