After far too long away from the mountains cabin fever was starting to set in so, having dropped the menfolk off to help out on a friends new roof, Zed and I set our sights on Monte Monega, a hilltop we’d skirted on a couple of occasions but never summited.
Our starting point was Case Fascei, high above Montegrosso Pian Latte, by way of a road we hadn’t travelled before. The weather was looking a bit patchy with possible cloud covered tops but we were really desperate for some altitude so pushed on anyway.
The path starts of as a track at the end of the tarmac road from the village of Casa Fascei – which looks to have been completely renovated and using the original materials making it very cute.
We pass a very impressive potato field, being tended manually by a local guy who no doubt keeps very fit hoeing his vegetables. From here we turn right and wend our way up steeply through the trees on a fairly well signposted path which we only lose on one occasion due to daydreaming and soon pick up again. We make heavy work of this but eventually pop out into the open, a very well kept rustico with an impressive solar array and cow herd on our left and grassy banks to our front and right, covered in wildflowers giving off a heavenly scent.
Afraid the cloud was about to engulf us we quickly scampered up to have a peep over the edge and were rewarded with beautiful clouds and Monte Guardia peeing out intermittently.
We’d reached another track by now – the Via Marenca – and we followed this for a short time until we got to the signpost which pointed us in the direction of Monte Monega. It was an easy hike up a grassy slope from here and aside from a strange dizzy spell (maybe from having a big dslr with a 100-400mm lens slung around my neck) we were quickly up at the top. There were remains of what were probably old fortifications and a metal cross, typical of many peaks in the region, and what has to be one of the best views we’ve come across so far, and let’s face it, the bar was already set pretty high. (It was so good in fact that we went up again two days later to show Ted and Joe and were rewarded with very clear views of the mountains, giving us some great ideas of where to go next).
Although we would have loved to linger longer the clouds were building fast and we didn’t want to get risked getting caught in a storm (which we did manage to do two days later, thankfully just after we’d dropped off the summit ridge). We headed back along to the Passo Pian Latte where the mist came up and surrounded us briefly, nothing to concern us given the size and quality of the track. The occasional fleeting flash of light lit up the landscape in verdant green.
From here we took the track down as opposed to retracing our steps through the trees, it made for a longer circular walk and took us through some very beautiful flower meadows before arriving back at the car. A thoroughly rewarding and uplifting hike, and one I would recommend to anyone who’s good for an hour and a half slog up.
We hadn’t completely run out of energy though and on the road down we passed a sign saying the Cascata d’Arroscia was only half an hour away, and although we were a little pushed for time it was far too tempting to ignore, having heard about these legendary waterfalls. We fast walked/ran the route and managed to get there and back in about 35 minutes give or take the odd stop for a quick iphone snap – there were some fantastic trees besides the path. The waterfall had it’s charms, and reminded me of being in the jungle in Sri Lanka, but compared to the waterfalls we’ve got used to in Scotland, Iceland and the Faroes it was a bit of a whippersnapper in truth.
It was definitely time to call it a day after this so we headed home, just pausing for a refreshing dip much lower down this same river, in Borghetto D’Arroscia.
You can see both the routes by clicking on the links below:
https://www.relive.cc/view/1682374135 (excuse the typo)