Monday, July 9, 2007
On Sunday morning I had a brief meeting and coffee with the other new tutors and my camp director, Bruna, to discuss a loose outline for our Cuneo camp. High on Bruna's agenda was to ensure that a Risotto del Pescatore, salad, fruit, and coffee would be a suitable lunch for our first day...I love Italy!
I said quick good-byes to the team and hopped in the Panda with the boys to begin our 6000 foot ascent to il rifugio Genova-Figari, but not before making a pit stop to buy lunch fixings in Entraque; a colorful and spirited village that epitomizes this region of Piemonte. Two of the boys went in search of pane while Alby and Andrea hand-selected a variety of meat and cheese. I explored the adjacent antique shop and took some photos with my temporary digital camera, on loan from my incredibly generous host father, Mario!
Back in the car, my nagging Moscato-induced headache swiftly subsided as I breathed the fresh Alpine air, noshed on prosciutto and listened to a Beatles compilation. After a few wrong turns we finally arrived at the base of the mountain and it was breathtaking. The terrain was rocky but never too steep, and the trail wasn't at all crowded so we climbed at a steady but leisurely pace. We splashed through trickling streams and hopped from stone to stone, avoiding soggy shoes and socks. After about 1.5 hours we arrived at the sparkling turquoise Lago Brocan and found just the right lunch spot between a few large rocks. Suddenly my trekking buddy Marco unveiled the most spectacular fleece I have ever seen. It really speaks for itself, but in case you need proof, here it is.
The sun slipped in and out of the clouds as we all took a delightful nap. When we awoke the clouds had become ominous, and then the raindrops hit us. Waterproofing ourselves and our gear, we began the descent with more caution than before and enjoyed the misty vistas that accompanied the rain. A curious "Camoscio" wandered onto the trail with no trepidation and proudly posed for my camera before wandering back into the dusk.