QTVR Virtual Walk: Etna Huts
A jeep track connects Rifugio Sapienza to Piano Provenzana. It follows the western flank of Etna roughly following the counter of 1700m.a.s.l. In the 1980ies several huts, originally constructed from local basaltic stones, were restored. They facilitate a fascinating trek, taking several days, during which one encounters some of the most remote parts of the volcano. These cubic panoramas may convey sample impressions from along this route. Map adapted from image ISS020-E-8619, courtesy of NASA.
5. November 2009, 3pm. A quick lunch at San Giovanni Gualberto Hut (1740m.a.s.l.) just below the cinder cone Monte Denza, before leaving for Rifugio Galvarina, a 2 hour walk away.
5. November 2009, 5pm. After a strenuous walk we reach Galvarina Hut (1873m.a.s.l.) at sunset where we enjoy a wonderful view of Etna, whose summit remains hidden by a typical orographic cloud; Monte Pecoraro is just below.
6. November 2009, 7am. After a cold night spent in Galvarina Hut, it is time to start the fire and prepare breakfast: however it's really hard to leave the warmth of our sleeping bags...
6. November 2009, 11am. The weather has rapidly deteriorated, as is often the case during autumn on Etna. In order to avoid the worst rain we briefly stop at a quite small hut along the jeep track, just before reaching the October 1999 lava flows.
6. November 2009, 1pm. After another long walk we reach the second hut, Rifugio di Monte Scavo (1704m.a.s.l.). Contrary to the previous one, we find water here to prepare Italian pasta. However we have to use our pot to collect it from the deep well...
7. November 2009, 7am. Another breakfast in front of the fire, heating water to prepare tea just after having roasted chestnuts which found the day before in Etna's woods. The special frying pan we bought in Nicolosi.
7. November 2009, 10am. The days are passing quickly, soon we have to go back. We leave our equipment in the Monte Scavo Hut and take a detour up to the northernmost hut we can reach, Rifugio di Monte Maletto (1698m.a.s.l.). It is on the south slope of a tall cinder cone.
7. November 2009, 12am. After leaving Monte Scavo Hut, we enjoy a spectacular view of Etna's western flank: the lava flows and young cinder cones erupted from 1832 to 1848. South of them, the fresh black lava flows erupted on October 1999 by Bocca Nuova are clearly visible in front of Monte Rosso cinder cone.
8. November 2009, 7am. After the last night spent in Rifugio di Monte Palestra (1905m.a.s.l.), one of the many huts on Etna, we have a quick breakfast and then prepare our backpacks. The roaring fire helps us prepare for another cold and rainy day.
8. November 2009, 7am. Here also rainwater is conducted from the roof into a tank, this time in a pit on the south side of the hut. A last cup of tea before leaving towards Rifugio Sapienza - yet again in the rain...
8. November 2009, 1pm. We return to our car at the parking lot at Rifugio Ariel (1685m.a.s.l.). Here we enjoy lunch in the sunshine at the picnic point at the entrance of Mount Etna Park, looking at the fresh snow which has recently fallen on this great volcano.