18-Feb-2020 -- This is the second out of 2 confluence visits during a 3-day bicycle trip in Sicily. The story continues from 37°N 15°E.
On confluence day, I started in the early morning from the coastal town Fiumefreddo. Even though the straight-line distance to the confluence was only 30 km, it took me a good part of the day to reach it.
The confluence is located in a remote valley with steep gradients and dense vegetation. Prior to my visit, after examining the satellite picture I came to the conclusion that the confluence was best visited from the valley entrance, i.e. from the north. However, I approached it coming from the south and therefore preferred access from the south, which meant to begin the approach from the top and descend into the valley.
Standing 2 km south of the confluence, I had a great overview of the valley. Although the confluence is located on the western valley flank, I made the obviously absurd decision to climb down the eastern valley flank. Well, my reasons were that a) the eastern valley flank appeared to be not that steep, b) there were some ridable tracks on open fields and c) previous visitors who had approached from the west had fought heavily with thorny thickets.
I coasted down up to a distance of 500 m (not without an overturn, luckily without major harm neither on me nor on the bicycle). Then I hid my bicycle in the bushes and hiked down into the valley. Everything turned out very smooth and pleasant until I reached the valley bottom. The last 20 m before reaching the stream were almost vertical and dangerous to climb down. I somehow managed to descend it cautiously – but I cannot recommend my approach due to this dangerous obstacle. However, once at the valley bottom I followed a footpath up to a distance of 100 m (so you can actually reach the confluence without bush fighting). Then I ascended the last 100 m to the confluence. The vegetation wasn’t too bad but this is probably only true in Winter.
The confluence is located on a sloped terrain with ivy overgrown deciduous trees and a bushy groundcover.
Since I had to return to my bicycle, I didn’t follow the footpath out of the valley. Instead, I followed my old footsteps and climbed the dangerous terrace again. Then I cycled back towards Mount Etna and spent the night at its foothill in order to climb it the next day.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to a road: 300 m
- Distance to a track: 300 m
- Distance of bicycle parking: 500 m
- Time to reach the confluence point from the bike: 45 minutes
- Time at the confluence point: 1:36 PM
- Measured height: 922 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy: 4 m
- Topography: mountainous
- Vegetation: blackberry bushes, ivy overgrown trees
- Weather: sunny, 17° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Steep Valley Step Confluence
The story finishes here.