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  • Writer's pictureCristiano Gala

Two days one Night. At the feet of the Majella Massif

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

A slow relaxing morning. A couple of hours drive from Rome. Easy start to the day.

It's late November, and above 2200m the snow claims its throne. All of the major summits of the Majella Massif, are deeply covered in white. It is a massive and quite circumscribed mountain range. Visible from far away, especially now, with its intensely white and reflective summits.

We start easy, later in the day. This time, we will not tackle its icy ridges, instead we will stay low. Low, but not that low, we are still above 2000m. The hike from the car is easy. It gets greener and wilder the more we walk, as the trails start following the ridge line, making its way through thick Mugo Pine trees, dominating these mountains at such altitude. We are already above the vast deep valley and gorge, covered in thick vegetation. We can only fantasize about the wildlife that lives and rambles through those seemingly inaccessible woods. Wolves we know are plentiful. The endemic Marsican Brown Bear, thrives in this area. Our minds travel...

We walk, touching a few of these early summits until the light changes, and it becomes time to set up camp. We are high up 2140m, its cold. We know that as the early winter sunset arrives, temperatures will drop significantly. Its a high pressure day. The air is still, but the cold is crisp. Warm clothes and a warm meal do the trick.

The moon is full and bright tonight. The views of the Majella summits are gorgeous and ethereal, as the white cold faces reflect the dim moonlight.

The night was cold, condensation has formed a layer of ice on the tent. Luckily our equipment made us sleep pretty cozy.

As dawn arrives, we know some amazing sceneries are going to unfold from this vantage point. With high pressure comes good visibility, but also, cloud inversions. We are able to look fare west, coming out from the clouds the Croatian Mountains, bathed in bright orange light. And looking north, the Gran Sasso Massif with Corno Grande, peak of 2912m, its the highest mountain of the Appennine Range. It is also covered in snow, but less then Majella. Below it, a sea of clouds and mist creeping through the towns and valleys.

The beauty is astonishing.

The morning progresses easily and relaxed. As the mountain warms up, so our desire to get back on our feet. The hike down is pleasant, through winding trails, through scrubby, elements battered Pine trees, we get back down. There is another place we wish to explore.

We drive down from the high summits, reaching the valley. Valle dell' Orfento, is a deep wild gorge, where Majella drains its springs and snow, It is filled with waterfalls and water pours from everywhere. The vegetation is thick, green and lush. Humidity and shade, is what defines this environment, in constant change, entirely dictated and shaped by the unpredictable flow of these cold waterways. We get our feet wet, explore the gorge and make our way back.

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