July 24th Up to Hutte Jimmy
The weather is looking iffy this morning. From the breakfast room at the Pensione we can see the clouds moving over Sassongher but there also seem to be some clear patches. So we pack the umbrella and the rain jackets just in case and head out to Colfasco. We stop to pick up the Panini with speck for lunch.
It is about a 50 minutes walk from Corvara to reach the gondola. The trail takes us through a wooded area and for a while we walk along side a crystal clear stream. It is the kind of mountain stream you see in TV ads for breath mints – icy blue-green in color and splashing over the small stones in the water – the perfect gurgling stream.
The bright red egg-shaped gondola takes about 20 minutes to get to the top. Below us is a stream and flower covered meadows, dotted with the small wooden structures for storing hay. The lilies stand out a fluorescent orange. I can see the road to Colfosco, a shiny black strip twisting through the meadows. I can also see a sand colored walking trail winding its way down the meadow.
A long thin line of water cascades down from the mountain top. We get to the Hutte Jimmy. Just what you would pictue an alpine rifugio to be – clad in light-colored wood with wooden shingles and gables, lots of flowers and tables with long benches. The benches have seat cushions but these are soon gathered up by the wait staff as it has started to rain.
We have a cup of coffee as I look around the rifugio. The walls are an aged dark wood and there are a lot of decorative nostalgia pieces. Wooden skis, and accordion, the Cortina posters of skiers from the 1950’s , animal horns and some contemporary touches in the lighting and tin containers for pine branches. It exudes a feeling of warmth and coziness.
We go outside to wait and see if the rain will let up. I can tell that the view from here must be spectacular but today the rain and low clouds are hiding that view. We watch as the dark clouds and the rain move across the valley. From where we are sitting we can see into the kitchen as Jimmy fries up a classic mountain lunch of thick slabs of spec, eggs and potatoes in large cast iron frying pans. What is great of course about this rifugio is that you can get there by gondola, have a nice lunch, enjoy the panorama and then head back down with the gondola!
Two couples of hardened French hikers arrive – quite large backpacks and a quite wet from the hike. They order coffees and vin brule, eat their own lunch of tinned meat, bread and cheese and talk about moving on even if it is raining.
We decide to abandon the walk and head back down in the gondola. The capogita takes a trail that in about 15 minutes takes us to a log shelter. There is a family with two young children and the grandparents already there waiting out the rain and another young family comes in too. We eat our panini but the rain does not let up so we decide to continue on anyway. The air is sweet and clean and actually pine fresh with all this rain. A half hour later and we are back at the pensione. The rain is not letting up and we head for a drive to Val Gardena.