30 June 2013

A hiking trip to Monte Greco, Ticino

July 2012

Hot Saturday and was planning to visit a beautiful small village on Ticino mountains, which one often sees while travelling back on forth of Blenio valley. Namely Monte Greco, aka Muncrech in local dialect.

The village laid on the edge of the mountain sharing the same name, on about 1150m above the sea. Looking at it down from the valley it really looked like it's hanging there on the edge.

Society and active people have renovated a church in the village. Heard also that they've prepared  hiking paths there (there's no car road for there, and hoping never would be).

Started my trip on foot from Motto village, further down on Valle di Blenio (about 400m above the sea). First walked via old railway path towards Malvagia, where the actual hiking path started.  The Blenio valley indeed used to have a railway, at least up until Acquarossa (to my knowledge). All rails have been removed and ancient path is hardly in any use now.

Old railroad path followed near Brenno river, which had crystal clear water even on summer time (and bloody cold!) From north of Malvaglia took a trail from Rongie to Pontei. Some heavy climb in the beginning raised heartbeat well enough.

The trail climbed along heavy forest, having some old open fields here and there.

Pontei, a small village, was on the mouth of Malvaglia valley. An Orino river was somewhere down below. A group of people experienced canyoning in there.  Followed the trail up till the old bridge, Ponti di Cane, and walked through the old bridge, to head further down the path up until the village of Cane. From Cane, started a renovated (or a new?) path towards Montegreco.

The trail was not easy to hike. There was still about 300m to go on vertical level. Crossing a small creek full of water was not the easiest task. There seemed to be more water than stepping stones were made for.

Wild strawberries interrupted the hike more often that shootings of photos. Sweaty but happy arrived on the open field which looked familiar, though seen it only down from the valley. Goats ate happily grass.

Sounds of building construction proved the village was not too far.  When arrived, it was satisfying to see almost the whole Blenio valley. It did look gorgeous.

Fresh water, a small break and towards the newly renovated church (or a chapel?). Fine handcraft work, newly glass paintings, a bell. Things to see, including the view towards Biasca.

For returning chose another trail, which came straight down to Malvaglia, via a Prastinei and Piughei villages. Along the trail were destroyed old stone houses, probably caused by avalanche (winter or summer time). Some old oak trees looked noble and massive.

When arriving on the road which headed to Malvaglia valley, took a short cut to see an old Roman time bridge, Ponte Lau. Awesome looking old bridge. Orino river was somewhere far below.

Another shortcuts via vineyards to see Malvaglia church. It had old restored paintings on its walls. A bell tower graced the yard.  Walked via the village and crossed the Brenno river, and walked via old trail towards Ludiano village.

Near Ludiano church grew Merlot grapes, which home made wine I've had privilege to drink several times (Salute!). There's a great Grotto in Ludiano, too (try risotto ai funghi).

Final view before the hike was over, an old San Pietro church in Motto (though another side of Brenno river). A masterpiece and renovated in good touch (well done Piero!).

Hard walk was behind, polenta with local dry sausage and cheese (with merlot) speeded up recovery from the heavy day (at least I was hoping so).

Ever since I see Montegreco, I look at it now on a different view than before, admiring people keeping it alive.


A view towards Montegreco

Careful work

Merlot in July

 There used to be a railroad here

Steps in Pontei

Ponte di Cane, crossing Orino river

A creek from Val Biasagn

A Room With A View (or at least with a chair)



Somebody's living room

A view towards the city of Biasca

Renovated church

To whom the bell tools

Modern old

Opposite view

Ruins of a house

A view towards Matro

A proof of handcraft

Trail in nice shade

A noble tree, namely

Nuts gone

Ponte Lau

A chapel

Valle di Blenio; Semione, Malvaglia and Ludiano villages in sight

A break

Something old becomes something new

One should cut trees/plants soon

Malvaglia church, a bit too much renovated?

No one's at home

How lively a local shop has been?

A grand old villa

Latest ads

Un liscio, per favore

Boy, there's been hours spent here

San Pietro, Motto

23 June 2013

Hiking and Mountain Biking on Los Peñasquitos Canyon

June 2013

San Diego county seems to be full of canyons. Though these are in small scale, type of valleys, they offer good trails for horse riding, mountain biking, trail running and hiking.  Many of them have a small river or a creek and typically have trees which provide nice shade for outdoor people at least for part of the trails.

Have visited a couple of times Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, which contain very nice trails for everyone (a PDF trail map can be found from here). First trip was made by hiking to waterfalls. Second by mountain bike to all over the canyon, climbing up and down slopes and making a short visit to Lopez Canyon, too. Both trips were started from Canyonside Community Park.

Most of the trails are under open sky, providing little or no shade for the burning sun. The trail near the creek has massive oak trees, which makes the trail popular. A small waterfall is a jewel of the dry canyon.

One must carry a lot of water as there are no places to fill in your bottles. Trails are tough sand, creating some dust. There's very little erosion, thus with a mountain bike one can have a smooth ride and can achieve a pretty good speed. Fun ride indeed!

Bought some days ago a hard tail, 29er, mountain bike. This was the real test for it. It turned out to be a fast one, rolling smoothly. Must admit that 29ers are really nice compared to smaller size ones. Looks like this is going to be my most wanted outdoor hobby from now on while still seeking a good kayaking club to join.

Route by mountain bike, about 35km (show a larger map):



Smell of rural life

For horses only


Shade for trailrunners

No shade

Ugly little creature

Soon arriving



A hideaway

A cave

An old fence

A dead palm tree

I wonder what Mr Eichar did on the canyon?

A short break before flying off

A break to get heartbeat under 100

3 litres of water