Pantalica Solarino to San Lorenzo
Most probably my second to last day. Mentally it has never been an easy day. Lots of things going through my head. But then again, the beach is calling and that will boost my motivation for sure.
The day starts with 25 kilometers of road walk. Not much to say about that. It's still dark when I encounter a pack of wild dogs on the road. Before hiking in Italy, it would have freak me out but after so many experiences, I just 'shhhhh' them away.
Without taking off my backback, I cover the 25 kilometers in one go and only stop at the first beach for a swim. Gosh, it feels great. Azzurro water, extremely clear.
From then it's partly beach, partly road. The hike only gets interesting, once I enter
Riserva naturale orientata Oasi Faunistica di Vendicari. Following the official E1 (no markings though), I have to climb over walls and fences. On my left side, the cliff steeply drops into the sea. Eventually, I have to find my way down as well. To steep to descend with my backpack, I have to throw that poor thing down first, me climbing down behind.
I follow a beach and then another one. That's where the naked Dutchy comes into play. Because I stand in front of a estuary, with no plan where to cross. On satellite images it looked harmless enough. In reality not so much. The Dutchman sees me cluelessly standing there at the nudist beach. In German he explains that he has observed several other people crossing from that tree to that small pole than to the big pole, where it will get more than waist deep. So I'd have to hold my pack above my head. Wow, what a description and super accurate. I do a "dry" run without pack and it's exactly as described. So I put everything into drybags and tackle the crossing. Somehow funny that on my second to last day I have my deepest river crossing on E1 and possible of my whole thru-hiking career.
From then on, walking gets easier and I have time to enjoy the lovely coastal walk. Being a nature reserve and due to turtles laying eggs there, access to the beach is heavily restricted. I was planning on camping there but no chance. So I keep on going, leaving the reserve. Once the next town is only a few hundred meters away, I finally spot a promising looking place. I am waiting until shortly before sunset before pitching my tent. Just to be save. Not that I expect any troubles.
Some people are passing by, all friendly smiles.
Having walked further than planned leaves me with a rather short day tomorrow. No need to hurry. I'll enjoy sunrise, go for a coffee into town before tackling the last few kilometers to Sicily's southernmost point.