Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday hike in Ortisei

I struck out on my own today for a hike.  After yesterday's guided hike, I was ready to go at my own pace.  I bought something called a Gardena card, which lets you ride all the lifts / trams / funiculars / buses to get around the valley.  This is really how the access works around here.  I took a tram / large gondola up the opposite side of the valley from yesterday to start hiking, gaining a fast 3000 vertical feet in 15 minutes.  The land really opens up outside of the valley.  The area I hiked in today had multiple very small towns, a number of ski lifts, but very few cut ski runs.  The area is mostly open though and the scenery was nothing short of spectacular.  The area is mostly high mountain farms, some of which become huts or restaurants for the hikers.  There are quite a few hikers (trekkers) here, of all ages.  The numbers thin out after an hour or so of relatively (for me at almost 59) fast pace.  I hiked down to a valley from the top of the tram, past two large hotels, then up a relatively small rise (around 400 vertical) then down around 1000 vertical to a small town called Saltria.  From there, I climbed around 2500 vertical to a beautiful hut / restaurant called Molignon.  I was already out around 2 hours at this time, so I resisted having a lunch there.

From this hut, I had a really beautiful contouring up and down, but keeping the same relative altitude for around 4 miles above timberline, just below the jutting dolomiti.  Really amazing.  I passed a number of farms, eventually coming to another hut / restaurant called Zallinger.  I again resisted as time was certainly passing, and started descending back down to Saltria.  From Saltria, I re-traced my route from the morning to a short lift that took me back to the tram station.  I think I must have lost my camera on the lift, as when I checked for it after getting out of the tram, it was gone.  Oh well.  It was around 6 years old and digital cameras have come a long way since then.  I will borrow Emily's camera in the meantime, but I don't have photos of the beautiful scenery to share.  I will include a couple from yesterday that show the area I hiked in, as viewed from the other side of the valley.

The tram I took from the valley - it really is 3000 vertical gained.

I actually hiked to the right of the spire you see, but the landscape where it opens up and is green is very similar to where I was hiking.

At the very right of this picture, is the Zallinger hut, which is the farthest I hiked today toward the dolomiti formation centered in this picture.  

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