Today we got up at dawn, parked our car at Livo, and then set off up the Livo River Valley. Our destination was a beautiful natural cirque of mountains surrounding a small lake, the Lago di Darengo. We set off from Livo at 7.35 and reached the lake at 11.35 – not bad for a climb of over a thousand metres in roasting heat (the last steep stretch, on an exposed mountainside, was tough). Our reward was the beauty of this remote spot (the Swiss border is just on the other side of the cirque) and the cool waters of the lake itself, in which we swam before eating our lunch. We also had the satisfaction of knowing that we had got to the end of a trail up which we had trekked previously, but without having the time to go all the way. A few hardy walkers were on the same path, since the rifugio, Capanno Como, at +/-1,800 metres, is a good base camp for attacking the surrounding mountain peaks. What I particularly like about these mule paths is that they feel so ancient (a Roman bridge halfway up the valley attested to this). They are also prodigious human works, consisting of huge, heavy cap stones transported (how, I always wonder?) across the mountainsides. Trekking along them, I have the sense that man has been coming this way for a very long time.