• Maurice Tijm

    Nice report, good information on these winter hikes! Winter sounds interesting for wolves. The Abruzzo area is a great authentic place.

    We had a more successful excursion with Ecotur I like to add. We visited the park in early august 2014. In that summer period a number of good valleys (including the Val di Rose for Chamois) are closed to the public and only accessible by booking hikes. During our stay we only met one Italian who had photos of bears taken from Gioa Vecchio and opposite the petrol station between Gioa Vecchio and Pescasseroli. Although we and some other watchers were not entirely convinced the photo’s were taken from these locations. After four watches at Gioa Vecchio for Bear we booked a ‘Bear watching hike’ with Ecotur. We were very pleased with this excursion. Jeeps broughts us and 10 or so other guests higher up the beech forests. From there we hiked (passing a number of beer prints and signs) towards a hut on hilltop. We stationed ourselves on this hilltop and scanned the opposite (not that distant) hillsides for bear until dusk. Amazingly at one point Kirsten spotted a single Wolf near some boar and red deer. A fantastic animal with the local colouration. It only stood there and watched us for a very brief period. Only 15 minutes later we found a Bear on a little more distant slope which we could enjoy for a brief five minutes before it dissappeared in the bushes it was feeding on! Needless to say we were impressed by the site and happy with the mammal oriented nature of the hike. Bringing a spotting scope is highly recommended. After these sightings we had a simple but tasty dinner in the mountain hut nearby and descended back to the village in the dark.

    We took a national park excursion to visit the otherwise closed Val di Rose valley for Chamois, which were easy to see during this walk. We only spotlighted for an hour or so after dinner each day because the morning sessions at gioa vecchio were very early. I think it is best to spotlight much later from 00:00 onwards because of the traffic. All in all the area is special and quite wild but sightings are not easy. Like you say: there a plenty of valleys to check out.

    My sightings during this Italy trip on Observado: http://bit.ly/2iBymdz
    A spectacular Bear sighting in Civitella Alfedena town (from where the Chamois walk starts) by Diemer Vercayie) is here: http://observado.org/waarneming/view/124492856
    He told me a bear repeatly visited the apple orchard that week, much to the concern of the local park staf.

    Maurice Tijm

  • Manul

    Hi Maurice Tijm

    We are glad to hear of your great sightings. Wow!
    Your experiences shows us that the trip doesn’t depend on the tour organisator (as we already supposed) but probably rather on the guide you get, on the fellow guests and on the season.
    We were informed that the animals stay on lower altitude during the winter than in the summer. This means that one probably maximizes the chances of sightings in hiking up during the summer like you did. During winter however, we think that scanning in the lower plains on your own might be a good strategy to produce sightings.
    We can also confirm your information on the night drives after 00.00 for the winter.

    Sophie and Manuel

  • Michaël Dagnelie

    Hello Maurice,

    I’m visiting Abruzzo at the moment. I’ll check Goia Vecchio first tonight, but if I don’t succed I want to try the spot you went to with Ecoturs. Unfortunately, your bear and wolf observations on observado are obscured. Is it correct that you went around the Rifugio Pesco di lorio, or did you go somewhere else?

    Thanks for an answer. Kind regards,

    Michaël Dagnelie

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