Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Hike from Clusone to Rifugio Parafulmine

 GPS tracks for Clusone - Parafulmine - Colzate hike.On the path to Pizzo Formico.Left: GPS tracks for Clusone - Parafulmine - Colzate hike. Right: On the path to Pizzo Formico.

Panorama from Monte Formico looking north toward Clusone.View of the pasture from Rifugio Parafulmine toward Monte Formico.
Left: Panorama from Monte Formico looking north toward Clusone. Right: View of the pasture from Rifugio Parafulmine toward Monte Formico.


Overview


Length: 19 km (11.8 mi)
Duration: 8 hours total, 7 hours walking time, 4 hours up, 3 hours down; 1-hour lunch at Rifugio Parafulmine
Elevation: 564 m (1,850 ft) @ start of hike near Clusone; 1,636 m (5,367 ft) @ Pizzo Formico; 401 m (1,320 ft) @ Colzate
Location: Italy, Lombardy, Bergamo, Val Seriana

Getting There


To get to the start of this hike, we took the Linea S bus from Bergamo Terminal SAB (near train station) heading to Clusone, in the Val Seriana. The bus route major stops are Bergamo, Alzano, Nembro, Albino, Comenduno, Gazzaniga, Clusone, and Bratto. You can find the bus schedules at www.bergamotrasporti.it. We got off at Fiorine - s.p. 35 (Bar Lanterna) before the bus entered Clusone. At the end of the hike, we caught Linea S as it passed through Colzate heading back to Bergamo.

Notes


We took this hike as a practice run with new backpacks we are planning to use on an upcoming 5 days rifugio-to-rifugio hike. The new packs are larger (~ 50 L) than our normal day packs (~ 25 L). We loaded up the new packs with all sorts of stuff we didn’t need today to get to about 20 – 25 lbs.

The typical route from Clusone to Parafulmine is via Sentiero 508, starting from Rifugio San Lucio. If this is what you want to do, take the bus Linea S bus to Clusone bus station and start walking from there. You’ll have to walk south for about 1-2 km from Clusone center to San Lucio, then pick up Sentiero 508. (See a Short Hike in Clusone.)

Today, we decided to shave off a little distance and time by starting on a trail called Mulattiera Fontanile di Sales that runs parallel to 508, but avoids going through Clusone and the surrounding area. In the end, I’m not sure we succeeded because we got lost a few times due to a few unsigned forks in the path. On the plus side, we munched on some nice raspberries along the path.

After a few kilometers on the mulattiera (mule track), loaded with more weight than normal and a bit grouchy because of it, we came upon a clearing with a fork in the trail. Choose right and we go by a house with angry guard dachshunds. Choose left and we follow a trail that seemed to descend to nowhere. We called out to a young girl who came out to call off the dogs. She wasn’t sure what we were asking and went to get her aunt who was able to guide us.

Aside: That brings me to forks in trails in Italy, specifically, a fork in the trail when you reach a clearing where there is a building (house, barn, or whatever) and it's clearly someone’s property. You would think that taking the fork that doesn’t lead to the building would be the smartest choice, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the trail goes right by the building and sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes, like on today’s hike with the guard dachshunds, both forks end up in the same place.

It was a relief to finally meet up with Sentiero 508 and shortly thereafter reach Forcella Larga, a saddle where several paths meet. From the saddle, you are looking south over Conca della Montagnina, the upper part of Val Gandino, which is a lateral valley of Val Seriana. From the saddle, you can see Pizzo Formico and Parafulmine. Below in the pastures cows lounged around a water hole, some standing in the water keeping cool. The sound of their bells filled the air. Speaking of bells, nearby the Forcella Larga, you can find Campana del CAI di Clusone, an interesting sculpture with a bell.

From Forcella Larga, we decided to check out Pizzo Formico (1636 m), which provides quite the view of the Bergamasque Alps and Prealps.

After a look around on Formico, we headed back down to Rifugio Parafulmine (1536 m) for lunch. As usual, we planned our hike around lunch and were eagerly anticipating what would be on the menu. We are happy to report we were presented with stinco al forno (slow-roasted pork shank), polenta, and wine. All the huffing and puffing of the previous 4 hours was soon forgotten.

Stinco al forno at Rifugio Parafulmine, before starting to eat.Stinco al forno at Rifugio Parafulmine, all done.Dessert at Rifugio Parafulmine.
Stinco al forno at Rifugio Parafulmine before and after photo, plus dessert and coffee. Not too bad for mountain food.

