From Pain to Mountain Peaks

This post was written by Francesco Guerro (insta@francescoguerraphoto), an adventure and landscape photographer based in Italy. After months of inactivity due to a debilitating knee injury and COVID concerns, this was his first hike alone, and we here at LIVSN are happy to share his story.

As I drove through the narrow windy road and lush beech forest towards the trailhead, my thoughts turned to some months earlier. I vividly remembered falling from the skis, and I almost felt the initial pain on my knee all over again.

Back in February, I had a bad knee injury which cost me an entire month of walking. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, resulting in more months of self-rehabilitation.

When the imposed isolation rules withdrew, I came back to hiking. But my knee wasn't fully recovered yet and the leg muscles were not strong. All of the hikes I did at first were made with the safe company of other people. Even if I did not want to admit it to myself, I was scared to do solo-hiking again.

What if I fall and my knee blew out again? What if it starts to hurt so bad that I need to stop and call for help?

After over a month, I decided it was time to get fully back at it. Alone.

I decided to go on a not very difficult trail that goes from Mount Faito to the top of Mount Molare over the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

I parked the car, took everything I needed, and started walking.

Step after step I felt my worries and my fears fall away as I grew more and more confident. The knee did not support me at 100%, but I'm right there, in that moment, walking back to regain the trust I need to make the more difficult ascensions as I planned during the quarantine.After going through the thick beech forest, I finally found my way out of it. The sun caresses my face and the breeze accompanies my steps as I approach the last bit of the trail. It is a stony and steep path that zig-zags up the mountain top. It is mid-afternoon. I'm alone on my ascent, yet there was not a single time I felt worried about something to go wrong. I was present in that moment, the lurking fear of getting injured again gone.

The entire Amalfi Coast and the famous Capri island peep right after I reached the top. The scenery is unique and astonishing. The emotion of being back in this place, just on my legs was something special. The sensation of regaining back my freedom was priceless. I wander freely on the top while snapping pictures here and there, looking at the scenery, and grateful for that individual but not lonely experience.

Even though the place cannot be properly defined as wild, dense forest covers most of the mountain and surrounds the peaks. The beautiful landscape opens up at the top of Mount Molare with the overhanging walls and the deep blue color of the sea makes you feel like an explorer in an exotic faraway place.

At sunset, the sun went down while illuminating the edges of the mountains with its last rays. I got back on the trail to return home. The possibility to be again in nature again, walking on my own, and doing what I love most of all, it is a gift I don't take for granted.

Now the time for new adventures has come.