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swirl and savor

The View from Above

Beth Ribblett

Our day of hiking in the Lattari Mountains above Positano proved to be even more challenging and rewarding than anticipated! I had bought a book by Julian Tippett that was a great guide for adventure and helped us plan our day away from the tourists and into the forest.

This series of stairs, alleyways and stone pathways line the coast, connecting the countryside to villages and towns, and provides an amazing look into how the people of the region have historically moved themselves and supplies from place to place. They are extremely well made, but not well marked and you may find yourself walking straight up a hundred or more stairs only to end up at the gate of a residence!

Using the book as our guide, the plan was to take a bus from Positano to a small hillside town above called Monte Pertuso where we would start the hike. But I was so anxious to begin that I decided to instead also do the hike up the mountain to meet the bus in Monte Pertuso. After a few wrong turns I found the right set of stairs to begin my ascent. Now I have been challenging myself by running these steep stairways since I got here, but this climb definitely took my heart rate to new heights and left me having to stop and catch my breath between segments. Not many switchbacks, just ancient stairs heading straight up from sea level to 1200 ft!

Already dripping with sweat at 10am, I waited for the bus to arrive with the rest of the girls. We had decided on three hiking segments that would takes us deep into forest to different landmarks and towns and eventually back to Positano.

Something we all learned from the book is that if it says strenuous, they mean it! The first segment was labeled as such and provided an hour and a half's worth of climbing up another height gain of 1300 feet. Rock lined stairways, cliff hugging paths and sensational coastal scenery made for quite an adventure as we wound our way up the mountain to our first destination, Caserma Forestale, literally an old stone house in the woods perched atop a cliff that gave us place to rest for a minute while we prepared for the next segment.

The 1.5 mile walk from there to the village of Santa Maria de Castello, was a much easier trek, traversing across the mountain side, threading it's way through beautiful cypress and pine trees dotted with wild rosemary. The village consisted of a few homes, a bar, restaurant and of course a church, so we ordered a few panini and rested a bit before we headed down a dizzying descent back to Positano.

The 1700 ft descent here was very steep and difficult and the rough condition of the pathways made it quite the challenge.

And the fact that it was in the hottest part of the day with no shade didn't help, so needless to say we were ready to finish! We made our way down through town and decided to go straight to the beach, with a dip in the cool clear water offering the perfect reward!

A little gelato, a shot of espresso and all of the sudden it was 4:30 and we had to get ready for our next adventure, dinner at Il Ritrovo, but that is an entry of it's own....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone