July 20, 2014
Sunday Walk to Pralongia
The first walk Saturday to Mt.e Sief was stunning but also far more challenging than any of the walks so far in Istria. So the legs muscles are very thankful for a Sunday walk through alpine meadows.
We walk to the ski lift station and take a gondola ride to the Col Alt (at 1980m) headed to the Rifugio Pralongia.
As we leave the gondola area there are lots of people milling about, mountain bikers, hikers, “Sunday walkers”. It is a beautiful summer day with families, dogs, people that you can see have been doing this for decades all out to enjoy the day and the scenery.
We leave the first rifugio at Col Alt and head across a wetland. All of the Dolomites are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This wetland is part of a study program as part of the work to preserve the natural habitat.
Then we enter a bit of a wooded area and start a slow uphill climb. The two brioche I ate this morning plus the challenging walk yesterday are not sitting well on my stomach. Lesson learned – stick to muslix and yogurt for breakfast when you are going hiking!
All of this area that we are walking through in the winter is a series of ski trails connected by lifts. And interlaced with rifugi so beside the stunning scenery, travelling from hill to hill on skis, and being able to eat whenever you want, it is a skiers paradise. You can literally ski to and from Corvara, La Villa, Colfosco – the Alta Badia or the end of the Val Badia that starts at St. Lorenzo in Sebato- on these interconnected ski runs.
I am told that there is no time frame for the easy walk to day so to stop and enjoy the views as much as I like.
The pine forest opens up into a grassy, flowery alpine meadow. The meadows are rolling and extend as far as you can see. All with the backgound of the snow capped Marmolada, Padon, the Sella Group, Sassongher, Gardenacia, and Sass de Putia, Sasso della Croce. And most importantly I could see where we did the magical walk yesterday –the peak of Col di Lana and the green of Mt.e Sief – like looking at a topographical map of the mountains and I can say – I was there!
The green meadows are filled with flowers of every hue of yellow, blue, orange, purple, fuschia. From a distance an impressionist painting of tiny dots of color. From close up the sweet smell of clover mixed with all the other floral perfumes.
Coffee and water at the Bioch Rifugio. Just what you would picture a ski “lodge” in the alps would be – wooden tables and benches outside, Austrian like long wooded tables inside, wood panelled. Some of the wait staff are wearing lederhosen shorts with the suspenders. We head across the meadow towards Pralongia at 2157m so we were on a Sunday walk and not on a climb!
Again everything you think a ski lodge should be. Lots of people out on the deck chairs, some in bathing suits taking in the sun. Wine, beer, tea, lunches being eaten outside. Lots of people of all ages. One group has the family dog with them and the man carries a rectangular basket as a backpack carrier for the dog.
Lunch is sitting on a small stone outcropping surrounded by the flowers and taking in that background of solid white grey mountains. A delicious dark bread paninin made with fennel seeds that pairs well with the speck. They make these up for you at the bakery in Corvara.
We walk back down to Corvara instead of taking the gondola. We are at Punta Trieste the Rifugio Trapper and back through those fragrant meadows. Since we did take a godola up, there is a bit of a downhill climb to put a little challenge into the day. We walk through a pine forest and now the clouds have started to move in. So we start to move a little faster and take a small gravel road. As we get into Corvara – a bicylist comes up behind us and stops abruptly. I look up and it is Christian from the dinner restaurant who stops to say hi. But now it is starting to sprinkle and we take the rain jackets and umbrellas out as a rain shower closes in. Back to the Pensione and in a few minutes the sun is back out again and we enjoy an aperitivo on the balcony!
Dinner always has a salad buffet and tonight as a primo potato ravioli with a spinach ricotta filling, and some roast veal with crunchy oven roasted potatoes, a swiss chard like green and a coffee parfait for dessert. Then a stroll around Corvara and the end of a perfect Sunday in the mountains.