Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dolomites Trip Part 4: Hiking Day 1 and 2

Subtitle: there are so many parts. Just buckle down.

Our trip had us hiking from rifugio to rifugio every day for 5 days / 4 nights. This meant that every day, no matter what, we had to get ourselves to our destination for that night. That is a great motivator! Most of the distances were only 6 or 7 miles, I think 9ish was the longest day, but that's without any detours for sightseeing or getting lost, plus the elevation changes we were talking about each day were immense. We had just struggled (by "we" I mean my morning sickness ridden self) through 1000 feet of elevation gain during our Colorado hikes. We were looking at 2000+ feet each day at >6500' elevation. That was going to be... challenging.

The first day took us from our home base in Cortina to Prato Piazza- about 7 miles total with 2300' of vertical. It was grey and a bit dreary but we were fresh and excited! Our trail wasn't too challenging, the views were beautiful, and we were clean. After an hour, and then another hour of tragically slow average paces (1.5 miles/hour, including breaks, was our average during the steep sections), it got a bit disheartening. Our packs were heavy and we were still adjusting to the whole hiking all day thing. A nice distraction was the WWI related sights (more on this in later posts). There were old bunkers and pillboxes that were still largely intact. Still, it felt like we only went uphill. We had snacks, but to get to lunch (and indoor bathrooms!) we needed to keep on hiking. Luckily, the views continued to be gorgeous and novel, and we continued on.

Starting out nice and fresh

Hills. All day. Hills.

First peak of the Dolomites: Mt. Specie

Cows! With bells around their necks. So much jingling.

LUNCH! Huge piles of pasta for both of us. Mine had garlic and spicy oil. Mmm.

Our room had 4 beds, including a set of bunk beds. It was very quaint.

Since the first hike wasn't enough (ha), we also attempted to summit the mountain behind the rifugio. Nope. Too tired and looking forward to dinner too much to risk being late. It was still beautiful and a nice extra challenge. We made it about 90% of the way.

Second day took us from Prato Piazza to Fodora Vedla, another 11ish miles and ~2600' vertical. We were a little less fresh, a little more sore, and maybe less excited about this day. But we must forge ahead! The weather was amazing- blue skies with white puffy clouds and nice moderate temps.
The Croda Massif. We hiked around this over the course of the day. Gosh this place is pretty.

And another, less pretty picture, but with us in it! Hi!

The geology is so, so cool.

Up and up...

The views. Every day I tried to be thankful for the views, even if I was tired of hiking to see them.

LUNCH! Pretty sure Nick got boiled hot dogs that were masquerading as "sausages." I got woefully under-cooked eggs and potatoes that I devoured. And yes, I look like a goober with my hat and scarf. Better than being a cancerous cool person.

And then we had a rock field to tackle...

Still going up...

And the view we were rewarded with. I'll take it.

Crazy tilted rock ridgeline. I think I'm pretending to surf? 

Our itinerary had a misprint, so we originally went to the wrong rifugio. Nope. Nothing worse than thinking you FINALLY get to take of your shoes and being told you still have 2 more miles of hiking. Finally, we made it to our sleeping destination.

Another cute room. This time, 2 beds, and they even touched each other! The Italians were fans of fluffy duvets vs. normal sheet and blanket setup. I didn't care, I just needed a bed.

These posts are long and picture-heavy, so I'll be breaking them up. Next up- the rest of the hiking!

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