The weather had readopted its usual, sunny and warm mood, I witnessed as I got up this morning. The previous day, I had to delay my scheduled departure because of storms wandering over the Italian region of Campagna. But today was the day. It was the right time to leave Pompei and head to the Picentini Mountains in search of a new, great adventure.
I spent the morning preparing. I drifted around the town buying all the necessary supplies. I packed my things carefully. And, by noon, I was at the train station of Pompei.
It turned out that I had to change two trains in order to get to Fisciano Town, whence I was to reach the mountain range on foot and start my trip across it. I got the first train to Salerno. There I had a 2-hour gap before the departure of the second train. I took my chance to stroll a bit around this pretty city and have a close look at the sea, which I am not going to approach for some time to come. Then I took the second train. And, at about 3.30 pm, I was getting off at Fisciano train station.
That train station may be called so, but, in fact, it is located about 3 km away from the town giving it its name, in Lancusi, at about 180 AMSL. I had quite some long way in front of me, so I set off trimming it right away. I walked past Lancusi and Fisciano, and after about 10 km, I’d made it to Calvanico village by the western foot of the mountains, at 400 AMSL.
That was the last trace of civilization I’d encounter for the next few days to come. I stopped by the village’s little square to fill up my bottles from the public faucet and smoke a cigarette before I start going up the mountain. For the while, I received the company of a local old man, who approached me in wonder, and we had a chat about my imminent expedition. He was quite surprised by what I was just about to do: crossing the entire range: and especially so because I was going to do it all alone. I quenched my cigarette, bid farewell to my company, and continued on my way.
About half a kilometer after the village on the road leading northeast, by a sharp right turn, there starts the trail to Pizzo San Michele. At the first glance, the trail looked closed, a metallic gate blocking access. But upon a closer inspection, this seems to be there only to block access to motor vehicles. There is an opening left by the right side, marginally wide for a person to come through.
The trail was obvious and well marked. It mostly runs through a wonderful beech and oak forest. But, at points, there are some nice, wide openings, offering breathtaking views to the close-by mountains and all the way down to Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples. At times, especially towards its end, it gets quite steep. Nothing too daunting though.
A while before sunset, I finally made it to my today’s destination. It is the point where the road coming from Calvanico ends, where I should, according to my map, have found water. Not a drop. Fortunately, I have enough with me for the night and a good deal of way tomorrow. However, I am a bit concerned, as, so far, the mountain seems very dry and, evidently, I cannot give much faith to the map. Anyway, I’ll see tomorrow.
I may not have found water here, but -the good thing- I’ve found a little stone hut with a fireplace in it. The night feels chilly already. I’ve made a fat fire with the firewood I found already piled in here, and I am now making myself feel cozy in front of it. Unfortunately, my tent does marginally not fit inside the little room. I placed it right outside the hut, and shall, after the firewood’s done and the night advanced, perch inside my warm sleeping bag and rest. I have an adventure to continue tomorrow.