HIKING IN THE DOLOMITES

Vienna, 16 July 2019

Well, it’s taken me quite a while to get around to this post. We completed our hike in the Dolomites three weeks ago, but it’s only now that I’ve managed to put all our photos in order – there were three sets of photos to arrange, my wife’s, my daughter’s, and my own. But the work of electronic filing and folderizing is over and I can finally write this post.

My last post had us in Bolzano, visiting Ötzi the Iceman. From there, we took the bus over to the next valley, the Val di Fassa. Just to give readers an idea of this valley, here is one of those bird’s-eye-view maps that clever cartographers come up with.
And here is the same map with a rather wonky red line put in by me showing our itinerary.
We hiked for six days, staying for the most part in mountain huts. We had the pleasure of being joined by our daughter and her partner for three of those days.

The itinerary didn’t quite turn out as planned. The area had got hit by a terrible storm in October of last year, which brought down thousands of trees and blocked a good number of the paths. The authorities’ plan had been to start clean-up in May, but the valley suffered from unusually heavy late-season snowfalls that month, which meant that when we arrived not only many of the paths blocked by trees hadn’t been cleared but other paths were now blocked because of snow. The result was that we didn’t walk quite as long at high altitude as had originally been planned. But it was wonderful nevertheless.

I’ve done writing. I shall let our photos speak for themselves.

June 16th:

Our first sight of the mountains bathed in the evening rays of the sun

June 17th:

Walking by meadows in flower as we followed the river upstream
The mountains beckoning, at the end of the day’s hike. Our daughter and her partner are waiting for us at the hotel

June 18th:

In the early morning sunshine, crossing the river which we will follow for an hour or so
We’ve begun our climb off the valley floor
We’re now far above the valley floor
We’re getting above the treeline, into the rock and snow
Among the rock and snow, and the weather is closing in
Those heavy May snowfalls! Where is the path?
Path found! On our way down to the mountain hut where we’ll be spending the night
The dam we have to cross
We’ve reached the dam
The mountain hut “Marmolada”, where we will spend the night
From the terrace of the hut, looking back at the snowfields we crossed

June 19th:

We’ll be going (by cablecar) to that black dot on the edge of the mountain range straight ahead – the Sass Pordoi
The mountains on the other side of the Val di Fassa
View from the top of Sass Pordoi
The walls of Sass Pordoi …
… and the valley floor far below
Walking down from Sass Pordoi. Our next objective is that dot on top of the small pyramid to the far left. The Sasso Lungo group towers over it.
We’ve reached the top of that pyramid (by cable car). Looking back at Sass Pordoi and the Gruppo del Sella behind it.
Looking down at our final destination for the day, the mountain hut “Friedrich August”, cowering under the Sasso Lungo
The hut’s dog, standing guard on the roof
Evening has drawn in

June 20th:

The path we’ll be taking today, snaking away across the mountainside
The Mountain hut “Sandro Pertini”, first break of the day.
Looking back along the path we’ve just walked
Looking down into the Val di Fassa. We have to reach that town at the very bottom.
The mountain hut “Sasso Piatto”, our next resting point. Afterwards, we’ll go on to the base of those mountains in the far distance.
Looking down into the valleys to the north.
Dark clouds have suddenly swept in. It’s hailing! Down below is the valley, the Val Duron, we will eventually be walking down.
The Val Duron, now bathed in sunshine
The weather is closing in again. Time to put the rain gear back on.
Walking down off the ridge into the head of the Val Duron
The Val Duron beckons
A local inhabitant of the valley nuzzling up to us
The backdrop to the valley …
… and the road ahead of us
Local wood carvers have been at work along the way
Taking the chairlift to tonight’s mountain hut. The Larsech group towers up in the distance
Evidence of the catastrophic storm of last October
The mountain hut “Stella Alpina”, where my wife and I will stay for two nights but my daughter and her partner only one

June 21st:

After fond farewells to our daughter and her partner, who are leaving us today, we start walking up through stony detritus towards the Torri del Vajolet, in the shadow of the Catinaccio group
The mountain hut “Paul Preuss”, our first stop for a breather, sitting precariously on its cliff
Onwards through the stone fields
Now it’s through snow
We stopped for lunch in the Mountain hut ” Passo Principe” (not our photo – source). Braver souls were climbing higher but there was too much snow for us.
On our way back down to the “Stella Alpina”, the weather started closing in, wreathing the cliffs around us in clouds
One last walk before dinner
As we walk back to the mountain hut, a glimpse of the path we’ll be taking tomorrow morning

June 22nd:

About to plunge into the woods
The path wends its way through the woods …
… to come out into this lovely natural amphitheatre
The mountain hut “Roda de Vael” sits perched on the ridge of the amphitheatre – it’s where we plan to have lunch
But we first have to climb this long, long flight of steps
The view back from top of the stairs – and evidence of having reached nearly 2,300 metres
We make it into the hut just before it starts raining hard
After lunch, and after the rain has slackened, we set off again, making for the Passo di Carezza, the end of our hike
Plunging views into the Val di Fassa, wreathed in clouds
As we re-enter civilization, the weather closes in again

At the Passo di Carezza, we took refuge from the rain in a hotel’s restaurant, and drank a cup of tea while waiting for the bus to take us down to the Val di Fassa. The next day, we took the bus back to Bolzano, and from there made our way back to Milan.

We’ll be back in the Dolomites. It’s just too beautiful to pass up. We are still discussing where in the Dolomites to go next. Readers will have to wait with bated breath until next year’s post on the topic to know what we decided.

Published by

Abellio

I like writing, but I’ve spent most of my life writing about things that don’t particularly interest me. Finally, as I neared the age of 60, I decided to change that. I wanted to write about things that interested me. What really interests me is beauty. So I’ve focused this blog on beautiful things. I could be writing about a formally beautiful object in a museum. But it could also be something sitting quietly on a shelf. Or it could be just a fleeting view that's caught my eye, or a momentary splash of colour-on-colour at the turn of the road. Or it could be a piece of music I've just heard. Or a piece of poetry. Or food. And I’m sure I’ve missed things. But I’ll also write about interesting things that I hear or read about. Isn't there a beauty about things pleasing to the mind? I started just writing, but my wife quickly persuaded me to include photos. I tried it and I liked it. So my posts are now a mix of words and pictures, most of which I find on the internet. What else about me? When I first started this blog, my wife and I lived in Beijing where I was head of the regional office of the UN Agency I worked for. So at the beginning I wrote a lot about things Chinese. Then we moved to Bangkok, where again I headed up my Agency's regional office. So for a period I wrote about Thailand and South-East Asia more generally. But we had lived in Austria for many years before moving to China, and anyway we both come from Europe my wife is Italian while I'm half English, half French - so I often write about things European. Now I'm retired and we've moved back to Europe, so I suppose I will be writing a lot more about the Old Continent, interspersed with posts we have gone to visit. What else? We have two grown children, who had already left the nest when we moved to China, but they still figure from time to time in my posts. I’ll let my readers figure out more about me from reading what I've written. As these readers will discover, I really like trees. So I chose a tree - an apple tree, painted by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt - as my gravatar. And I chose Abellio as my name because he is the Celtic God of the apple tree. I hope you enjoy my posts. http://ipaintingsforsale.com/UploadPic/Gustav Klimt/big/Apple Tree I.jpg

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