This was a first real day of hiking and I smiled quite a bit. I truly love being outdoors. Sometimes I wonder if I picked the right career. I must say that I envied our hike guide, Anna, as she gets to enjoy this beautiful, natural artwork many times are year. You can see her in the background of the picture above telling some of our group members about some of the local foliage. I was astounded by her wealth of knowledge about the area and its greenery. I would go on another Mountain Travel Sobek trip in a heartbeat if all of the guides are half as genius as Anna. Anna, if you are reading this, props to you! And don't ream me much if I have messed up on some of my commentary or Italian names!
Do you know what this is????? Well, if you recall from my commentary on Day 3, I explained that there was a huge storm that came through that night. The storm brought with it a plethora of HAIL! As we hiked though the forests, we would come upon deep piles of hail that had washed down the mountain. I was so thankful that God left us this little treat. It was an excellent way to cool off. I would hold some in my hand until it melted and Wes put it in his bandanna. Awesome natural refreshment!
After a few hours of hiking we reached the last steep climb to the summit.
The clang of cowbells provided a beautiful chorus as we made our descent. We stopped for lunch in this pasture and dined with the cattle. Wes and I enjoyed educating our fellow hikers on farm life. The field was full of heifers and cows, but they (non-farm folk) thought they were male cows. I think the confused their navels for something else ;). Our lunch was fantastic. It made me realize how impure much of our American food is these days. All of our meal was FRESH and LOCAL. We had three fresh meats, fresh bread, olives, fruits, and cheeses. I could not even begin to tell you how scrumptious this meal was for me. To top it off, there was a natural spring nearby. Kiara (I think her named is spelled Chiara, not sure), Anna, Wes and I filled up our water bottles and gorged ourselves with the most refreshing water ever.
We returned to Orta for the night. We showered and set about the town. We went into the local shops where I made one of my very few purchases on the trip. I bought a small piece of Italian pottery. All shopped out (threere were only a handful of stores anyway), Wes and I sat on a bench for a while and enjoyed the serenity and peace of just being a way from every day life. THe things that we tend to worry about day to day seemed miles away as we sat lakeside. We returned to the hotel to meet our group for a late pizza dinner. (I, of course, ordered fries with mine :) So much for that healthy lunch! The relaxed and happy bunch of us stopped a gelateria (is that even a word?) to appease Kerry's (a fellow hiker) craving for some cool refreshment. We were happy to oblige. Tummies full, legs tired, minds cleared, and hearts happy, we turned in for some much needed rest before another day of hiking!