Mt Retaia last weekend

7 hours, 700m altitude gain, over 30 deg. C…. nice walk!

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The walk starts to climb steeply almost straight away, with views back down the street, across the city. Then it’s into the ‘gate zone’…

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Gated olives…

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But not all gated.
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One more mansion high on the slopes.
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Here it is from above, among its groves, looking out over the sprawl of Prato.

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Prato.
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Then the road heads into the forest and zig zags onwards, and onwards, and steeply!
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Getting close to the plateau, one of many alternative ways to explore.
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Here is the wonderful figtree – it was being ransacked by a couple who looked at me guiltily and said ‘buon collezione’ (good breakfast) and offered me one. I didn’t stop at one. And collected a bag full on the way back down.
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The ratty old farmhouse, complete with squalling cats.
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Morning light over the high farm and plains.
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There is my destination – Mt Retaia, all glorious 700 odd metres.
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Juniper?
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A patch of oak forest on the plateau.
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Looking out to the north east. After I was turned around by the goat dogs.
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Another old farmhouse,
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Swallows were whirling over the farmhouse.
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The alternative route to the top. It was pretty bushy for a while…
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But then picked up another old track where I met a couple of hunters descending with their dogs.
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Lizard.
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Hawthorn berries.
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Beetle.

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Thistle.
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Cross just beneath the summit, submissively. And shadily.

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Aspen? No maybe not… Looks like a relative of hops! In a saddle after the summit.
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Gall on rosehip.
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More.
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Another sort of thistle.
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Looking back towards the summit.
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The sought-after green lizards I had first seen back in 2002 (on Carsulae roman ruins). One of the few that moved slowly enough for me to photograph.

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On the way back down.
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I found a feather at the second summit, and left it behind.

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Jostling for nectar – one of the few sources still available. There were hardly flowers in bloom.
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Viburnum?
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Colchicum?

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Blackberries and rosehips.

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A patch of mixed cypress forest near the edge of the plateau. Reminds me of the Solomon’s Jewels, Walls of Jerusalem, without tarns. Which reminds me of something Italian… What signifies what?
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Back to the farmhouse.
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The shed (note roof rocks)
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And the farmhouse itself.
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Memento mori.
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Down into the forest, where I picked up a small path to descend by.

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The olive zone again.
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My plunder, including marble slab also harvested from the mountain. Will I take it home I wonder?
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More of the harvest.
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