The walk today is reportedly 8 miles long gaining 2,500 feet and losing 3,000 feet. A good 1,300 feet of that ascent happen between the two rifugios over steep to very steep rocky terrain covering just under a mile. It would end up feeling like a longer walk than 8 miles but I don't have good track data to say if that is really the case. Perhaps it is merely an illussion in our collective minds since we were actually out considerably longer today than yesterday and even when you factor in the breaks and include the time spent on the two cablecar rides it felt like we had more break time yesterday than today. But I am getting ahead of myself.
At the gondola station at Ciampinoi for the start of our second walk.
We rode the gondola from Selva to Ciampinoi (sp) where we found ourselves with a superb view of the rugged Sassolungo massif. There are many wide and obviously well cared for trails leaving the cable-car terminus which has bathrooms and a cafe as well as ample places to settle down and just soak in the sun. No doubt scores of people do just that. After getting ourselves sorted out, a task that took a bit longer than it should have since Phillip had left his walking sticks (I think that is what he left behind) back at the hotel, we began walking down into the rolling valley approaching Sassolungo. Numerous cows were grazing in the valley below. The jingling of their cowbells was clearly audible as they moved their massive heads cropping the grass. The views of the mountains were impressive and we were having an easy time of it so far.
|The walk wound into a bit of mountain forest just a bit farther on. Many rocks and tall evergreen trees with a stream or two made for a lovely section of the walk.|
|Sometimes you find yourself on a trail with many other people. This happened to us as we walked along this ridgeline towards Rifugio Vicenza.|
That path would eventually begin to switch back aand forth leaving the narrow contour to heading up-mountain towards the first rifugio. The switchbacks were wide and well built taking us steadily up. While not as gentle a climb as some I have done they were not so steep that you felt you couldn't make it. It just felt a bit long as you would constantly catch sight of the mountain hutte and think it is closer than it actually was. This big building nestiles against the shoulder of the mountain and has places for people inside and out. I don't know if it has beds but given it is at least two stories high I would not be surprised. Mountain huttes like this seem to be everywhere and all sport modern essentials including electricity and plumbing (i.e. flush toilets). I am unsure of the correct names for the mountain huttes. The signs confuse me. They note many place names and the trail numbers to follow to reach them but no distances are given. So, is the first hutte Vincenza or Demetz. Or maybe it is Sasso Piatto (we stopped at Vincenza and hiked up to Demetz). Whatever the case both rifugios were impressive places and certainly quite welcome. I suppose we actually spent close to a half hour at the lower refuge. People thoroughly enjoyed hot and cold drinks and a bite to eat. The apple strudel looked like big loafs of tasty goodness. But we had to push on up and over the mountain through the notch of rock where the second mountain hutte is located anchoring the upper terminus of what is affectionately called the coffin lift. This would be the toughest portion of the hike and is likely the toughest HF hiking segment I think we have done.
|Between Vincenza and Dametz huttes you walk up a rocky, sometimes hard to follow path, that rises about 1,300 feet over about a mile.|
|Slowly making my way up the steep trail between Rifugio Vincenza and Demetz.|
|At the bottom of the coffin-like chairlift near Sasso Piatto Rifugio. Looking back towards the notch where Demetz is.|
|We heard these alpine hornpipe players long before we saw them. They play thrughout the valley and we heard them a couple days later in Ortisei.|
You can view all the photos for this walk here (14 photos).