This is something new, on two counts. It records a hike we took together in the country, The Squeeze and I. And it uses a new template I made specifically for photos. That is explained elsewhere.

Walking — hiking sounds too strenuous — is something I love to do, and while I have a terrific park nearby, for a long while now there has been nobody with whom I can go further afield. One walking friend got taken by Covid early on, and another planned walk had to be scotched too. Suddenly, out of the blue, The Squeeze, who never expressed much enthusiasm in the past, came home one night with a new pair of boots. And a friend (who walks with his family) raved about a walk very close to Rome. Game on.


I’m not going to describe the walk in any detail. It is very simple, very straightforward, and unmissable once you get to the parking spot, which involves a tricky bit of rutted road, but not impossible. So off we went.

The Squeeze fully equipped with (my) collapsible poles and new boots (not shown)

The Squeeze, fully equipped with (my) collapsible poles and new boots (not shown). She liked the poles a lot, which bodes well.

The path was very slightly tricky, with some parts being too stony and others a bit muddy, but in general it posed no great problems. And, as you can see, it was mostly relatively level. The ultimate goal of the walk is the ridge to the left, along which runs the border between Rome and Rieti, but we didn’t make it that far.

Looking along the track before it dips into the valley to climb up to the ridge

We didn’t make it much further than this, but it was plenty far enough.

The track went through a lovely patch of forest, lined with hellebores that were just coming into bloom, and then started to dip before climbing again. We stopped to let four fat blokes on four stocky horses go by, all very rural. That was where we decided to call it a day; no point pushing it too far.

Tree trunks illuminated by low sun

We went a bit farther, but not much, before turning back to find a lunch spot.

On the way we had noticed a nice slope to our left, which would give us a good lookout point to watch people on the track below while enjoying lunch. There is something so satisfying about a simple cheese sandwich (on my own bread) accompanied by dried fruit and nuts, good water and a couple of tangerines and — blessed be — the last of the banana bread.

Half a cheese sandwich held up in front of a very blue sky

And of course one of the best things about sitting still out in the open is that you notice things. Like little clumps of moss and some strange pink lichens and mini-wildlife, like hoverflies impossible to photograph. It was warm too, which helped massively.

Unidentified clump of moss

Not the world’s greatest photograph of a clump of moss, but it pleased me.

As we sat down for lunch we noticed a chap and his partner on the rise above us. He seemed to be doing an Andy Goldsworthy and stacking rocks to balance on one another. Being very English, I didn’t want to stare, take photographs or wander up and chat. They left while we were eating, and we went up afterwards to take a look. It was very impressive. I wonder how long it survived.

The Squeeze looking at a carefully balanced, sculptural stack of rocks

Looking closely, the stones had been very carefully aligned, and to me the whole effect resembled an eagle, at least from some angles.

And that was it. We walked easily back to the car, collected two carrier bags of pine cones to use as kindling and for decoration, and drove back to Rome deeply content. It may not look like much on the map courtesy of Aaron Parecki’s wonderful Overland/Compass combo, but it represents a new dawn. I hope.

Map of the walk

Which reminds me; I need to add the ability to include smaller images floated left or right. The blue marker is where we stopped for lunch.

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