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Pralongià: The Most Beautiful Hike (1)

29 Jul

Pralongià: The Most Beautiful Hike

How could I pick this Day 4 hike as the most beautiful when each day’s hike produced scenery that was breathtaking? I chose this one because it had the elements which drew me here to begin with. I am referring to the green rolling hillsides and valleys with the towering stark peaks above covered with snow. To top it off the weather was absolutely perfect…sunny with some clouds and fresh cool mountain air. Blue sky, white snow and clouds, green meadows. These are the three colors of the Ladin flag. This lead photograph shows Marmolada, the Queen of the Dolomites, draped with glacial ice, the only glacier in the area. As we walked we could see mountains in all directions. There were so many beautiful views that I am breaking up this post into several segments.

We began early in the morning taking the gondola to Col Alt. Far below was the town of Corvara at the bottom of the valley. The Sella towered above. (The Sella can be considered the center of the Dolomite region).

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At the top we got our first stunning view of Marmolada blinding in the morning sun.

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In another direction we saw La Varella, the mountain where they have recently uncovered a prehistoric bear foot. We were standing on the undulating green hills of the Col Alt.

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In yet another direction we could look out on the peaks of the Austrian Alps in the North.

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Standing above the valley and covered in clouds was the tall sentinel of Sassongher.

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At first our path headed downhill, but not for long.

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Looking back on the Sella.

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Here were the rolling green hills we would climb to the Pralongià Plateau.

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We climbed through forested areas as well.

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I would have gladly rested here on this bench to catch my breath and contemplate the beauty all around me. However, this was a hiking trip, and we kept hiking. You can see the path that we were on curving up the hill ahead.

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I asked Marion to take some photos of me climbing the steep path so that I could show everyone back home the difficulty level of the hiking. Here you can see me with my orange backpack negotiating this particularly difficult stretch. Then in the following photo, if you look closely, you can see my arms in victory after I reach the top.

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Higher up now we saw Sella from a different vantage point.

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In the distance we saw Lagazuoi, our destination for tomorrow.

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I got out my camera for a people picture, and all of a sudden a voice drawled “Can I take a photo with all of you?” It was strange because the man’s voice sounded like John Wayne. I thought I was the only American in these parts. I asked him,” Where are you from?” Can you guess his answer? “California.” Whoa, that’s heavy man, being this far from the USA. So here we were, the hikers three, Vladimir, Marion, and me.

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A mountain hut with La Crusz behind (that is Santa Croce where we had hiked the previous day). To the right, La Varella.

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Once more Sassongher dramatically lit by the sun filtered through the clouds.

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La Crusz and La Varella.

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The path from whence we had come.

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Approaching one of the rifugios, this one called Bioch.

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From here there was a magnificent direct view of Marmolada.

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There was a large playground and sunning area here. Those big log chairs looked so inviting. I wanted to chase those kids off and lay down. This was not yet our stopping place.

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17 Responses to “Pralongià: The Most Beautiful Hike (1)”

  1. Michael Rappa July 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Gorgeous. I think I’m adding this area to my bucket list.

    • Rosemarie July 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

      You can’t go wrong experiencing the Dolomites.

  2. mflahertyphoto July 29, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    So beautiful!

    • Rosemarie July 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

      When the scenery is so breathtakingly beautiful, it is difficult to take a bad photo. Thank you.

  3. lagottocattleya July 29, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    I see what you mean with the most beautiful hike – breathtaking photos of the views!

    • Rosemarie July 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      The next two hikes also have amazing scenery, but much more stark and dramatic.

  4. Deborah Bloom July 29, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    Wow! Stunning! Debbie

    Sent from my iPad

    • Rosemarie July 29, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

      Yes, I saw it from the train 40 years ago and never forgot it.

  5. Reggie July 31, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    Oh my, oh my, this is just breathtaking scenery, Rosemarie. I am curious: How many kilometres did you hike that day, and at what altitude were you walking? And were you still feeling the effects of your cold/flu?

    • Rosemarie July 31, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      I am not sure how many kilometres. It was definitely our longest hike. I think in miles it must have been between 10 and 12 miles. The altitude was about 2500+ meters, or about 7,000 feet above sea level. That is what made it much more difficult for me, who lives at 470 feet above sea level. I still had a full blown cold at the time, my second day out after being in bed with a fever. It’s called willpower.

      • Reggie July 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

        Willpower – indeed! As someone who’s lived most of her life at sea-level, I can imagine how challenging it must have been to walk under those conditions. Lots of pats on the back for you, Rosemarie. 🙂

  6. Heyjude July 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Wonderful scenery and I admire your ability to hike up there. I find going downhill really jolts my knees nowadays, but I do love the landscapes found in mountainous regions. I can see why you liked this hike – the background of those peaks is stunning. We passed these en route to Venice last year from Slovenia, which also has stunning mountain ranges.
    Jude xx

    • Rosemarie July 31, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Now I know my limits. I would not book a weeklong hike again. I would love to go back to the area again but on my own terms.

      • Heyjude July 31, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

        That is a long time to be hiking day after day, but you succeeded so that is something to feel good about, do you think it was easier (not that any of it looked easy) being only two of you?

        I have found in larger groups with younger folk in the mix it can be difficult to keep up. In fact I stopped trying to ‘keep up’ on a hike in the Grampians (Aus) when I was 48 as my knees were very painful and I thought “This is silly, I am paying for this and it is no longer a pleasure.” So I sat on a boulder and admired the wonderful views whilst waiting for the rest of the group to finish their climb and come back.

        I think it is good to know your limits, whatever they are, and feel confident about sticking to them. Some guides can be a bit bullying. Yours seemed very nice however.

      • Rosemarie July 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

        I was always lagging behind, but I was the one who wanted to photograph everything. The others were just hiking. The other client was older but had been in the mountains doing active stuff most of his life. The altitude was not a shock to his system the way it was to mine. The last day we separated and I did my own thing for the last half of the hike.

  7. Cee Neuner March 25, 2014 at 12:51 am #

    Beautiful!

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