The trek we did this week was pretty special for me. Not for the place as the Gran Paradiso National Park is been my home for all my life, but because of the group. The hike was very well organized by the tour operator Verticalife and I didn’t know much details about my customers except they come from Saudi Arabia and they were 14. I am not much used to big groups like that and it was very helpful and needed the presence of Giorgio, Verticalife’s soul. We did hike in any kind of conditions and the group was very flexible in learning the mountains rules: fatigue, uncomfort but also an amazing satisfaction. For almost all of the partecipants of the group was a new experience. In Saudi Arabia people are not used to do phisical activity and definitively hiking up at Vittorio Sella was not easy for everyone. The difference of Saudi Arabia and the Alps came out pretty much from the questions I did receive in these days: “is there a someone massagging my feet at the shelter?” “where is the mall in cogne?” “how many floors we hiked today?” 😛 In any case they really step up and find the way to enjoy these days in the marvelous valley of Gran Paradiso in this trekking.
Especially when it started a shower rain it was not so easy. It was very smart to buy ponchos so we arrived at the very cozy hut wet but not completely sopping. We also had amazing luck with wildlife: we spotted many chamoies, ibexes, marmots and even a very nice fox come to welcome us during our way up the hut. The hut was empty due to rain and we could go little bit up till almost the Lauson Ridge at 3000 meters with part of the group. In the afternoon of the second day we did have a nice relaxing day using the SPA of the hotel and roam around the beautiful village of Cogne. The third day we did divide into 2 groups. The bold ones came with me to climb up the Tsaplana Peak at 2600 meters while the other enjoyed the beautiful hike at Lillaz waterfall, one of the most famous Gran Paradiso National Park hiking. They also did relaxed before the rain started again. Meanwhile we did reach the Tsaplana peak with the “help” of a dog. He kindly guided us from the village of Gimillan till the peak running and playing restless in all our trek. The lansdcape was just breaktaking as you can see from the pictures. We did saw ibexes and a volture in this third day.
The 3 days hike was at the end an amazing experience for everybody. As a guide I did have to manage a 14 people group that was not easy but very interesting. For this nice arabs guys I think the experience was also pretty amazing as they are definitively not used to rain, water and all the flowers that are the usual landscapes of the Alps during this June season.
Shukran to everybody, starting from Verticalife, and for this marvellous experince!