Antonio Meccanici – Molisetrekking – Winter holidays

Working as a mountain guide I love to spend my time walking throughout the year. Every season of the year provides a different perspective on one’s view of nature. Especially here in Molise. Even walking and hiking in wintertime here is wonderful, despite low, sometimes quite harsh temperatures.

The woods are beautiful without leaves as with the trees bare the trunks even more in evidence. Seen from afar, they seem to cover the mountainsides with black bewitching cloaks, like those of the pipers or the Agnone Ndocciatori¹. Close up, however they are covered mosses and lichens, creating an image resembling of old mottled skin. Incredibly they even seem to change from one night to the next. The arrival of icy frosting covers the forest like a white crochet blanket ,then when the snow arrives the trees often disappear, depending on which way the wind blows, it creates gentle white sloping curves across the landscape.

 

Yes, snow seems to cover everything yet, it also reveals so much. For example, animal footprints become clearly visible in the snow when often during the rest of the year they are difficult to discern. The snow makes it clear that the environment is even more alive than we think, allowing us to discover so much.

 

Then when the snow melts walking in the mountains often means treading on a carpet of brown or ochre leaves which form a dense and spongy pulp.

Even hiking in the hills and across the ploughed fields the colours of the differning soils and vegetation create a greater impact in winter as everything again is laid so bare providing a blank canvas just waiting to be explored. When you encounter even a stormy water course you can not help but to contemplate it and to consider just how small we are in comparison.

I want to share my passion for nature with you, so do come and walk with me.

Places to walk

I have created two winter walking trips, which allow you to discover two of the most beautiful mountain regions of Molise: the Apennine massifs of Matese and Mainarde.

 

The Matese Mountains, in Molise rise steeply from the Bojano plain, climbing majestically to over two thousand metres at Mount Miletto. Then in contrast isolated from the rest of the Apennines the Matese sits imperious, mammoth and sublime. Flanked by forests of beech and oak. Impressive caves and other evidence of its limestone and karst nature. Man’s impact too in the area too is of considerable importance as it left behind both Samnite and Roman cities, pagan temples and Christian churches. The origins of the Transhumance begin too as well as legends relating to highwayman and robbers.

 

In contrast the Mainarde Mountains do not lag behind, and are also a true spectacle of nature! Perhaps simply the fact that they belong to the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise is a guarantee of their extraordinary beauty, yet in addition they are teeming with wildlife from deer to chamois, from squirrels to hares, wolves and even bears. The forested mountains slopes rise steeply and in many places exceed two thousand meters. In fact, the highest peaks of Molise are here. Once again too the region is home to an interesting and varied history with the largest Benedictine monastery in Europe dating back the early Middle Ages right. And in this region too the paths beaten by the Italian Liberation Corps after the armistice of 8th September 1943, which can still be followed.

Living between these two mountain ranges is indeed an incredible bonus which I would love to share with you.

Experience and Equipment

“The trails of Matese on snowshoes” and “The trails of Mainarde on snowshoes” are hikes which are suitable only for people with at least some experience of mountain walking as well as walking in snow and ice. They are challenging and the weather may be inclement so therefore participants would be expected to bring suitable clothing. For all the hikes you will require you to have sustainable waterproof walking boots, and some may require snowshoes.

There are seven dates for the two walking and hiking trails.

For “The trails of Matese on snowshoes”:

  • 29 December 2018 – 3 January 2019;

  • 26 – 31 January 2019;

  • 23-28 February 2019;

  • 23-28 March 2019.

For “The trails of Mainarde on snowshoes”:

  • 12-17 January 2019;

  • 9-14 February 2019;

  • 9-14 March 2019.

The overnight stay is with at a fixed base and you stay in a farmhouse on the Matese trip and in a mountain hut on Mainarde trip.

For information phone (+39) 3331866182 or email info@molisetrekking.com.

I look forward to spending an exciting and memorable holiday exploring Molise with you.

Antonio Meccanici

 

¹ The ndocciatori are people that during the “‘Ndocciata” of Agnone, which takes place on December 8th and 24th, carry large white fir fagots on their shoulders (in dialect called ‘ndocce) burnt, giving life to a huge ” snake of fire “on the streets of the small town of upper Molise. The “fire procession” is the most famous folkloristic event in Molise linked to winter and fire rituals.

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