Some call them "the paths of happiness" because the trekking routes lead straight to a good mood.
The beating heart, the sweaty shirt, the labored breathing, the tired legs. But also the joy of fatigue and the satisfaction of the summit. And then the energy of the woods, the mountain breeze that welcomes you and, of course, the suggestion of the landscape.
Trekking on the paths of our lakes is always an exciting experience, to be repeated in every season, suitable for the most hardcore runners, tenacious walkers as well as less trained vacationers who love nature walks.
Even Google has noticed the popularity of trekking and has mapped a thousand kilometers of trails around Lake Orta, as part of the Orta Lake project, an extraordinary digital resource available to those who want to walk outdoors and plan excursions between the hills or on cycle paths. For a hundred days, about 150 volunteers loaded a Trekker backpack equipped with 15 cameras on their shoulders that allowed them to film the routes with a 360° view of the trails.
I remember that the first experiment of this type was carried out in 2012 in the Grand Canyon, Arizona, while Italy joined in 2014 involving realities such as the island of Elba and Pantelleria, the Cinque Terre and the Camino di San Benedetto. Now attention has focused on Eastern Piedmont: from Orta to Pettenasco, from Maggiora to Ornavasso, the cameras have filmed every meter of the paths that from now on we can easily view on the Street View search engine of Google Maps.
Another very useful initiative was implemented at national level by CAI, the Italian Alpine Club. A QR Code has been affixed to the signs of many official paths (a 'quick response' code) that allows you to receive information and images on the itinerary you want to travel: just frame the cryptogram with your smartphone and you will get, directly on the mobile phone, all the information relating to the route taken (route, travel times, level of difficulty, images, slopes and elevation profile) through the Waymarked Trails application which offers, free of charge, a mapping of the trails at an international level.
I recently experienced this technological opportunity on a lovely walk from Mergozzo to Alpe Vercio, an excursion that I highly recommend: the effort of a vertical path is rewarded with a wonderful view of the three lakes. Another wonderful path is the so-called “Via delle Genti”, a historic itinerary that leads from Cannobio to Cannero, among medieval villages, characteristic churches and luxuriant woods overlooking Lake Maggiore.
With hiking poles or technical shoes, with sandwiches for a pleasant picnic or supplements for an energy injection, we can set off for some lovely walks in search of happiness.