Our second day in this dolomites trip starts from the Capanna Alpina restaurant, located a few kilometers above San Cassiano, 1740mt above sea level. Part of the trail goes up on what is one of the most unique ski tracks in the whole area. This is, indeed, the ski run that from mount Lagazuoi, approx. 2800mt above sea level, brings you all the way down to San Cassiano between spectacular mountain peaks, iced waterfalls and, last but not least, a “horse powered” ski-lift at the end of it… Yes, you got it right, a horse powered ski-lift. This is because at the end of the sloped part there is no way to be reconnected to the existing ski resorts unless you let horses pull you to the next ski resort (Armentarola).
I had the chance to ski this track almost 20 years ago and i still remember this as one of the most unforgettable things I’ve done in my life but, as funny as it may seem, id did not realize it until a few kilometers later.
Back to our trip, we get to Capanna Alpina early in the morning, in order to perform the majority of the ascent when the sun is still behind the mountains and to avoid the heat as much as possible.
The air is chilly, there’s a nice mist in the valley and the green grass in front of usi s simply beautiful. On our left the sun tries to find its way behind the mountains, generating a texture we can’t help but admire. It’s a good start, definitely a good start.
A few hundred meters away from the beginning, the trail starts to become steep, although easy as it is a well defined, compacted path. It is almost surprising how steep it is, we definitely did not expect this while planning our day. However, the area is too beautiful to complain about anything, it’s a matter of getting the right pace and try not to stop at each corner to take a picture (it’s hard, believe me). It takes us about an hour to get to our first target, Rifugio Scotoni. This mountain hoot located in a plateau (2040mt above sea level) is famous for its food, and is usually super-crowded. We get there too early to even think about food, but it’s always time for a coffee, especially considering that this is the closest facility to our final destination, Lagazuoi Lake.
The area is too beautiful to leave it immediately, therefore we take our time to enjoy the plateau, get some rest, and get a bit scary for the remaining part of our trail.
Yes, because in front of us we can clearly see a rocky, narrow, steep trail, almost a wall… considering that the “easy” part of the trail was steeper than the expected, the wall in front of us is a bit intimidating.
What makes us think we are overestimating the ascent level is the fact that many kids are climbing the same trail, without any help from their parents. We cannot give up, we just can’t especially if kids are doing it, therefore we start our ascent.
Unexpectedly, the climb is easier than we expected. Although steep and rocky, we get to the top in approx. 40 minutes, maybe 50. The landscape around usi s what slows us down. It’s too beautiful and the trail is so spectacular that it’s impossible to keep going without taking any picture.Once reached the top of the ascent, a short path on the left leads to the lake.
It’s a small lake, but it’s beautiful and the Fanes group on the right completes the perfect landscape for an unforgettable experience. Mount Lagazuoi is behind us, and there is a path that leads on top of the mount starting from the lake. Before taking any decision on what to do next, we spend a good hour around the lake taking photographs, having lunch, and even having a sunbath. Would anyone blame us for this? We almost think about having a swim in the lake, but we’re not brave enough to do it.
It’s now time to decide if we really want to keep going, and reach Mount Lagazuoi, or if it’s better to just go back to the car. The weather forecast, again, calls for rain showers in the afternoon, and considering that yesterday the forecast was right, we decide not to risk to be caught in heavy rain in the middle of nowhere. The fact that the remaining ascent to Mount Lagazuoi helps us taking this decision.
While going down we can enjoy the spectacular view of the valley below us even better than on our way up. Getting back to Rifugio Scotoni is easy, even though our knees remind us we’re not used to rocky mountains. In less than 30 minutes we’re at the plateau and guess what…I get another coffee at the mountain hoot.
We decide to spend some time at the plateau, trying to get good pictures and video footage, but a couple of rain drops bring us back to reality…It’s time to leave the plateau and go back (at a decent pace) to our car. Another 20 minutes and we’re back at the Capanna Alpina. Just in time, because while we’re still changing our boots, a heavy rain starts coming down. We rush our “undressing”, get into the car and take our way back to La Villa, the town we’re living for this dolomites trip.
While cooking our dinner we realize that today was even better than yesterday, despite the rain. One thing is to see these places on TV or YouTube, a whole different story is to be here, live them, walk them, breathe them. Today, as well as yesterday, will remain in our mind for a very long time. We also realize that we could go back to the same places over and over again, but never get bored. There so much to see, so many different trails, so many options…It’s almost too beautiful to be true.
Note: Some of the places shown in the posts from our Dolomites trip were dramatically hit by unexpected severe weather conditions at the end of October 2018. Strong winds and heavy rains damaged several woodland, villages and hiking trails. Images and descriptions on my blog refer to a trip we had almost 3 months before (beginning to mid August 2018). What shown in this blog may differ from what is the current status. I’m not aware of all the damages created by the weather, therefore this general note will be inserted in all the following posts. For those areas that I know for sure were damaged, I will point it out in the description.