Pure Selvaggio Blu
Travel notes by Gioele Poddine
The story you are about to read has nothing to do with the“Selvaggio Blu”trek that you all know. Not because this story is about anything else, but simply because the Selvaggio Blu you’ve heard about from friends, photos on instagram or agency advertisements, doesn’t even vaguely have the heart and soul it should have. It’s not YOUR Selvaggio Blu!
Everything I write, that is, what I have matured during this journey, I owe to my companions of adventures – Marti and Giulio – and to Gigi – a Sardinian with a great and infinite passion for his land.
Well, let’s start: as everyone knows, Sardinia is a land as welcoming on its shores bathed by the sea, as it is rugged in its hinterland. For this reason, many lovers of wilderness and trekking undertake the famous crossing of the Supramonte of Baunei, called with the famous name of Selvaggio Blu!
But what exactly is it? What’s special about it? I was wondering about it myself before I went to find out and I certainly won’t reveal it here, but I can give you some clues. Along the 50 km of route there are neither real paths nor shelters. Water is absent and the only way to survive the 5 long days of trekking is to bring everything you need to survive in your backpack! You can rely on the few shepherds who live on the territory for only two nights, after having brought them before the start of the trek the necessary supplies and water supplies.
So what? What’s beautiful? It is an adventurous trek, full of abseiling in the void, passages overlooking the sea, dives in the most remote Sardinian coves … and more! Cannonau, porceddu cooked directly by the shepherds on the fire, caves and natural galleries, exposed juniper stairs built for goats …
The route, in addition to being already difficult to find, has numerous variations to fully satisfy the fantasies of those who anticipate it. Thanks to these characteristics it becomes an extremely personal and engaging journey, to the point of being compared to an expedition! The logistics of supply, the sustainedness of the difficulties, are just some of the efforts that must be able to face before reaching Cala Sisine, the much coveted as a simple destination, which serves as a pretext for the Selvaggio Blu! And believe me, when you get there, the emotion will be so much …
P.S. In truth there would be a way to always walk with a half-empty backpack, that is, to get help from jeeps or rafts for the logistic service of food and furnishings, but in my opinion it is a pity to ruin a pure and wild adventure face to face with unspoiled nature. Making a crossing in a clean style, looking for the essentiality of the materials, the union of the companions of adventure, the beauty of detoxification from technology will give you not only an emotion that few can feel, but it will change your life a little …
THE STORY OF OUR ADVENTURE
When I decided to undertake the crossing of the Supramonte of Baunei, I knew little or nothing about the route and the spirit that animates it. I knew that there are agencies that deal with the logistics of food and water for trekkers, bringing you from day to day everything you need for bivouacs with the dinghy. In fact, the Supramonte is devoid of housing structures, roads and in particular, water sources. It is a barren promontory, with predominantly calcareous soil and shrubby vegetation. In the past it was used only for poor sheep farming and for the production of coal in those sporadic wooded areas. It’s Wild!
I didn’t like it! What kind of adventure into the wild is it if every day I have to find myself by the sea waiting for a dinghy to bring me beers and fresh bread?
It wasn’t for me, I wanted something special, something unique. I wanted a free experience, one that was just mine!
According to my study of the itinerary we would have been able to make the crossing in five days, enjoying it in a big way. I wasn’t going to be in a hurry or not spend as much time as I needed in the fantastic coves I would encounter along the way. Five days – four bivouacs.
Doing a quick count of the water that would be needed – about 3l per day – the weight of the backpack would have become too heavy on our enjoyment of the holiday. It’s okay to suffer a little… but to exaggerate no, thanks!
I therefore decided that every two days I had to meet a supply of food and liquids, and since I had decided to repudiate the support boat, and I did not yet know Gigi and his strategic contacts with the shepherds, the only solution left was to ambush the stocks by land, reaching the path transversely in two points. So the first day of vacation we would have spent doing wild rallies on the Sardinian dirt roads to get as close as possible to the sacred points chosen.
I had heard of a variant of trekking that after Cala Golorizzè, instead of crossing the Bacu Boladina, remained low on the edge of the coast up to Cala Mariolu. I knew little about this variant and decided not to read up any further. I wanted to avoid finding out too much about timing and track, to really have the taste of the unexpected on the tip of the tongue.
End of September. Here we are in Sardinia.
Leaving aside, for reasons of time, the part related to the preparations, between shopping, car stuck in a horrendous dirt road and putting in place supplies in locus anti-goat attack, we are leaving!
On the first day, being well stocked, the backpack weighs a lot. Our shoulders are not yet trained and together with the legs they compete with those who suffer the most the long climb under Punta Giraldili. It is an abnormal heat for the season, so much so that we are forced to literally squeeze the shirt several times to dry it from sweat.
My companions are a bit perplexed… we are not regular trekkers, we are climbers or mountaineers; pure walking does not convince us much. So a little discouragement affects our conviction. However, we quickly adapt the eye to find the right path, which often tends to disperse in the Mediterranean scrub, and the game of finding the path makes us gradually forget about the fatigue. Soon (so to speak) we complete the more than 20 km that unite the first two stages of the route, from Santa Maria Navarrese to Porto Cuau, where we will spend the first night.
The first night we are a bit disappointed… we had a nice day, joining with a line on the map a great route. We are very proud of this, especially considering the heavy load of the backpack we were carrying. What leaves a bitter taste in our mouth is to arrive at the camp area, after a whole day in absolute solitude, immersed in unspoiled nature and meet almost 200 people crammed into the small pitches in charge, or crowded to unload their ‘basic necessities’ from the rubber pads, such as trolleys with dress for the evening, half-kilo beauty houses equipped even with electric beard trimmers and fresh water tanks for the shower!
