Let’s go today to discover the wonderful stretches of water in Antrona valley in Piedmont. A quite long trek, I must say, that provides about a thousand meters of difference in altitude but with one surprise after another, not only for the presence of alpine lakes. But, as usual, I don’t want to anticipate anything, read on and find out everything … Some technical details before you start: you can park your car near Antrona Lake, in the parking lot in front of Albergo Ristorante Lago Pineta. After ten minutes of walking you will reach the lake, with its beautiful emerald green waters. It is possible to do the whole tour of the lake, the round trip leads behind a waterfall, it is very nice. For reasons of time, we take some photos and decide to continue our trek.
Second stop: Campiccioli lake
The tour to discover the wonderful Antrona valley continues. After leaving Antrona Lake, the path begins to climb through the woods and allows us to reach the second destination, that is Campiccioli lake. The lake is a dam and here we stop to admire once again the colors of the nature that never cease to amaze: the lake of a beautiful intense green and the surrounding fir trees that stand out among the white rocks of the mountains. Over there the last snow on the highest peaks. After crossing the dam, the path leads into a very suggestive tunnel carved out of the rock. Continuing for about ten minutes we are greeted by a beautiful waterfall that flows into the lake. Here too there is no shortage of shots, the beauty of nature has to be immortalized.
Uphill towards the Cingino dam
Like any self-respecting trek now is the time for the real climb, the real effort and the real height difference. Leaving Campiccioli lake behind us, the path proceeds horizontally into the valley while the uncontaminated landscape continues to amaze us. We come to the junction, where the climb begins and since it is July, the heat make really itself feel . After about an hour and a half, the path takes us straight to a snowfield. Since we are a little tired and we need to recharge the batteries we decide to take a lunch break right here, in the company of the snow.
Cingino dam: lights… ibex… camera, action!
Another effort, about two to three hundred meters of height difference and the game is done, finally the Cingino dam will be ours. Here we are, after this infinite climb that has tested us, we find to welcome us, a “beautiful” leaden sky covered with clouds. And … The surprise ??? Well, all this effort had to be rewarded by something beautiful … Here they are, the ibexes walking on the steep wall of the dam, with a nonchalance that you can’t even imagine. Seen in the distance they appear as small dots moving, we get closer to observe them better. One of the peculiarities of this excursion is their presence, the ibex climb the wall of the dam to lick the saltpeter, essential to supplement their almost exclusively vegetarian diet.
Downhill along the tunnel with a penstock
Oh yes, this Antrona valley is a sequel of surprises you don’t expect … We say goodbye to the ibexes (in the meanwhile we became friends), crossing the dam and going down to the right, where the path continues. Shortly after, we come across an iron door that hides the penstock of Enel: from here we have to go down for about 3 km. The tunnel is dark and cold and there is room for only one person next to the penstock. Although the conditions inside are not optimal, I must say that I liked the tunnel experience, also because, with the complicity of my companions of adventure, we joked about the situation by simulating a sort of trailer from a “horror” film. For the first time in my life I had the opportunity to explore and to follow a penstock for a while, a particular experience that certainly does not happen every day.
And the round trip closes
Once out of the tunnel the path continues with an infinite downhill. If you wish, it is also possible to continue till Camposecco lake at 2.325 meters but, as usual, for time lapse, we have to go back. I must say that the downhill path is quite steep… at a certain point we are also surprised by the summer drizzle that accompanies us for about half an hour. We go down again and suddenly we find ourselves walking on the rails. The path goes down and down, in the last part we find ourselves going through a sort of jungle, have we done something wrong? No no, everything is under control, the path is correct, after a while a beautiful waterfall appears to our eyes. Sooner or later we arrive at the parking … at about 19:00 there we are, all quite tired but super satisfied by the day that the Valle Antrona gave us, with all its surprises and peculiarities.