Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Selva, Italy - September, 2012 (Day 6)

Upper funicular station at Mount Rasciesa

Mom elected to do the shorter walk which started at this upper funicular station on Mount Rasciesa. All of us would return to this area over the next couple days.

Dad and I decided to tackle the tougher walk and Mom chose to do the slightly easier one. In the context of this week's hikes that means her walk had a bit less elevation loss and considerably less elevation gain than our walk did. Our walks both began from the village of Ortisei but that was about the only thing they had in common.

We piled into a bus along with dozens of others to make the twenty minute journey from Selva to Ortisei. The buses are really jammed full of people and they must put extra buses on the roads during the high season to cope with the traffic. Once in Ortisei we walked through the town and ascended three escalators and two moving sidewalk ramps to reach the base station of the Seceda gondola (Mom would continue up some steep roads to the terminus of a funicular that marked her access point to the higher elevations). It is remarkable the engineering that is so evident throughout these towns. Equally wonderful is how clean everything seems to be. I don't think any of us has seen any litter let alone graffiti.

Horse herds above Ortisei
Mom saw quite a few horses and other animals grzing along her walk.
Mountain valley
The open mountainsides are dotted with small buildings and here we found forests of many evergreens lining those open spaces.
Our gondola dropped us off at the Furnes station where we quickly left some small bunches of people to quickly descend along a gentle path that would soon leave the groomed mountain slopes for woodlands. We actually crossed a stream which has been rather a rare occurrance. Joining path number 8 we began a steady but not too steep climb up through forested slopes that now and then opened into glades that seemed to be there for no obvious reason. I don't quite understand what causes these little mountain meadows to appear. Now and then the ring of a cowbell could be heard but I certainly never saw any animals.

Glunch spot view of Ortisei
I think the town you can see down below is Ortisei. We had a nice break here.
Our walk also took us across some scree fields. The paths were pretty well defined though they could easily become treachreous if you were not careful. However, they did not cause me any great nervousness compared to some knife edge trails I have walked before. Crossing those fields was actually a bit cool as they were in the lee of the mountainside and thus shaded from the warmth of the sun.

Our somewhat gradual ascent would steepen after crossing the rocky bits and leaving a small junction (with path 6) behind. The sun was now shining upon us so we all warmed up quite nicely. I think we had 2 major climbs today. The first from the junction to a crucifix not that far west of Mt. Pic took us through steep trails in mountain forests and sometimes through mountain meadows. The climb was about 325 meters and I suspect it was along a distance of 2km - it took us about 45 minutes. Our lunch spot, I think, looked down upon Ortisei. It was still sunny though the wind had picked up slightly .

Leaving that spot we continued our ascent towards Mt. Pic but this time we were in more open countryside. In fact it was open enough that as we climbed we felt the nip of the wind enough that at least some of us paused to put back on an extra layer. The path was steadily steep with a few rocks and it certainly got the heartrate up and increased my breathing. It was about 45 minutes of walking but when we reached the surprisingly small summitt the views were worth the effort.

I don't, sad to say, really have good photos from Mt Pic. In some ways that is because while we arrived around 14:00 the light just wasn't that good even with some clouds slowly massing in the sky to add a dramatic feel to things. What makes the views in this area stand out I believe is the contrast between the valleys and lower mountainsides so carefully tended and the massive rock formations that rise above everything else. Even though it was a bit windy on top of the mountain, the most wind we have encountered the entire trip and yet probably still not much more than a breeze, I can see why people climb up here and settle down for a spell.

Des ing from Mount Pic
We left Mount Pic quickly descending into the valleys below. You can see what we were walking down into.
dad nearingNearing Rifuguio Fermeda

This dirt track was used by walker like us and occassonal cyclists. We weren't too far from Rifugio Fermeda by this time.

We were re-joined by Marion and Maggie at this point. They had come to the mountaintop via a different somewhat shorter in both ascent and distance route. They had enjoyed the afternoon on the summit for an hour when we showed up. Together we would head down the way they had come up. The path was narrow and rocky. It was definitely steeper than our ascending path had been and in some stretches quite a bit rockier making the footing much trickier. While it wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as say descending from Demetz Hutte to Vincenza Hutte it was a real chore nonetheless. However, once past the worst of it the path became first your typical descending path and then moderated a bit more as it wandered through the alpine slopes towards the Fermeda Rifugio which seems to be part of a small cluster of places nestled up here. When we reached the refuge we found everyone else there having drinks and a bite to eat. We settled in ourselves and enjoyed the respite. As we sat at our tables outside we felt a change in the weather. The temperature had been hovering at 60F with some dips into the upper 50s. Clouds were massing and moving quickly. In fact when we left to walk the last mile along high dirt mountain roads to the upper terminus of the Col Raiser (Rie-sah) lift which is located at what seems to be quite an extensive hotel complex the sun returned to warm things back up. At this point we could have hiked down into San Cristina (Saint Cristina) but everyone decided to ride the gondolas down instead. They run efficiently and you get nice views all the way down. We spotted a small herd of sheep as well as a very good looking cow trailing close behind two men. I suppose it was following them home. That was the extent of the fauna we saw; Mom and her group saw considerably more and from much shorter distances.

From San Cristina you can either catch a bus or walk back to Selva. Most people decided that the extra 1.5 miles was worth the walking compared to waiting 25 minutes for the bus. We did get back to the hotel before the bus riders did but it is a dull walk and you do want it to be over especially when you have to climb the last short but slightly steeper bit through Selva to reach the hotel. If we have any more walks that end in San Cristina I think I'll take the bus back. Overall though this 8 mile walk was well worth doing as it had a variety of scenery and was also pretty quiet.

View all the photos (14 photos) for both walks.


Post a Comment