We are baffled. We would like to escape, to leave that general market. This irritates us very much. We’ve been in the middle of nowhere all day, just us with our fucking backpacks, and now we have to spend the night stuck in the middle of the mall on Christmas Sunday? Anything wrong.
Settled on top of a hill, a bit narrow and uncomfortable, we observe from above the rituals of the savages in flip-flops. Finally, we go to sleep under an expanse of stars, sincere.
The rest of the route was now clear to us: we would have made the stages of our head, choosing the bivouac seats independently from those that advise the paper guides, so linked to the rafts … And so it was. The following days we savored the most beautiful reflections that the sea has ever thrown on the limestone, we admired the daring art with which the shepherds in past centuries created passages on the walls to reach their livestock. Standing ball to shoulder to admire every sunrise over the sea from our sleeping bags, together with my companions has created a routine of mutual collaboration that I have rarely had the opportunity to observe so much synergy between people.
Together we faced exposed traverses on crumbly rocks, abseiled into the void, long branched caves, wine, via ferratas, truly wild Mediterranean jungle, cultural, ideological and human encounters with locals, like Gigi, like the shepherds, who really know that land and who have a special and very deep relationship with it.
It was therefore an isolated journey in the wild, but very rich in ties and knowledge.
In particular, meeting Gigi during the bivouac in the cave of Cala Mudaloru, made us understand how much the Selvaggio Blu, if lived in a certain way, is a journey that goes far beyond having a new profile photo on instagram. This crossing is an expedition! It consists of intermediate fields, difficulties of water supply and gastronomy. You are dealing with a barren land, which at every corner offers unexpected pitfalls and wonderful views.
Gigi and his friends beat these lands for passion, discovering the logical passages, the spectacular ones and the useless ones. They make Selvaggio Blu with backpacks full of meat to roast in the evening, and in their supplies they hide wine and cheese instead of water and bread! They know the pashtori,and they let themselves be told about the land. They help them, offering them shelter for the night and reliable as well as genuine support points for bivouacs.
And all this is only the background where with friends, simply, you smile.
The Alpine Guides of AlagnaSkiGuide can accompany you in the Crossing of the Supramonte of Baunei, called Selvaggio Blu, with ethics and aesthetics. Ours wants to be a journey that changes not only the photo of your profile on instagram, but also your vision of wild, adventure, company. As already mentioned, this is an expedition, and everyone must be involved in its preparation. We will be a team, a team!
It will be more tiring perhaps, but we are sure that the effort will be completely rewarded, and will remain forever imprinted in your lives!
1)HARD TIMES ON THE SEA:
On the third day we faced the “variant on the sea”, the most insidious stage of our tour, which with a rough via ferrata joins Cala Golorizzè to the beautiful Cala Mariolu.
After that, I had information that a trail track continued from Mariolu, heading north, to Muradulu… what a nightmare! The path (so to speak) was barely located, and in some places it passed on exposed crumbly canals 200 meters overlooking the cliffs.
Not two meters passed that it was necessary to look around to be sure that they had not been lost too much … sawn twigs, some old shoe marks were our only gps tracks to follow in that jungle.
After two hours of navigation, always at the head of the group, I was upset. Marti was tired and began to have visions of a nice swim on the beach, while wondering why in the holidays we struggle more than in the rest of the year; Giulio, on the other hand, was in his world, going slowly and getting too distracted to take photos and videos to send simultaneously to friends.
To a certain blur: “guys, I can’t go on pulling a trailer anymore. Help!”
Seeing my face, pale and tired, my friends instantly understood what their task should be. Giulio put himself at the head of the group and Marti became strong, keeping between himself and if the small complaints that in that delicate moment only went to lower the threshold of stress that I bearable. And an hour later we were at the mata!
What had happened? Perfect teamwork! I was very proud of my friends!
2)THE LAST DAY:
How did I end up Selvaggio Blu? Finally, the reader will be wondering “who knows what emotion in the end, the arrival in Cala Sisine … come on!”
Well, no, we didn’t get there. Did I say or not that he wanted to be a Selvaggio Blu in my own way?
What would have been the last night, we went up the Bacu Padente to Olobizzi, where my little brother was unexpectedly waiting for us, in addition to the second load of supplies. We all have dinner together, invited by Gigi and companions to share a grilled pork. And so speaking, we discover a magnificent variant that after the gorge of Sa Nurca leads to Cala Biriala with a frightening descent of 50 m on the beach. My brother Sim and Ele, his girlfriend, are entusuasti. At the same time, Giulio and Marti feel teased at the thought of walking a little less and spending a nice day in an open space like that of Biriala. So it’s soon decided, our tour will end at Biriala Beach!
The next day we say goodbye to Gigi, Franz, Urs and Paolo, wishing them our best wishes in enjoying their much coveted Sisine cove, while we walk with much lighter backpacks towards the Piddi sheepfold.
For the last time we wear helmets and harnesses and we venture into the deep and narrow gorge of Sa Nurca, which immediately leads to a cantilever on our crystal clear destination: Cala Biriala.
With a pair of double ropes and a short downhill path we are immediately cantilevered on the beach. 50 m separate us from the bathsciuga. 50 m of overhang.
For the last time we throw the ropes and one after the other, with gestures now habitual we descend, excited, along the rope.
Once on land, we undress and all together we dive into the sea!