Friday, November 30, 2012

Selva, Italy - September, 2012 (Day 9)

Hiking from Jimmy Hutte

Just beyond Jimmy Hutte. That place seemed to be partly built into the mountain though i realize i feel that way because of the dungeon-like sense you got searching for the bathrooms. Most of these open slopes were likely ski slopes.

The storm that brought us the snow that fell above the 2,000 meter line and considerably colder temperatures moved quickly through the region. Today dawned with crystal clear skies. While the temperature was initially about 40 degrees at the 2,200 meter mark it would warm up quite a bit as the day wore on. In other words our last day of hiking in the Dolomites was again graced with excellent weather.

We decided to do the easier walk. The harder walk was just over 10 miles long and had over 4,500 feet of descent and about 2,000 feet of ascent. That just seemed like a bit much. Our walk would be a mere 7 or 8 miles with about 1,900 feet of ascent and 2,800 feet of descent (I know we were actually told much lower numbers but if the GPS track is to be believed tey were closer to these). What would make this walk different from the others we had done was that we would visit a new valley. We headed out of Selva, going primarily east, to a lift that would take us up to about the 2,200 meter line at Passo Gardena (Gardena Pass). From there we could look back down towards Selva though we could not really make out the town. We began the actual walk at about 10:00 and as I have noted the temeprature was not much above freezing. There was also a modest breeze, less than 10MPH to give the air a bit of a bite, but the sun was shining in clear skies so all was very well indeed. We quickly began descending a moderate dirt path winding our way down a mountainside that had a patch or two of clinging snow still but was essentially completely clear of any signs of the storm. In short order we arrived at a rifugio that everyone apparently calls Jimmy and whose actual name I do not know. It must be partly built into the mountainside to judge by the dungeon-like warren you enter when trying to find the bathrooms. Some snow dripped off the buidling's roof and bits of snow clung to the deck where we sat around tables enjoying snacks and drinks. It was a nice place to sit for a few minutes though it did come rather early in our walk and I expect if the three of us were to repeat the walk we wouldn't stop there.

Dolomite alpine valley
I am not sure if we are looking out towards Selva in Val Gardena or down into the valley we would be hiking through towards Jimmy Hutte.
Our descent would continue taking us under a gondola and then we would begin contouring around, heading generally east, along a ridge that to our left sported the massive cliffs that seperate the Edelweiss and Gardena valleys. Those cliffs would dominate the view on that side all day long. Our walk would meander through high meadows, and sometimes through small stands of forest. Those little changes from light to shadow did slow me up a bit but the walking was really quite easy. Now and then we had to leave the easy hiking path for a mountain road but since there never was any traffic this was really no big deal. When we had the chance to bypass those roads by simply working our way down grassy slopes, often ski slopes, we did.

Mountain hut
Now and then we encountered small mountain huts like this one.
We saw few people today. I suppose there were some at Rifugio Jimmy and I think we passed and were passed (in either direction) by a few near that first refuge but until we reached the Edelweiss Rifugio I think we encountered just a handful of folks and, surprisingly, two dogs.

Lunch spot
By the time we had worked our way to the Edelweiss Rifugio the afternoon had warmed up quite a bit. We had easily reached an air temperature well into the 60s and sitting on the sun deck of the rifugio I am sure the sunshine temperature was closer to 80. To reach that last place we first had to work our way through a few hundred meters of slightly scramblly trail. It was the only tough bit of the walk as far as footing was concerned. Plenty of twisty roots and high rocks to impede ones path. But if we had not taken this slightly round-about way we would never have disturbed (or, more precisely, I think the dog did the disturbing) the marmot and heard it scream in response. A marmot apparently makes a very loud whistle-like sound that would do an emergency whistle proud. After finishing the scramble we ascended a mountain road for a ways before splitting the group a second time with some heading down directly to Corvara and the rest of us retracing our steps via a ski slope down to the Edelweiss Hutte and then into Cofusco (sp).

Rifugio Edelweiss' sun deck

Nothing quite like relaxing in the sun on chase lounge chairs on the sun deck of a mountain hutte like Edelweiss Hutte. From here it is a quick road descent into Colfosco.

Stopping at Edelweiss Hutte was quite nice. Sipping a beer or soda and basking in the sun was a real fine way to end the hike. I am sure that this place can get quite crowded given its location near a town and several ski trails. We hung around for a good half hour before making the final descent into town. Along the way we passed by a small herd of horses. I've no idea if these animals are roaming free and wild but they aren't fenced in and clearly have no concerns about people. They were quite approachable and just did not seem to care we were around. They had more important things to do like crop the grass.

Arriving in the small mountain town of Colfosco just before 15:00 we had time to kill before taking a bus back to Selva. Given that there wasn't anywhere to really sit we just stood around the bus stop and waited. That is as dull as it sounds. But the bus ride would make up for it. We climbed up a twisting mountain road to the pass at just over 2,100 meters (the town we had been in was at about 1,640 meters) and it was quite a scenic ride indeed. The bus drivers definitely have to pay attention to what they're doing when driving this , and similar, roads. We were dropped off in a little town just above Selva where we would catch a bus for the very quick ride into downtown Selva. All told we probably spent an hour on the buses.

This was a nice way to end the week of hiking. It might not have been a phusically demanding final walk but the scenery was enjoyable and the weather was certainly conducive to not rushing through the mountains. Sometimes it is alright to take your time getting from place to place. We enjoyed ourselves on this last walk just as we enjoyed all the other treks we did.


View all the photos (9 photos) for today's walk.

To see the general map and our route visit here.


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