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Mountain Climbers

10 Aug

Mountain Climbers

They challenge the mountains in ways most people would never attempt. They get everyone’s attention. When someone spots mountain climbers, everyone’s eyes become riveted on their maneuvers. I could barely see these guys with the naked eye, but when I put the zoom lens on the camera, I came up with these shots. I can’t believe how they cling to that shear rock face. Tre Cime is a favorite spot for mountain climbing because it is easily accessible.

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Making my way back to Rifugio Auronzo and the car. I had time to have a cup of tea while waiting for the others to arrive back by the alternate route.

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Going Solo

10 Aug

Going Solo

After I split with the group, I headed back on my own. I stomped my way through the thick snow cover to this lovely glacial pond and managed to capture the clouds’ reflection in the pool.

Back once more across the scree slides.

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A helicopter rescue.

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Rifugio Lavaredo.

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Mountain landscapes don’t get more dramatic than this.

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I’m glad I wasn’t there when that piece of mountain fell down.

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“I Was There” Postcards

10 Aug

You always have to have some photos that include you, so that you can prove that you were there. Here are mine, taken at the base of Tre Cime from an angle that shows the three peaks.

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See the person climbing up that snow laden scree. Some people do that.

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The tour buses arrived.

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Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

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Follow the Scree

8 Aug

Follow the Scree

Though this walk was more or less flat most of the way, it was still very long. I was always lagging behind the others, because I was the one with the camera. Around each bend or behind each boulder I found a new perspective on this fantastic landscape. The plan was for the three of us to walk the length of the Tre Cime past the rifugio. At the halfway point we would split. Marion and Vladimir would hike around the far side and I would return the way we came. The reason for that was that I have a fear of heights in exposed areas, and the far side had a number of exposed areas. I was happy with this plan, because I could take my time and make detours to take the photos I wanted. I could even take the time to change to a zoom lens. Behold the giants of the earth.

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This was a beautiful green plateau with two monuments and in the morning it was a beautiful contrast to the blue hue of the mountains in the distance.

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Tre Cime was also a battleground during World War I, and here are some gravestones of soldiers who never came home.

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I’m feeling on top of the world.

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In this rocky landscape tiny flowers still found purchase and provided a dash of color among the rocks.

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We would climb up there next.

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We approached Rifugio Lavaredo.

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This was our view as we sat outside to have something to drink.

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There had been heavy snows that season, and you can see the high wall of snow along the path.

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Upward, and we left the rifugio behind.

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Another beautiful Alpine wildflower in the rocks.  My only regret was that I never saw an Edelweiss in the wild. They cultivate them and in stores you can see them growing in pots, but it’s not the same thing.

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One view of Tre Cime.

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One Very Last Hike

8 Aug

One Very Last Hike Day 6! The last day in the Dolomites and the last time to hike with my orange daypack and purple hiking poles. Our destination…Tre Cime di Lavaredo (oder Drei Zinnen, auf Deutsch). English translation from the Italian is the very innocuous sounding “three peaks”, while the translation from the German is “three battlements”. The latter is definitely the more descriptive term, and considering the landscape I traversed and viewed that day, the more appropriate one. We began early in the day because Tre Cime is a VERY popular hiking area, and we wanted to beat the crowds and get a parking place. We found one near Rifugio Auronzo. DSC_0497

There was another parking area below and the first of the tour buses. DSC_0499

We got a good view of Croda Rossa, named for the bright reddish color of the rock. DSC_0500

From here we could look down on beautiful Lago Misurina where we would lunch later in the day. DSC_0501

The parking lot was filling up fast in the early morning. On this mountain the erosion lines were very pronounced.

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Then I saw my hike for today. The trail sliced through that slide of scree coming off of the towering monoliths known as Tre Cime. If you can see the tiny white rectangle near the right hand margin, that

is Rifugio Lavaredo. We would walk a little beyond that to the far side of the Tre Cime.

 

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Looking down the scree slide from the trail.

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A Walk into Town

7 Aug

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Cortina…pedestrian walkway. The golden color of some of the buildings indicates a shift in culture from the greater Tyrolean influence in the towns to the west. This town feels more Italian, although there is certainly a mix of styles. The church tower has straight sloping sides rather than the onion-shaped variety in Tyrolean towns.

You would think after a long hike in the higher altitudes that I would have been ready for a rest, but I wanted to see Cortina, and I needed to find a bank to replenish my Euros. Directly behind the back lawn of my little hotel there was a bike/hiking trail (paved) that led into the downtown with a 10-minute walk. I went for a stroll.

I walked up the sloping lawn of the quaint Hotel Menardi (which I highly recommend).

