The boulevard portion of the trail above the hidden path
The hidden path conjures up visions of internal spiritual journeys filled with challenges and unexpected gifts. It is why I find walking pilgrim roads so satisfying. As one walks along there is simply time to delve into the inner part of who we are while still having to cope with the outer part that is always admittedly more mundane. But the inner journey offers the possibility of great delights and joys. The author of our guidebook also loved this phrase as he used it exactly as stated to lead us out of San Stefano and onward to Sanselpocro. The phrase caught our eye as we were flipping the pages in our book and closely following our departure route this morning. The guidebook clearly stated that upon reaching the clearing look for the hidden path that leads downhill. In my opinion a guidebook is not meant to be a mystery novel so a hidden path should be replaced with something like the obvious path, but my protestations drifted away on the wind. So we were in the clearing and the only obvious path one can see is the one the book says not to take. What to do? For a start more patience was required to sort beneath what wasn't visible to try and find something that was that might set us straight. A bit of tall grass did show some crushing, but only just. Could this be it? Robin and I probed a bit more and honestly there was nothing there that a goat would walk on, but we decided to give it a go as there was nothing else. Our first steps sent us sliding down to where the wanna be path stopped literally at a cliff edge. The path was now about 8 inches wide, sloped towards the cliff edge and was surrounded by toe tripping scrub. Heart rates bolted for the stratosphere as we gazed down over the cliff to the rocky river bed 100 feet below. At this point we could only continue along this precarious traverse until either we fell into the river or found safer ground further along. Onward we went looking like we were walking through a minefield. One missed step and the results would have been the same. But, as I am now relating this bit of excitement it shows we found our safe ground and in fact made it all the way to Sanselpocro without any further drama. However I must admit that from now on when I hear the phrase "hidden path" I will remember this day, and it will not be my inner journey that comes to mind.
Epilogue. We are now safely booked into the Hotel Pazzo Magi in Sansepulcro (where a connonade of thunder is now raking the city) where a large warm room has sheltered us from the rain and hail that we just barely dodged. A quick dash outside into the rain yielded a 2005 Brunello di Montalcino and some wild boar salami. This Is holding us over as we await the dinner hour (8pm). Pilgrim progress to be sure. Buonasera.