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travel {to} live

The Alta Via dei Monti Liguri Part I

“The high way of the Ligurian Mountains” is what it means.  This 400+ km trail from Ventimiglia to Ceparana is designed to provide the means to explore the interior of the Ligurian mountains of the Italian Riviera.

I decided to start the trail from the “end” in Ceparana and work my way backwards towards Portofino.  When I arrived in Ceparana, I found a visitor center with two very friendly gentlemen who not only gave me free topo maps (if I had only known this beforehand, it would have saved me a lot of searching ;)), but also shared a spot of focacchia and vino with me to send me on my way.  On top of that, I got a ride to the trailhead!  This was an unexpected surprise and certainly a great way to start my hike.

This is without question the most well-marked European trail (maybe any trail) I have hiked.  Signs and painted red and white stripes on trees and rocks guide you every step of the way.  The topo maps even indicated food and lodging locations.  The map doesn’t provide names and phone numbers of lodging establishments, and even though this information is available on the AV web site (, the map would obviously be the best place when in the backcountry. This is very critical because there is only a handful scattered throughout the trail that are guaranteed to be open – one per day’s hike – and this is the ONLY place you are going to find food and most of the time water as well (most streams were dry).  Naturally, the days when I packed lightest in regards to food and water, both were in scarce supply and long distances apart and when I loaded up with extra water I ended up crossing streams all day 😉  Gotta love Murphy.

First night camping along the trail was interesting.  There was no natural water supply near my campsite, so I walked to a nearby home to ask for some water only to be attacked (quite literally) by a pack of small dogs and pointed to some mysterious source I never found.  Lesson learned – next time pack extra water 😉  Then back at the campsite, four animals ran around a corner of forest by my campsite and we of course scared each other to death and they were gone in a flash.  Small deer?  No…  Small coyotes? No…  Holy gigantic jackrabbits Batman!  I had no idea rabbits could get that big – yikes!  Hope there’s no mosquitoes here 🙂


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