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Here I hopped onto the bike path. This path is a old rail line that has been transformed into a greenway. It goes for miles and miles in each direction. Speaking of rails, Cortina eliminated its trains and train station years ago. Public transportation to and from the city is only by bus.

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I got an intimate view of people’s houses and yards as I walked along.

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Before I hit the pedestrian zone there was a tiny little park with this small fountain.

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For the first time on this trip I passed frescoed walls, so Italian.

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I stopped in at the church where the organist was practicing. It was wonderful to hear the powerful sounds resounding through the church.

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Several mountain bikers made their way home through the pedestrian zone late in the day.

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Standing outside the Cooperativa, the big store in Cortina.

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A colorful house, “Ciasa” (chyaza) is house in Ladin.

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These banners represent the various allegiances of the people in this region. From Left to Right:

the flags of Veneto (state), Italy, the European Union, and the Ladin people.

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Sun sets on the rooftops of Cortina.

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On the way back to the hotel the surrounding mountains are lit with late afternoon Alpenglow.

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So glad to be back for the night at my Cortina home, Hotel Menardi.

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Two Rifugios

5 Aug

Two Rifugios

Mountain inns are such an important feature of the Dolomites. When you are out hiking, trekking, or mountaineering in nature or in the wild, they provide warmth, sustenance, and camaraderie at the end of the trail. We arrived at Rifugio Averau after a serious trek uphill from the Cinque Torri.

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A woman outside was busy stacking wood against the side of the building, almost like constructing a puzzle.

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The resident canine was a calm and observant German Shepherd.

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Inside there was a big old-fashioned stove that would turn all that wood outside into warmth when the weather turned cold.

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We ordered something to drink and then we made our way back down the trail.

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We passed a car on its  way up. That’s taking the easy way.

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Walking back down on the slippery scree was no party. You really need to watch where you place your feet, so that you don’t slide.

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Finally we were back at Cinque Torri and it had clouded up since the morning.

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Croda di Lago was looking positively ominous.

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However, we were at Rifugio Scoiattoli and it was time for lunch.

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Dogs are welcome at the rifugios.

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And they serve hearty fare.

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A cozy and amicable place to eat and rest after a day’s hike.

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Pralongià: It’s All Downhill from Here (5)

31 Jul

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Marion told us over lunch that we would be walking all the way back down into Corvara rather than taking the cable car. This was probably the longest hike I had ever made…between 10 and 12 miles.

The way down was marked by fields of wildflowers, most notably these voluptuous yellow globe flowers.

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Sassongher in the foreground, Puez in the background.

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Now we could begin to see some of the houses of Corvara.

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When we hit pavement, we knew we were almost back.

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We peered into a nicely kept Churchyard.

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And a lovely kitchen garden.

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That night we went to dinner in the town of Ojes (pronounced Oh, yes). The group included Marion Posch and her boyfriend Vincenzo, the Russian Vladimir, and me.

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Pralongià: Are We ThereYet? (4)

31 Jul

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Much to my chagrin Rifugio Pralongià was not our stopping place for lunch. We walked on. The small green peak in the near distance was the Col di Lana. Once more I photographed the Sella behind an unused chair lift. Some of the lifts operate only in ski season.

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As we began our descent we passed this meeting of bikers.

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Marion on the trail before the Marmolada.

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The starkness of the Sella offset by the exuberance of yellow globe flowers.

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Kids hiking up the trail. They made it seem so easy.

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And a lone mountain biker.

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Yes, here we are at Rifugio Marmotta. This is where we finally sat and ate lunch on our way down from the plateau.

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Hearty food. That’s what they serve. This was an appetizer of Speck (bacon).

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Looking down to the remainder of our way. This had to have been a good 10 to 11 mile hike.

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Pralongià: When Can We Eat? (3)

30 Jul

Pralongià: Let's Eat (3)

We had been walking a long, long time and a long way. Right in the center of this photo is a building atop a green hill. That is Col Alto where we had disembarked from the cable car in the morning. We had hiked up and around in a big “C” and would soon emerge at the other end of the “C” at Rifugio Pralongià. I was hopeful that we would enjoy a hearty lunch when we arrived…This photo shows a lot. The town in the valley on the left is Colfosco where we stayed. The mountain like an inverted funnel is Sassongher. The sunlit area behind it is the Puez Odle Natural Park. We did not hike there because the weather looked questionable, but the Puez is also a well-known hiking area. So this photo shows where we have been. Now onward. Sun peeking out on the Sella.

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Alpenroses blooming before La Varella.

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Marion leading the way to Rifugio Pralongià.

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Here come the mountain bikers. Everyone moves out of the way.

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Sella again.

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Sassongher and Puez.

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Finally Rifugio Pralongià.  Now can we eat?

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