Bob's World Travels

Dolomites, Part II

October 10, 2016

Dolomites, Part II

From Rifugio Averau we descended past Cinque Torre and traversed up and down across the top of Val Cerna, where we continued to have views of Cinque Torre. We descended to Rifugio Fedare and climbed over three passes.  The last pass, Forcella Giau gave us a view down into the Mondeval de Sora basin where a 7,500 year old burial site of a Mesolithic hunter has been found. The basin took the form of a broad green curve between high points.  After a packed lunch among the white boulders high in the basin, we continued to traverse the Mondeval de Sora under the peak of Lastoi de Formin. We crossed the Ambrizolla pass under the the isolated Beca de Mezondi peak. After crossing more passes with great views of distant mountains, including the pyramid shaped Antelo, we descended to Rifugio Città di Fiume, located underneath the Pelmo mountain massif,  where we spent the night.  This Rifugio was small and very rustic but was full of trekkers.  The room shared by the men in my group had low rafters that we had to bend under and the shower had to be repaired after over use.

It rained over night, and it was wet and grey when we started the next morning. We hiked below Pelmo (also known and the Throne of the Gods).  We traversed around the northwestern side of the Pelmo and descended a short distance to Rifugio P'so Staulanza.  We then descended a short distance down an asphalt road and turned on a dirt country road and walked to Malga Vescova,a dairy farm with a very rustic restaurant. For lunch, I had fried cheese with polenta and french fries.  It was simple and delicious. The farm wife serving us was delightful.  She did not speak a word of English, but she smiled and laughed constantly with us as we tried to place our orders.  As we paid our bills, I tried my broken Italian which in this case worked.  I tipped her and she smiled delightfully.  As we were leaving, she showed us the room where they made cheese.

During lunch, the weather had changed from cloudy and hazy to bright and crystalline clear.  We climbed steeply from behind the farmhouse, and at the top of the ridge, we had beautiful views of mountains in all directions, including a clear, dramatic view of Pelmo. We hiked through lush green meadows. We hiked up a valley to Cra di Pioda, where we began a very rocky and steep climb. I felt strong and climbed ahead of the others.  It felt like a cool, bright autumn day and the scenery was spectacular. As I approached the Rifugio a Sonino al Coldai, just below the Coldai pass, the Civetta towered above and Pelmo behind me, both among the ten tallest mountains in the Dolomites. Again, at this high rifugio there were great views, including to Antelao far to the east.

The next morning, we climbed from the rifugio a short distance over Coldai pass. The light was clear and glowing and there were views from the pass in all directions. On the other side of the pass, we hiked around Lake Coldai and traversed for several miles around the bottom of Civetta. For lunch, we climbed steeply to Refugio Tissi, which was high on a ridge with great views in all directions. At the summit of the ridge, we were on top of a cliff with a 1,500 foot drop to Lago de Alleghe and the town of Alleghe far below.  After lunch, we hiked back down to the Alta Via l in the Val Civetta. We continued on the trail around Civetta and descended through the forest to Rifugio Vazzoler located under the high walls of Cima Della Busazza. We had descended 3,000 fee and my bruised knee hurt, and after days of hiking, my legs were tired.  I was glad to reach this nice Rifugio in the forest.

On September 7, we descended some from Rifugio Vazzoler and traversed around the Moiassa Sud massif and crossed over the Col D'Ors pass. As we climbed, we could see back to the towers of Civetta. From there we traversed and climbed more through dwarf pines, followed by a dense Larch forest, to Rifugio Bruto Carestiato where I had a lunch of a wonderful local specialty, beet ravioli, on the sunny deck where we enjoyed more great views. When you hike for days, you get urges for things you normally don't desire.  I wasn't sure whether I wanted a Coca Cola or a beer, so I had both.  By this point, calories just didn't matter.  From there, we descended through the forest to Duran pass and Rifugio Duran where we had plenty of time to rest, shower, and wash clothes, which was good, since I was increasingly tired by the end of the day.  We were the only trekkers staying at this rifugio. San Sebastiano peak rose high above us on the other side of the pass, and we could see Pelmo in the distance.

The following day from Passo Duran we descended on the paved road until we turned onto a path and climbed and traversed around Tamer mountain. We climbed for some time to a final pass where there were more beautiful views and the ruins of a World War I era building.  We descended through Larch forests to our lunch stop at a small dairy farm, named Malga Pramper, where we had a good lunch out in the sun with great cheese. From there, we descended through the forest to the town of Forno de Zolda and the Hotel Titian.  This was a real town with a church, shops, a pharmacy, and restaurants. After the rustic rifugio, the hotel was luxurious.  The bathroom my roommate and I shared was beautiful and larger that some of the bedrooms in the rifugios. We enjoyed the luxury and the nice hotel bar and went to a gourmet restaurant for dinner.

The next day we rode back to Venice to spend a day and a half before our flights home.  In nine days trekking on the Alta Via I, we hiked over 63 miles and climbed almost 20,000 feet in elevation gain.  This had been a wonderful extended hike through uniquely sculptured scenery and with very hospitable lodgings and people.