CORTE BUE' AND MONTE FAIE'
Hiking in the wilderness of the Valgrande National Park between panoramas and ancient villages.
When we talk about wilderness in northern Italy we are talking about Valgrande National Park between Lake Maggiore and Ossola Valley in Northern Piedmont. With a nice group of hikers we went hiking into this “green lung” just 70 km from Milan!
We started from the beautiful Alpe Ompio where the infamous 4g signal hardly arrives.
We climbed first to Riugio Fantoli where we took a path that with a few small climbs and a more decisive descent took us towards the valley floor where finally we can enter the Wilderness: how do you notice that? the cell phone does not have signal and for the rest of the day you do not hear the various "tin tin" "fiuiii fiuii" "trin trin" and people stop calling and texting compulsively. Peace of mind at last!
Valgrande is surrounded by steepy, woody and rocky mountains, If you want to access its valleys it is necessary to climb to a pass and then descend to reach the bottom. The easiest access route, with little climb, is from Alpe Ompio.
Without reaching the stream, we reached a small mountain pasture and following a beautiful path in the woods we arrived at the peaceful village of Corte Buè. This small mountain hamlet was once a village of woodcutters and shepherds. Today this small village is completely uninhabited, but many huts have remained intact. In this place we can feel the culture of people dedicated to work in the mountains. Industrialization and the two world wars have caused the sudden depopulation of these valleys.
I have lots of little story to tell about this valleys and mountains. In this pretty village we take a break, we have time to stroll around the hold houses. We enjoy the beautiful spring sun admiring the beautiful view towards Monte Pedum.
This mountain is not the highest of Valgrande National Park, but it has a difficult trail if you want to climb to the peak and it is at the center of this wild area. Its summit is made up of a vertical rock face on the south side, while the remaining parts are rocky channel (couloir) and steep and rocky meadows. The whole area around this mountain has become an "integral reserve", it is a protected area where it is not even possible to go hiking. This is used by scientists to study the forest evolution without any human influence.
In Corte Buè there is also a huge chair that becomes the place for a nice group photo.
After the break, we must go up to reach the top of Mount Faiè. This part of the trail will be the most tiring because the climb is constant and, in some places, quite steep. The reward of the effort will be the wonderful panorama that can be admired from this modest peak.
Meanwhile, as we go up, we can admire once again the splendid alpine village of Corte Buè immersed in the dense vegetation of the Valgrande National Park.
We face the climb with a regular pace so that we can save our energies and after about an hour of walking we finally arrive at the panoramic Colma di Vercio where the view opens towards the Val d'Ossola, the Toce river, Monte Rosa as well as the peaks of the Simplon on the border with Switzerland.
Now we only have to walk on the ridge that finally takes us to the top of Mount Faiè where some hikers still find the strength to make a leap of joy!
At the top of the mountain, we take a second break, where we can finally eat something with a marvelous view.
From the top the descent will not be long. The first section in the woods will be a bit steep and requires attention as it is sometimes slippery, but the path is always wide and it is not dangerous.
After the descent we can stop at the Fantoli Refuge for a cold beer before returning to the cars. This was a nice trip where culture, nature, views and the beauty of the places have enriched us. A highly recommended and beautiful trail where you only need to be a little trained and fit, but which will give you a lot of satisfaction.