44km Seiser Alm to Costadedói
Of all the places we’ve slept since our trip began, few have been more tranquil than the little spot we found high up in the Alps. Only the sounds of cow bells jingling in a nearby pasture came to wake us up. The field around us was filled with wildflowers and was truly beautiful to look at as we sipped our morning coffee. Breakfast finished and the tent down, it was time to do some work! Three mountain passes stood between us and our goal of reaching Cortina d’Ampezzo. First we had a steep descent through more fields and cow pastures and finally a stretch of woods until we reached a nearby valley. Then it was back up all over again to the Passo di Gardena: over 2,100 meters high in the sky. We had plenty of company for the climb, with dozens of racing cyclists also heading for the top, and when we reached the peak we had a long glide down through dozens of switchbacks. Our hands gripped the brakes the whole way. It’s a wonder we haven’t worn out our brake pads yet! Back down in another valley, the inevitable climb up again to the second of the day’s passes awaited us. First we had to track down some water, which is proving surprisingly difficult in the Dolomites. There are none of the public drinking fountains so common across Europe and precious few washrooms or other facilities where we might fill our bottles. Quite a surprise when you consider the number of walkers and cyclists about. After a prolonged search we wandered into a park, where we found a manhole cover open and a hose attached to the town water supply. Perfect! Andrew climbed down into the hole, turned on the tap and our bottles were soon filled. We started up the road, 14km long, that leads to Passo di Valparola but soon our legs began to let us know they’d had enough. A walking trail appeared on our right, next to a stream and with a good place for the tent. It looked like a good home for the night so we didn’t think twice about it. Time for a good break before the assault continues on the mountain tomorrow.