Alta Via Day 1 or, If You Really Loved Me You Would Bring Me Edelweiss

So, I’m blogging from my phone because for the first time in about 15 years I left my laptop at home. I’ll be in the mountains for the next 5 days hiking the Dolomites. An upside of not having a laptop, dear reader, is the posts will be shorter given I’m no iPhone novelist.

Anyway, day 1 Antonella and I started out with an hour train ride north to the town of Bressanone (Brixen) in Alto Adige.* From there a bus ride to a lift that would take us up to the top of Plose Mountain at 2446 meters (or 7300 feet). The place was hopping (most places attached to a ski lift are) and the cyclist defying physics was a highlight during our short stay: https://vimeo.com/352277839

We got up to Plose around 11:30 AM and needed to make it to our first overnight destination Rifugio Genoa (a rifugio is Italian for a mountain hut for hikers with awesome food) before 6 PM which was 10 miles and a 500 meter (1500 feet) ascent away. We knew this would be tight given we were starting late, so we made sure to pack sandwiches to power through. The vistas were already remarkable, and the first 6 or 7 miles were all downhill from 2400 meters to about 1900. We were moving and grooving, we even had some bovine traffic on the trail.


Also, the wood carvings were equal parts amusing and haunting, but seeing s fullblown wood ship sailing through thr aloine woods was refreshing, if not odd.

Wood carving aliens

Do you see what I see?

A ship in the woods leftover from the ice age

All was wine and roses and I was feeling strong and getting cocky, but as I’m sure you can imagine, I would pay for that. By 2:15 we stopped to eat our sandwiches after a solid 3 hours, and then we started our ascent after making it to Passo Rodella (with a short stint on the road) to the Forcella de Pütia, which sucked.

The hills are alive with the sound of bava

Alta Via 2

Brief stint on the road

Oh look at the pretty peaks, everything’s fine” he says

Alook back at the Plose (notice mountains still have snow in August)

It started mildly enough, but the last hour we basically were walking vertically for 300 meters (1000 feet). My 220 pound frame was feeling it, after about 500 feet I started re-thinking the whole thing, which probably won’t be the last time on this trip.

A look at the grueling ascent to Forcella de Pütia

I took a breather and gutted the last bit out, and my reward was worth it. Waiting for me was this guy!

This dog was begging for a picture at the Forcella de Pütia

And then there were the views. of thr views, views, views!!!

In fact, I had been to Forcella de Pütia in the Fall with Duke, but the path we took on that sojourn was much more forgiving. Once at the top a German family was kind enough to point out the rare flower Edelweiss growing in the wild, which immediately meant I would be breaking into song:

I was told this is Edelweiss

The last 40 minutes of the hike was spectacular, and brought us into Rifugio Genoa with an hour to spare. We were feeling accomplished!

Now a few impressions of my first time staying overnight at a Rifugio in Alto Adige:

  • These places are spotless. The Alto Adigeans may even be more orderly and neat than Jerry Seinfeld
  • Sleeping in a common room is a trip, just think of all the late night bodily excretions x10
  • The food in these Rifugi is awesome
  • You know all the hikers who are staying over night cause they’re the ones walking around in flip-flops
  • It gets quite chilly at night
  • The common dinner was a lot of fun, sharing stories with folks from Barcelona, Sydney, and Amsterdam was a real highlight

There are a lot of boots:

And that was day 1, below was the final shot of the day capturing the Odle group of Dolemite as the sun was retreating. Tomorrow we go in search of a path to take us to the other side of this stunning group:

P.S. -looks like I lied about the whole phone related brevity thing, but it’s my blog and I’ll go on ad nauseam if I want to.


*Alto Adige (Süd Tirol) is a border region that was annexed to Italy after WW1 but the primary language is still German, but it is effectively a bi-lingual region if Italy, although there is some tension for sure given the strong-handed measures of Italianizing the region during fascism that still linger. Anyway, all this to say if I know the German name for a place I’ll try and include it in parentheses, like Brixen for Bressanone, etc.

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1 Response to Alta Via Day 1 or, If You Really Loved Me You Would Bring Me Edelweiss

  1. Anne-Marie Scott says:

    Wow! Your photos do not disappoint.

    In fact, I’m *almost* feeling like I want to put my boots on and walk in your footsteps. If it wasn’t for a bum knee (gloss over my general fitness levels) I totally would. That is some stunning scenery. I look forward to further installments.

    (never mention bodily secretions again)

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