Alta Via 1 - Day 7
After waking up, we packed our tents without seeing anyone. The route passed through forests over a relatively large dirt road. This part of the AV1 was one of the easiest. Soon, we reached the next hut, where we ate breakfast. I still had enough freeze-dried food and granola for two days, but it was hard to eat that while there was fresh and cheap food being sold everywhere.
The scenery was beautiful, and although there was still a good amount of climbing involved, hiking went pretty smoothly. We decided to take a detour over a much less trodden trail separate from the AV1. The trail mostly passed through a forest along mountain ridges with small villages on the valley floor below. We had thought this would be a relatively leisurely stroll, but quickly discovered how wrong we were. This was one of the tougher sections of our entire trip.
We were climbing and steeply descending for hours, again in very warm weather. The trail was also less smooth because much fewer hikers passed through there. We met someone who worked for an AV1 self-guided hiking book organization. He was evaluating if this trail would be a good detour. That seemed like an interesting job, at least for a few weeks a year. There would be a shelter halfway along the route, but first, we would have to climb even more steeply. The trail went almost vertically uphill, changing from a sandy trail into loose rocks. The last part required us to climb using our hands. Shortly after, we reached the shelter. We didn't know what to expect, but it was a nice hut with a river and several people from the nearby village that had come up from the other and much easier side. Although it was only lunchtime, we cooked dinner and took a long break.
Well rested, we continued our route. The trail passed over bare rocks and occasional small forests. Near the evening, we were on top of a large hill in one of the scarce forests, and after some searching, I found a section where we could pitch our tents. I proposed to Koen to sleep there, but he said he didn't want to sleep in a forest in case there were wild animals again.
That meant we had to make a huge descent. Unfortunately, no level or soft area was anywhere in sight at the bottom. We continued walking over bare rocks in the hot sun, and it took an hour before we found another place to sleep. This place was also in the middle of a forest, but differed from the previous spot in that we would have to camp on an incline and on the trail. There was also a village close by, so we hoped we wouldn't get caught, although at this point we didn't really care anymore. We quickly pitched our tents and went to sleep.