4-Day Hike - Val Grande

Monday, 05. October 2015

by Martyn Bryant

End of the week before last week the school fragmented into several hike groups as per the 4-day hike tradition - in addition to exploring areas the school has visited before, one group went to Germany to walk along the Rhine Valley.

I accompanied Ashley and ten students to Val Grande in the Italian Alps near Domodossola.

Ashley has been hiking in the park for many years and knows it intimately. For instance, he knew that passing into the park for the first time through the pass at Alpe Ragozzale would give a magnificent view of the valley, the pristine forest and Lake Maggiore in the background.

As we descended deeper into the park through bands of trees - Ashley taught us the Larch, Spruce, Beech, Birch and the Ash (the tree from which his name originates). We ate parasol mushrooms and added wild spinach to pesto pasta

In the downtime around camp, sculptures and rock piles were made in addition to the grilling of seemingly 100s of sausages.

Three different students took it in turns, under Ashley’s guidance, to navigate, set the pace and manage the group dynamics and they did a very good job doing so.

Other groups in other regions saw the lunar eclipse but we were in thick fog at the time and could see little more than 10 metres away. To make up for it somewhat our mouths quickly eclipsed the Italian gelatos at the end of the hike.