Italy Calalzo 2001.07.01 - 07.04

More Dolomite Hikes

The Dolomites are gorgeous. They lured us back after our brief visit to Venice.

5 days remained before the start of our month of pre-paid reservations in France. We intended to lounge in Cinque Terre, a cluster of 5 coastal towns recommended by friends. To ensure accommodation availability, we reserved a room in the Cinque Terre town of Vernazza 2 weeks beforehand. These plans changed upon our first glimpse of the Dolomites earlier in the week. Vernazza reservations were easily canceled. Lisa had a vacancy at her B&B in Calalzo. We decided to return to the Dolomites for 3 days and leave the remaining 2 for Cinque Terre and the 8 hour train ride across Italy to get there.


Lisa was on vacation from her day job and wanted to take us to her favorite mountain refuge. We threw our hiking gear in the trunk of Lisa's car and drove to Longarone. High above the town is a dam that led to tragedy 20 years ago. After construction, a mountainside slid into the retained reservoir splashing a tidal wave of water over the dam into the valley below. The huge volume of water washed away several towns and resulted in 2500 deaths. Today, the towns are rebuilt and the former reservoir is a mountain of dirt and stone with a paved road over the top. We drove up this road to reach the trailhead.

After a short one hour walk from the paved road, we approached Rifugio Casera Ditta, the spot Lisa returns to about once per year. Sleeping is simple dorm style and meals are delicious but a bit pricey because ingredients are carried up the trail.

A warm welcome awaits you at Rifugio Casera Ditta. The more energetic can reach the peak in the background up steep marked trails.

Tre Cime de Lavaredo

We knew absolutely nothing about the Dolomites before arriving the first time. Lisa was shocked to learn that we intended to depart for Venice before seeing the "world famous" Tre Cime. She showed us photos, its location on the map, and insisted that we see it sometime in our lives. Tre Cime is the primary reason we altered our Cinque Terre schedule and returned to the Dolomites after Venice.

When viewed from the north from afar, the 3 peaks of Tre Cime form the shape of the Chinese character for "mountain". A simple 3-hour circular loop along hiking trails 101 and 105 connect mountain lodges Rifugio Auronzo on the south face and Rifugio Locatelli to the north. The loop has little ascent or descent and should be an easy day-walk for anyone with reasonable fitness. Unfortunately, because Tre Cime is well known in Europe, hundreds of tourists who look like they'd struggle to walk a mile on a flat paved road, attempt the loop in seeming agonized exhaustion. For those who enjoy walking, this endless stream of slow-paced winded plodders can get annoying. Those, however, who stay calm and enjoy the scenery should find the beauty of this hike enjoyable, even in high tourist season.

The three peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo are shaped like the Chinese character for "mountain" when viewed from the north.

Scenery along hiking trail 101.

Scenery along hiking trail 105.

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