Lessons learned and summary:
- Alternative route to the desolate section of yesterday’s stage (for advanced hikers) – via ferrata to the summit of Piz Boé (3,125 m.n.m.)
- Crossover from South Tyrol to Trento province at this stage
- Quite a “civilized” section (many huts on the way – Rifugio Forcella Pordoi, Viel del Pan), resorts Passo Pordoi, Passo Fedaia
The ending of tomorrow was just as precarious as the day itself. We got into an oddly arid and deserted section between Rif Boé hut (which was closed due to reconstruction) and Rif Forcella Pordoi. Finding a camping spot was difficult. With the help of a map we decided to reach a little lake situated under the Piz Boé peak and see if we could find a spot there as well as some water. When we arrived to the point of destination, we found a muddy puddle instead of a little lake. Great! No water again.
We decided to stay on a spot right above the path below a spiky Piz Boé peak. It’s possible to take a detour off Alta Via 2 onto a via ferrata leading to the Piz Boé peak (3,125 m.n.m.). There’s even a rifugio at the top. Last night it was quite lively as it was full of people. We have heard their laughter. They, too, must have known of us. I’m certain that they could see us from above. That together with the nearby cablecar station made me a bit nervous. Our spot was simply too visible from all angles. But luckily there was no problem and the night went on peacefully. Except for a strong cold wind slashing our faces and frozen noses. Not the best lullaby. But at least a stunning evening view made things a bit better.
In the morning we are ready for a fresh start of another stage. While going (slipping) down the steep hill, our morning verve is quickly gone. My knee keeps letting me know that it is not a big fan of this. Today’s stage will be fairly civilized (meaning we will be passing though many huts and resorts) and that means only one thing – temptations. We take one break after another – coffee break, limo break, free-wifi break, lunch break, ice-cream break…our pace is misarable.
We descend all the way from Forcella Pordoi hut to the road zigzagging through Passo Pordoi – a borderline between Trento and Belluno province. From here we have to climb up again, pass through a cablecar complex and continue via a panoramic path with a group of tourists to the hut Rif Viel del Pan. Its name makes me laugh. Combining German, Italian and Spanish I arrive at the translation “A lot of bread hut”. Well if there really was a lot of bread we don’t know. But there definitely were a lot of people. Actually that many that it discouraged us from stopping here.
The thought of bread made me hungry. Few hundreds of meters far from the hut we stop to enjoy a lunch. When Thomas pulls the food bag out of his backpack, he finds out that a jar of Ajvar got spilled. Have you ever seen an Ajvar spilled all over the place? Terrible sight….Simply terrible. It resembles a morning look into a toilet bowl after a wild party night. In order to fix the situation, we had to sacrifice 2 packages of paper towels…and yet…all the other items in the bag remain oily and orange. Plus we lost our Ajvar…what a calamity!
We continue our panoramic walk heading to a large pond – Lage di Fedaia. While filling our water bottles from a tiny rill, a giant sheep herd catches us by surprise. We got used to similar encounters in Spain. Nevertheless, the size of this herd is overwhelming. It seems like there are hundreds of sheep. And so we sit on the side of the path, waiting for all of them to pass. I don’t even try to count them. I think I would fall asleep…We wait for 20 or 30 minutes. Later on, we get a chance to see the herd one more time from below the hill. Its size is indeed entrancing.
We take another break of the day at the pond. The sun rays suddenly dissapear and dark clouds form quickly in the sky. We can hear a tunder in the distance. We find ourselves in a hollow inbetween two rocky massifs and see the thundery clouds converging from both sides. It’s more than clear that they will clash right above us. Damn! What now? I really don’t like thunderstorms…We can’t afford to waste any more time here. Hoping that we will find a good camping spot soon, we begin to climb the majestic rocky giant with sweet name – Marmolada mountain. I can feel we are heading right to the storm’s epicentrum…Let’s hope for the best.
It does not take long before the storm breaks. Fierce rain, strong wind and also hailstones. Welcome to Mordor! Thunder roars, the lightning stikes right above our heads. Enough! There’s no way I’m doing a single step more. Not during the storm. I crouch down in a ball-like (safety) position (they say) with my head tucked and arms around my knees. Thomas protests at first but later he comes and joins me. And so we sit and wait in our colorful ponchos at the side of the path. It’s pouring down on us and cold raindrops keep running down our arms and backs. Delightful. But I guess it’s still better than being a walking lightning rot.
When the tunderstorms finally leave off, we dare to continue. I would like to camp as soon as possible. I’m soaked, cold and fed up. I think today is the day for our tent. The path is still too steep and frequented though. And so we have no other choice than to keep climbing higher. For a little while we consider asking for a lodging at the nearby hut (Rif Pain dei Fiacconi) but we abandon this idea eventually. We probably wouldn’t succeed without a reservation anyways. We find a flat ground for a tent in an open space with a view of the valley. I certainly hope the storm won’t come back. There are two things I fear the most in the mountains – storms and falling trees.