Route: Agriturismo „Valle Loana“ –> Cicogna
After this delicious break at the restaurant, we went back deep into the National Park. Stuffed indeed, yet ready and motivated to tackle our next summits after the rather miserable weather at the beginning of our trek. The storms from the days before were not truly over though and we had dark clouds gathering in our backs for most part of this hike again. But sometimes, travelling fulfils the cheesiest sayings… “Ohne Regen gibt es keine Regenbogen” – indeed. And we spotted a truly stunning specimen: A perfect, uninterrupted half-circle in the most vivid colours. It even turned into a double-rainbow for a bit. Amazing!
We arrived at the next shelter (A. Cortechuiso; 1,883m) in the afternoon, unfortunately it was a rather miserable and drafty thing. We really had to do some laundry though so decided to stay and make ourselves comfortable. Little did we know that we would have to share the view and the shack with 8 other hikers soon… After the first few days of almost complete solitude, we felt like we were sleeping in a crowded hostel 😀
Speaking of laundry: Naturally, we make sure to not pollute the rivers with chemicals. In addition to bio-degradable shampoo and soap, we always use soap nuts (read more about them HERE) to wash our clothes and we can really recommend them. They are a true outdoor hack, not expensive and in Germany, you can even buy them at the chemist DM. We spend the rest of the day washing away, chatting with the others and and enjoying the great views.
The whole group decided to get up before dawn and watch the sunrise together. Getting up before 5am always makes me grumpy as hell but frankly, it wasn’t even that much of an effort in the end because this night turned out to be the coldest and most miserable one of our whole trip and everyone was keen to get going. The views from Alpe Cortechuiso are fantastic, but we do not recommend the shelter itself. It was probably colder in that damp icetomb than outside.
The sunrise was … pleasant, I’d say. We’ve seen better ones though and soon after, the clouds closed in around us once more and we had to start the early morning hike in icy drizzle. Brrrr….. Today, we had a demanding ridge walk ahead of us. It’s probably a great and very enjoyable hike for sunny days, yet, we did not enjoy it too much. It involved a fair bit of climbing and scrambling while the wind constantly tried to blow us down the mountain. Concentration and caution was necessary and we changed our route around noon because it was too dangerous to keep going. And – let’s be honest – too uncomfortable and cold for our tired selves. Theoretically, you can keep going on that ridge all the way to the famous Monte Zeda. A tour we’ll save for another time, I guess.
By the time of our lunch break at Alpe Pian di Boit the weather had changed and we napped in the shade of some birch trees, recovering from the tough morning. Our solar power-bank needed a recharge, too (a review of that gadget will follow). After this nap and a bath, we felt truly new-born and decided to keep going all the way to the village Cicogna. Looking back now, it really seems like a different tour because our afternoon hike was so different from the arduous one that same morning. Now, it was sunny and warm and we first skipped light-footed trough a green beech forest, then through a truly charming valley (Val Pogallo). The path was well maintained and probably even suitable for families. Clear-blue pools for bathing can be spotted regularly. We absolutely loved this hike, dawdled around exploring the ruins of an old church and only arrived in Cicogna around 8pm. Only then we truly realized that we had crossed the National Park again (North-South this time). What a long day! Originally, we had wanted to wild camp but hadn’t found any suitable place. In the end, we ended up pitching our tent on the premises of a farm (Corte Merina) which we can also really recommend. That night, we enjoyed a delicious pasta dinner accompanied by local goat’s cheese and red wine. We felt like we had just won in the lottery because as you might know, we love good food just as much as we love sporty adventures. Soon after, the weariness overcame us. We crawled into our tent and slept like two fat, drunk wombat babies that night… Two very happy wombat babies, that is. What a day.
We woke up covered in sweat. Finally, finally the sky was clear blue with no clouds to be seen and the sun was beaming down on our tent. Absolutely perfect conditions for the last part of our trek: That morning, we set off into the actual Val Grande, the big, wild valley which gave the National Park its name. Read more about its spooky ruins, dangerous paths and heavenly remoteness in the next post 😊 We couldn’t have asked for a more adventurous ending to this trip!