Parafulmine is the Italian word for “lightening rod”. Other ways to get to Rifugio Parafulmine include Sentiero 549 from Barzizza (Grandino) and Sentiero 543 from Casnigo (SS. Trinità). Another possible walking opportunity in the area is the route called Traversata tra i Pizzi (brochure), which takes you through a loop of Val Gandino.

Flora

A couple of things that struck us flora-wise on this hike: 1) the amount of oregano and red raspberries we saw along the trail, 2) and it was the first time we've seen Saponaria officinalis or Gentiana cruciate.  The list is given in the following format:

  • [Family] Genus species – Common name in English (Common name in Italian)


[Apiaceae] Astrantia major – Great Masterwort (Astranzia maggiore)
[Asteraceae]  Adenostyles alpina – (Cavolaccio alpino)
[Caryophyllaceae] Saponaria officinalis – Bouncingbet, Common Soapwort (Saponaria comune)
[Gentianaceae] Gentiana cruciate – Cross or Star Gentian (Genziana con foglie disposte a croce)
[Lamiaceae] Origanum vulgare – Oregano (Origano comune)
[Lamiaceae] Salvia glutinosa – Sticky Sage (Salvia vischiosa)
[Liliaceae] Allium carinatum – Keeled Garlic (Aglio carenato)
[Orobanchaceae] Rhinanthus alectorolophus – Greater Yellow Rattle (Cresta di gallo comune)
[Plantaginaceae] Plantago media – Hoary Plantain (Piantaggine media)
[Rosaceae] Rubus idaeus – Red Raspberry (Lampone)

[Lamiaceae] Origanum vulgare – Oregano (Origano comune).[Liliaceae] Allium carinatum – Keeled Garlic (Aglio carenato).[Caryophyllaceae] Saponaria officinalis – Bouncingbet, Common Soapwort (Saponaria comune).
Left: [Lamiaceae] Origanum vulgare – Oregano (Origano comune). Center: [Liliaceae] Allium carinatum – Keeled Garlic (Aglio carenato). Right: [Caryophyllaceae] Saponaria officinalis – Bouncingbet, Common Soapwort (Saponaria comune).

[Apiaceae] Astrantia major – Great Masterwort (Astranzia maggiore).[Gentianaceae] Gentiana cruciate – Cross or Star Gentian (Genziana con foglie disposte a croce). [Plantaginaceae] Plantago media – Hoary Plantain (Piantaggine media).
Left: [Apiaceae] Astrantia major – Great Masterwort (Astranzia maggiore). Center: [Gentianaceae] Gentiana cruciate – Cross or Star Gentian (Genziana con foglie disposte a croce). Right: [Plantaginaceae] Plantago media – Hoary Plantain (Piantaggine media).

[Orobanchaceae] Rhinanthus alectorolophus – Greater Yellow Rattle (Cresta di gallo comune). [Lamiaceae] Salvia glutinosa – Sticky Sage (Salvia vischiosa). [Asteraceae]  Adenostyles alpina – (Cavolaccio alpino).
Left: [Orobanchaceae] Rhinanthus alectorolophus – Greater Yellow Rattle (Cresta di gallo comune). Center: [Lamiaceae] Salvia glutinosa – Sticky Sage (Salvia vischiosa). Right: [Asteraceae]  Adenostyles alpina – (Cavolaccio alpino) with blue beetles Oreina genus.

[Rosaceae] Rubus idaeus – Red Raspberry (Lampone).[Rosaceae] Rubus idaeus – Red Raspberry (Lampone).
[Rosaceae] Rubus idaeus – Red Raspberry (Lampone).

Another view of the GPS tracks for the hike from Clusone to Parafulmine. A sign at Rifugio Parafulmine describing the area Pizzo Formico, Pizzo Farno, and Pizzo Montagnina.
Left: Another view of the GPS tracks for the hike from Clusone to Parafulmine. Right: A sign at Rifugio Parafulmine describing the area Pizzo Formico, Pizzo Farno, and Pizzo Montagnina.

 Start of the hike alongside SP ex Strada Statale 671 in Fiorine. On Senterio 508 just below Forcella Larga.Near Forcella Larga and heading to Parafulime, visible on the peak.
Left: Start of the hike alongside SP ex Strada Statale 671 in Fiorine. Center: On Senterio 508 just below Forcella Larga. Right: Near Forcella Larga and heading to Parafulime, visible on the peak.

The bell-sculpture, Campana del CAI di Clusone, near Forcella Larga.Pizzo Formico with people having a picnic.
Left: The bell-sculpture, Campana del CAI di Clusone, near Forcella Larga. Right: Pizzo Formico with people having a picnic.

No comments:

Post a Comment