The route is a pleasant walk to meet some mammoth erratic boulders that twelve millennia ago the Quaternary glaciers from the upper Valcamonica abandoned on the Esmate plateau, in the Municipality of Solto Collina. The lithological nature of these boulders, different from the rock on which they are placed, bears witness to the long journey on ice that they traveled from the Camunian mountains from which they were removed. They consist mainly of porphyry (magmatic rock) and sedimentary rocks of remote Paleozoic origin indicated as Verrucano Lombardo and Pietra Simona. The large granite boulder at the beginning of the path and the final one near the sanctuary of San Defendente are emblematic of a boundless sample of over six hundred and fifty erratics surveyed in the Solto Collina area.
The first large erratic boulder is located just beyond the basin where, like all the other boulders along the route, it is flanked by a panel with images and explanations. The route continues along the ridge of Mount Na which represents the border of the underlying Valle del Freddo Nature Reserve. Continuing on, leave the ridge path on the left that leads to the top of Mount Na (707 m) because halfway up the slope a detour to the right leads onto a comfortable path where in the sparse woodland of hornbeam, ash and downy oaks you meet other notable glacial boulders. After crossing a forest of tall American red oaks, you will soon reach the mule track which leads to the left on the slopes of Mount Clemo while to the right it descends through a pleasant rural landscape of hedges and prairies up to the paved road which connects the town of Esmate with the locality Cerrete. Follow the signs and you will soon reach the chapel of San Rocco which you leave to continue to the right along the mule track that crosses the side of the ridge at the end of which stands the panoramic sanctuary of San Defendente. A few hundred meters before reaching the sanctuary and the bulletin board illustrating the route, the mule track passes alongside a last and beautiful erratic boulder resting on a rocky outcrop of dolomite, the rock of this area.
How to arrive and where to park
On the threshold of Esmate, after having parked near the La Romantica restaurant, follow the signs that lead to the chapel of Santa Lucia where there is a bulletin board illustrating this and other routes. Hold it
right and after about a hundred meters continue right again along the ponderal road that leads to the water reserve basin where the
first bulletin board of the route. This illustrates the entire journey just undertaken, providing useful information on what you will be able to observe.
Credits: La Collina Outdoor