Friday, October 21, 2016

Dolomites - Day 9: A hike and an easy via ferrata

With just a few days left on our vacation we decided to take the bus to the Gardena Pass, and then hike back over the high peaks to our B&B.  We found the bus stop without any problems and managed to get on the correct bus!

Soon we were on our way up the valley, navigating hairpin bends and steep drops on either side of the road.  We passed through the small neighboring village of Colfosco and then arrived at the Gardena Pass.  It was a beautiful Sunday and we had plenty of other people to keep us company.

The first part of our adventure was an short side trail to the minor summit called Gran Cir.  The path to the summit is listed as a grade-1 (easy) via ferrata and we found it easy enough that we didn't need any safety equipment.  The biggest hazard was the loose rock being dislodged by hikers above us.  The views from the top were great, and we could see the via ferratae that we had climbed on the previous two days.

The summit of Gran Cir

From Gran Cir we scrambled back down to the nearby refugio for a cold beer, and then headed back out on the trail for an afternoon hike back to Corvara.  The path stays at high level all the way and affords splendid views of the rocky limestone landscape that is typical of the Dolomites.  In places it reminded us of the Yorkshire moorlands with limestone pavements and caves very similar to those around Malham Cove.

Eventually we could see the peak called Sassongher that loomed above the town of Corvara.  We were excited to see this from this vantage point as we planned to hike to its summit the following day.  We were able to scope out the route up and determined that we could use a nearby chair lift to minimize the impact on our knees!

The peak of Sassongher

We were out hiking much later than most days and we paid the price for this our last hour of hiking.  The clouds that had been building up over the peaks during the afternoon coalesced and we were treated to a sudden downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning.  Thankfully we had remembered to pack our rain-gear and we arrived back at the B&B a little damp but quite content to have had another great day in the mountains.

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