Saturday, September 02, 2023

A Final Dolomites Trek Posting - Days 7, 8, and 9 - Refugio Tissi to to Refugio Carestiato to Malga Pramper to Val di Zoldo

Thank you so much for reading this series of blog postings on my trek to the Dolomite Mountains in northeast Italy! This is the last posting for that trip. I have many adventures lined up for next year and I hope you will continue reading about the places I am so fortunate to visit in my work. 

View of Torre Venezia, south of Tissi

With 2/3rds of the hike complete we began our final push to the end of the trek. A bit of overcast and light drizzle caught up to us Day 7 and we opted for a taxi ride around a difficult description of the route. (In hindsight, I would rethink that detour now). We celebrated Don's birthday at Refugio Carestiato, then trekked in fog to Malga Pramper on Day 8. Sunshine found us again on Day 9 as we finished the trip with a downhill walk into the village of Val di Zoldo.

Map showing the route for Days 7, 8, and 9 - the blue line is by taxi, yellow on foot

Day 7 - Refugio Tissi to Refugio Carestiato

The valley south of Tissi made for pleasant downhill walking

It was a beautiful valley with wide views and turreted peaks

Helen and Don passing a rickety gate along the trail

Outwash from a relatively recent debris flow

The Torre Venezia (Venice Tower) in increasingly cloudy skies

The forcella (pass or saddle) in the distance is where we would have walked

Mountain scenery in Italy

Look at the depth of rocky debris in the wall of that arroyo!

More debris flows near Capanna Trieste - we met our van driver at the bottom of the canyon

Capanna Trieste and our ride to Agordo and Passo Duran - next time I will walk it!

A rural water source along the way to Carestiato

Refugio Carestiato was a pleasant stop with great food

View of the ranges to the southeast from Carestiato

Don and Anne share a moment on the porch of the refugio - view to the west

View to the southeast from Carestiato

Day 8 - Refugio Carestiato to Malga Pramper

Leaving Refugio Carestiato through trees and mountains

This huge debris flow looked really recent and is visible on
Google Earth

A quiet morning walk through the green

This area south of Passo Duran was boggy

And quite lush!

Mountain ferns

This is the ruins of an old farm that took advantage of a large boulder for one of the walls

After the dark forest walk, I really enjoyed this contour path across a rocky slope

We saw so many flowers and I've posted so few photos of them - this one is called Dianthus hyssopifolius.

Looking back to the contour path on the rocky slope

Into the clouds - I'm sure we missed out on some great scenery here

There are many different kinds of preserves in the Dolomites - this is one of them.

A World War I ruin built in 1915

The tail junction to Malga Pramper (malga is Italian for "farm")

The Cima Pramper tucked into the clouds

Look at those debris flows issuing from the mountain!

Malga Pramper sleeps only a maximum of 8 people - there were six of us this night

They make fresh cheeses at this farm with all of the dairy cows

Fresh cheeses made here at the farm

The ricotta was made in the morning and consumed in about 10 minutes in the afternoon

Painting on the wall inside the farm

Day 9 -  Malga Pramper to Val di Zoldo Village

The last day was bittersweet - the trek was over as the sun emerged

The setting of Val di Zoldo

I want to thank my hiking mates who made this trip so remarkable - Thank you!

And to this special lady who is the light of my life!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

The Dolomites - Days 5 and 6 - Refugio Cinque Torri to Staulanza to Refugio Tissi

Route of hike on Day 5

Now midway through the hike, we had attained our trail legs and felt at ease with the trail conditions and the terrain of the Dolomites. However, Day 5 turned out to be the longest of the whole trip at just under 15 miles. At mile 10, I began to feel hotspots on the soles of my feet and needed to take care of it before they blew-up into full-fledged blisters. And as I sat down to have Helen tend to my feet, my cell phone butt-dialed two friends just waking up at 7 AM in California (my apologies Don and Vincent). All in a days karma. The scenery on these two days was every bit as good as previous days - maybe even more spectacular if that is possible! And the weather cooperated nicely as you will see.

