Hooked on a Mountain Pass

To rephrase Dr. Johnson’s remark about London: “if one is tired of walking in the Garfagnana then one is tired of life.”

A spectacular walk in this area which still remains at grade E (no ropes or special equipment needed) is one which starts with footpath no 41 at Tecchia, a lonely shepherd’s hut. Tecchia can be reached from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana by following the road towards Arni.

The route crosses the main ridge of the Apuans through the “Del vestito” tunnel and then starts descending towards the Tyrrhenian Sea. As soon as the sign saying” Orto Botannico Pellegrini “ (itself, an interesting mountain botannical garden to visit) is sighted then one is near the start of the footpath. The car park is rather small so an early start is recommended!

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The walk begins at a height of 2696 feet and climbs up steadily reaching the Foce Del Frate at 4347 feet. From this point footpath no 41 is left for footpath no 143 which coasts the second gothic line with its bunkers and relics of the final front of the supposedly invincible Wehrmacht.

Despite the very rocky narure of the terrain, flora is flourishing here as the blue gentians demonstrate:

The passo degli uncini, at 4527 feet, translated mean the pass of the hooks and the weird shape of the rocks at its summit do, indeed, remind one of monolithic hooks.

There is also a formation of rocks appropriately called “Il tridente”.

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The descent from the passo degli uncini is incredibly steep but negotiable without any equipment. It eventually joins up with footpath no 188 which takes one back to Tecchia.

The photographs of this walk date back to May 2007. For any reasonably fit person it shouldn’t take more than five hours to do the walk (which is not recommended to those suffering from vertigo, I hasten to add).

The walk is definitely one of the most stunning I’ve done and the views towards the sea are quite stratospheric!

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