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Sardinia: Selvaggio Blu Trip Report

Touted as Italy’s most remote hike, the Selvaggio Blu on the island of Sardinia repeatedly came recommended. Finally, Nicholas over at Planet Mountain advised me to have a look at Marcello Cominetti’s Guide Star Mountain Site for photos, I did so, and was sold.

I contacted our great friend and prolific writer, Tim Neville, we discussed it, pitched the story around to some magazines, and a week later had ourselves an assignment. Marcello provided invaluable information for the article, so we opted to go along with him serving as Guide.

Beginning on the southeastern part of the island in a small village called Santa Maria Navarrese, the trek creeps along the towering limestone seacliffs above the Mediterranean. As you weave your way through forests, wander through limestone corridors, and pass by ancient shepherds shelters, the Mediterranean sea, azure and cool far below, awaits the evening’s descent to camp. The tagline “Most Remote” does indeed hold true. For the first time in my 8 years of trekking in Europe, I never once felt like I would run into anyone along the trail.

The same did not hold true for the beaches we descended to. While we would emerge from the land side of the beach, all the many sunbathers would arrive via boat. The beaches are isolated bits of paradise along what is actually a vertical coastline, access is by water only, unless of course you are working your way along the Selvaggio Blu.

Tim, Janine and I wandered along behind Marcello, listening to all the fascinating history of the area and Sardinia. Sardinia is part of Italy yet has its own and decidedly unique history due to its position as an island between Africa, Spain and Italy.

For our last night, we found ourselves in a cave 40 meters above the water perched in the wall of stone. Our food had been dropped off by boat and in our stash was a bottle of the local red wine. At this point, we realized that all four of us were “working”, and that our “work” was confirmed to be blissfull. We laughed well into the night.

The final day included several rappels and some easy climbing before we stumbled from the trees and straight onto yet another white beach with azure waters lapping the shoreline. That, and a bar with the local beer served ice cold.

Some friends once told us that after all their trips, they do a best of/worst of report. So, while the above is general info for the Selvaggio Blu, now it is time for a more personal report with the results mixed, you decide if it is best or worst of:

  • Mosquitos in mass quantities one night, no protection, too hot to lay in sleeping bag. Marcello looking like Rocky Balboa

  • The Euro beach scene

  • Asino kisses

  • Beers in the food drops

  • Cell service in our cave

  • The color azure

  • 3 hours sleep in the car outside the Milano airport

Stay tuned for Tim’s slideshow, including compromising photos of Dan’s photography techniques. Also, a full gallery of some real photos from the trip.

Many Thanks to these outstanding hosts…

Guide Star Mountain: http://www.guidestarmountain.com
Rifugio Goloritze: http://www.coopgoloritze.com
Albergo Santa Maria: http://www.albergosantamaria.it

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Comments 3

  1. Hi Dan,
    I went on Tim’s site but did not find any COMPROMISING photo techniques!!!
    It must have been a nice trek, though it sounds weird to me that one must rappel down a cliff on a hike…

    Yannis

  2. On May 3rd 2014, I finished the “Selvaggio Blu” (Wild Blue) trail in Sardinia.

    As the majority of you know, this is a hard and marvelous walking-climbing-abseiling thought out the Supramonte of Baunei, in Ogliastra provice, just by the side of the deep blue sea between Cala Gonone and Santa Maria Navarrese.

    I will not spend any additional word on this as you can find plenty of literature on line on the matter.
    Just notice that if you are not local even if you are an expert walkers, it is very difficult and almost impossible to stay on the track, then enjoy thoroughly the experience. Land is changing continuously due to rain storm, landslip, animals on the territory and so on… Consider that High Mountain Rescue here are mainly working on finding lost people along the Selvaggio Blu. Therefore, I do recommend to contact a local societies which can give you advise and suggestions. So I did.

    However, you can email me at any time and I will be more than glad to help on it.

    Logistic side first.
    I went with a friend, not a group of people. We would like to be ourselves only and a local guide.
    This option was not so easy to achieve at a reasonable price because the majority of societies I had contacted for the trail were asking:

    • if I can gather or join a group;
    • double of the price in comparison with the standard one if belonged to a group.

    After having contacted several local societies from Baunei-Santa Maria Navarrese, someone sent me the contact of “Explorando Supramonte”:
    http://www.trekkingbaunei.it/en/
    reachable via the web
    http://www.grottadelfico.it/

    Guides from “Grotta del Fico” are more or less the same per “Explorando Supramonte”.
    They are local guide from Baunei-Santa Maria Navarrese with deep knowledge of the territory because they are all in one. Their relatives thus themselves belongs to the land they will guide you through.

    Finding “Explorando Supramonte” was the right thing at the right moment. All the other companies declined our request or were fully booked but Claudio from Explorando Supramonte proposed the option of doing the trail with a guide during the day and stay by ourselves during the night. He hit the nail right on the head!

    Trail takes 5 days if you go from Santa Maria Navarrese to Cala Sisine (I recommend you to stop here); 6 days to Cala Luna (nice beach but crowed and touristic, nice if you like).
    I recommend you to organize the tour more than one month and a half in advanced because the trail is quite popular, even if hard and harsh.

    We had got 3 different guides during the trail with different capabilities. For example, Manuela had got an international view and outstanding relation skills, Sandro was an expert of the local fauna and flora, Claudio a technical expert of climbing and abseiling. They guided us in the most pleasant and satisfying way one can imagine, being part of our “small group” and sharing their knowledge, legends, stories of the Land they belong. Needless to say, all dealt with great safety and security for us. For example, when we did the climbing, Claudio made sure hundred times that we were secured and in a safe position, explaining what we were doing and way.

    What I would like to highlight is that if, for whatsoever reason, you are not able to do some of the trail, “Explorando Supramonte” does not stop your tour but they propose alternative paths where possible.
    In addition, as we were so excited about the territory and what we had seen, when we had finished the “standard” Selvaggio Blu, “Explorando Supramonte” proposed some additional trails, in accordance with our capabilities. Of course, you should adjust your plan somehow but it can be done easily.

    Every day food and our luggage were brought by them via sea or land, depending where you are stopping during the night.

    To sum up, we were and are extremely satisfied with “Explorando Supramonte. Every words we can use to describe this experience is not enough to explain their performance. They were not only excellent guides but outstanding people and trustworthy professional.

    We do recommend them!

    Small talking about the emotional side of the trail at last (but, sure, not least!).
    The trail itself was amazing: a paradise from the mountain to the sea.
    Fantastic views, blue skies and deeper lush land; fragrant trees and embracing juniper. All good companion of your (challenging) trekking for 5-6 days.

    The Supramonte is land talking the language of the Sardinian shepherds and all you need is listen to the words lost in the breeze. Local people talking with their heart and with the heart of the land they belong to.
    A track which cannot be missed, more I will do it once again and again in the short future, together with Claudio, Manuela and Sandro once again.

    It is a must at least once in a lifetime. No words I could use can really describe all the emotional feelings you can gather along the way.
    Just do it!

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