Day 5 - Refugio Cinque Torri to Staulanza 

We said goodbye to the Cinqui Torri, one of the more famous landforms in the Dolomites

A steep descent greeted us first thing in the morning - I likely frowned knowing that "up" was to follow

Yes, there is a hiker (Helen) where the cliff "touches" the trail

A southern view toward Passo Giau

Looking back to the north from near Passo Giau - Monte Ragusela rises above

From Passo Giau looking east toward Monte Antelao - another distinct and separate massif in the Dolomites

A glaciated valley points toward Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites at 10,968 feet

The trudge up to Forcella Giau looking northwest - note the northeast dip on the strata

Finally! Something other than white Triassic limestone - a brown shale and sandstone

Moving easily from Passo Giau toward the east with Mount Pelmo looming in the distance

The size of the boulders was astounding but even they were dwarfed by the immense relief of the mountains

This was a relatively easy passage toward Forcella (Pass) Ambrizzola - and oh, so scenic!

There were a few interpretive signs along the way and some of them had English translations. Below is a cross-section seen along the trail near Forcella Ambrizzola, along with an English translation on the formation of the Dolomites. The text looks to be a direct translation from Italian to English. A translation by me of the signed translation is as follows: The modern appearance and spectacular formation of the Dolomites is the result of multiple events over long spans of geologic time, that act together to make these mountains unique. And it is the presence of alternating rock types - harder layers that form plateaus and cliffs - and softer rocks that weather and degrade readily to form slopes and valleys. This combination yields the varied topography of peaks and valleys. The last part about French mineralogist Dolomieu is readily understood. Not mentioned here are the glaciers that swept through the Dolomites to excavate the deep valleys. The red lines below are faults. The reference to hydrochloric acid means that limestone will readily fizz when in contact with HCl but dolomite (or dolostone as it is now being called) will only fizz with Hal after being powdered with a sharp instrument.

Cortina d'Ampezzo, seen from Forcella Ambrizzola, will host three Olympic events in 2026

Rest stop along the trail with a fantastic view of Mt. Pelmo in the distance, elevation 10,394 feet

Triassic limestone and flowers frame a view of Mt. Pelmo

Along the road in the left distance is where I developed some hot spots on my feet

Graceful Mt. Pelmo

Recent rocks from a debris flow issue from a drainage at the foot of Mount Pelmo on our way to Staulanza

What a relief to see the forest where Staulanza is located - 15 miles!

 Day 6 - Refugio Staulanza to Refugio Tissi

Route of hike on Day 6 - solid blue line is by taxi; dashed yellow line by foot.

Three miles on pavement did not sound enticing to our small group and so we opted to take a short taxi ride to save three miles of frustrating walking. The cost was 40 Euros. We were let off at Malga Vescova, a small farm where we began our uphill climb to Refugio Coldai of about 1,450 feet. It was pleasant walking in bright sunshine, with some flat areas to admire the scenery.

Hand painted sign to Refugio's Coldai and Tissi at the start of a spectacular climb

At the top looking back (northeast) to Mt. Pelmo and Staulanza in the valley to its left

Refugio Coldai (cappuccino!) and the forcella beyond that leads to Lago Coldai 

Lago Coldai on a Monday afternoon

On the shore of Lago Coldai where we enjoyed lunch

We got occasional views down 2,000 feet to the village of Alleghe and its reservoir

Leaving Coldai and a view toward our destination of Refugio Tissi, located on the lip of a cliff

I complained a lot when we got to a high point, only to see that we might have to descend rapidly and then hike back up. In the view above you can see just that. It was virtually straight across to Refugio Tissi but it necessitated a 700-foot descent with a climb back up 800 feet.

Anne on the trail to Refugio Tissi

I wanted so badly to take the trail on the left that contoured to Tissi but my trail mates talked me out of it

Huffing and puffing on the straight-up climb to Tissi

And what a view it was! Mt. Civetta on the skyline in the clouds (elev. 10,564 ft.)

On the front porch of Refugio Tissi - a rustic but scenic outpost on the edge of a cliff

With love from Refugio Tissi

Looking south from the Refugio - our path the following day was in the forested valley below

Dryas octopetala frames the view to the northwest into the valley and reservoir near Alleghe

Dramatic view to the northeast with a view of Mt. Pelmo in the upper right distance

Don and Anne share a moment at Tissi

The Dolomites near Alleghe

 Thank you for reading! I will have one more post to finish this hike with Days 7, 8, and 9.