We are still alive here in Cinque Terre. To prove this fact I went out to see if the trails had any damage to them. I knew the problems in Monterosso and Vernazza were very bad and how much mud came down on them. So I started my trek in Riomaggiore. I had thoughts of washed outs and blocked trails. Due to the Via dell’Amore being closed I had to use a different way to get over to Manarola. I used my “above and beyond” trail to go, and found no real problems. When I reached the top and could see Volastra and Manarola below me, I decided to to go up the spine of this trail and head to Volastra.
From this upper point I could see all the brown earth seeping into the beautiful blue sea that surrounds Vernazza. I went up a dirt roadway that runs behind the villages, which is a forest road and cannot be not used by car without getting permission. It is really a fire road and used by the forestry to get into these areas, which they needed only a few weeks earlier as a fire was burning above Riomaggiore. This road had many mud puddles and I did see, that some small wash-outs had been fixed very easily.
Upon reaching Volastra and walking around the village, I did not see any problems. I watched an older couple working on their wine in their cantina, as I passed through the small clean alley-ways. I came to the trail which most people have used all summer to get to Corniglia. Due to the closure of the lower trail this passed winter/spring due to land slides, people have started to used this more and more. This trail starts off well, but does get a little thin in areas, here you need the right kind of shoes. As I started the trail, I noticed that was in great shape. The views from up there were wonderful and being a sunny warm day made it even better.
Soon I knew I would be coming up to an area that could be washed out, and I might have to turn back. Well to my surprise it was in fair condition, but rocks had come down and was a steeper descend then it was prior. I could see the path had a small break in it, as I now started back up on the original path. This is the second time this path has made a change in it, once in the winter/spring and now. Going right along, I looked back to see if I could spot these other people, but no sign of them. Maybe they didn’t understand the path of the trail or they just turned around. I will admit that some of the trails I take do not have trail markers on them, or some just are hidden from view. Due to the changes this trail has made, they are just gone in spots.
If you are trekking and notice no trail markers, look at the ground for foot movement or back-track your steeps and keep looking for signs. As I came upon one of the open areas of this trail, which had a great photo shot of Corniglia from above, I now noticed fallen pine trees.
These trees have some type of beetle killing them and it is wide spread here in Cinque Terre. I started to notice this a year ago on the trail to Portovenere, which was always a cool area to walk in the shade. Now I see how it has reached above Corniglia as well. During this storm that caused all the damage, we had very high winds as the two fronts came together, forcing these sick trees down. I also looked at the trail and it showed signs of heavy running water.
As I started the trail down into Corniglia I could see the stone wall covered with mud and the water had forced the small stones out of it which holds it together. I turned the corner, only to find two people drinking water and we exchanged greetings. I asked where they were going and they replied Manarola. I gave them a couple of tips about how to go down from Volastra. I also told them to be sure to keep track of the time, due to the fact that it gets dark earlier now. As we started to leave I asked them where they were coming from (really wanting to know if they came from Vernazza), he answered Singapour. I laughed and told them, now I know why you are sweating and thirsty. They also laughed and said Corniglia, before they said good bye.
I came into the village watching a crew of men cleaning up a downed tree and some fallen rocks from the roadway. I walked into the village to take a look down at Venazza and Monterosso, only to see that brown water from both villages.
Going back to Riomaggiore by train was a little bit of a wait, due to the trains not all up and running. With only one tunnel open in Vernazza and not speeding by like normal, it will take a while. But to think Cinque Terre is closed, is not accurate and we want to see you year round, not just in the summer. I do understand that January and February can be tough months, so give us 10 out of 12 and it is still pretty good.