Thursday, July 10, 2014

Report from the Trenches

I've been excited to return to Italy since I left five years ago at the end of JWOC. The organisers aren't bluffing when they boast of Italy's orienteering paradise. The mountainsides are covered by terrain guaranteed to deliver challenges varied and numerous. Maps are plentiful and the past month of training has made me feel at home under the dark forest canopy.

The shadow cast by World War One still blankets the land here. Reading a history book is one thing, running through the woods of a former war zone is an entirely different experience. The hills are lined with trenches and peppered with fox holes. The unending network of defenses is a powerful remnant of the vast conflict. Numerous sections are confusing to navigate even with a map and no danger of hostilities. I initially assumed all this work had been done by the Italians, however a little research revealed the mountains used to be Austro-Hungarian! The whole region is conquered territory of a 100 year old failed state. Needless to say it is very special orienteering here. Fun but sobering at the same time.

While the rest of the team was down in Venice I went on an exploratory run above the town of Cesuna. Turns out there is a ridge with the largest line of trenches I've stumbled on so far...


  1. Wow! Thanks for posting this Eric. Very interesting, and agreed - very sobering.

  2. Yes thanks Eric, I was trying to find the right words to describe the feelings of running around freely in an area where so many lost their lives.