Alta Via Day 3 Or, the High Plains Drifters

I wrote this post on August 7th, the evening following a magical third day of our hike through the Dolemites. You can read the post about day 1 here and day 2 here. I was able to write three posts while still hiking, but two of them (this one included) sat in my draft queue given a lack of any real photo organization skills (not to mention uploading them from the trail which was increasingly harder the higher and further we climbed). The third day had us hiking from Val Gardena to Val Badia, which was a new valley for me and as stunning as the others–if not more so. I promised myself I would get these posts out by year’s end, so this is my last ditch effort. [Finally published on January 1, 2020.]

Alta Via 2 Day 3

We left Rifugio Firenze around 7:30 AM after another unsatisfying continental breakfast, but on the upside we had our own room and we could spread out a bit. One of the things we were concerned about going into day 3 were some ferrate (basically steel wire affixed to the mountain face to assist when shit gets crazy) littering the map of the trail that morning. We asked the woman who ran the rifugio (who reminded me of my sister Kissy) if it was manageable without gear and she said “Absolutely! The ferrate signs are just on the map to keep the baby carriages out!” The alpine folks are a special breed. I’m racing against WiFi and time so I’ll try and keep this brief.

Our First Ferrata

We headed out for the high plains which would peak at about 2700 meters, up from 2200. The climb was almost immediate, and the morning shots were absolutely stunning:

Heading into Day 3

Rock River

The Puez Odle Group from the other side

Preparing for the ascent

2 and half Hours up to Rifugio Puez

Leaving Rock River

Heading Up

Alta Via Day 3

Alta Via Day 3

Alta Via Day 3

Once we reached the high plains after a 500 meter ascent, the plains opened up before us! We took the 2/3 trail which put us back on the Alta Via, and we got to the Rifugio Puez by 11 AM. Along the way we saw all sorts of animal life in the high plains, it is truly wild to see marmots, free-range sheep, and even a mountain goat we couldn’t picture.

On our way to Puez

High Plains Lambs

Anto Going in for the Kill

Alta Via 2 Day 3

Path pano

We were feeling awesome, and after a coffee at the Puez Rifugio we pushed on to the 1|11 trails to get to our stop for the night, Rifugio Gardenacia which is on the Eastern-most border of the Puez-Odle natural park. The landscape along the 1 and then the 11 was out of this world, almost lunar.

Rifugio Puez

1 | 11

Stay the Course

A bava in the Mist


Rifugio Gherdenacia our desitnation


After a couple of hours on the 11 (which got long) we descended about 600 meters and Val Badia opened up like green flower below us. 

Smiley Happy People Laughing

Following the Leader

2019-08-06 13.35.14 HDR

2019-08-06 13.35.50 HDR

After an hour descent, we arrived safely at Rifugio Gardenacia, right before the rain.

2019-08-06 13.45.25

2019-08-06 13.52.20

2019-08-06 13.53.30

2019-08-06 15.11.43 HDR

2019-08-06 15.11.49

Rifugio Gardenacia was awesome, the panorama was the best I’ve seen at a rifugio, and the whole experience there was awesome. The room ruled, the food was delicious, and we even had a young kid playing traditional music on the accordion!

This day was a win, and we officially finished half the trip.

This entry was posted in fun, hiking, Reclaim Italy, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Alta Via Day 3 Or, the High Plains Drifters

  1. Pingback: Alta Via 2 Post Mortem | bavatuesdays

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.