… with the sound of sizzling frying pans on our Selva-to-Monte-Pana hike in the Dolomites
Something I forgot to mention in the report from our first hike in the Dolomites: for the hiking guides, that hike served as their “orientation tour”, intended not only to familiarize the hotel’s newbie guests with the landscape but also to sort out the more resilient hikers from those who would probably be a danger to themselves in the hostile world of the high mountains. So what did Pauli and Thaddäus make of the Easy Hikers’ manner of handling a proper Alpine trail?
They were unimpressed, I am afraid, and we were among those who were politely approached and gently nudged towards the “easy walk on next day’s programme” – the one we had laughingly dismissed as a “granny’s walk” when we had first seen it on the programme.
Hurt pride aside, I have to admit that the day-one hike, which had also been marked in green as a “family walk” in the programme, did not feel all that “easy” to us. It may not have been “hard” by Alpine standards – it certainly had no long or hard climbs – but it was not particularly short (approx. 12 km in total, 10 km for those who, like us, took the lift down at the intermediate station) and featured some fairly steep and difficult stretches on the descent. Mrs. Easy Hiker and I may have agreed that the going up was worth the coming down, but our knees begged to differ.
A “granny’s walk” then seemed just the ticket for the next day, giving our weary bones a chance to recover. We took the bus to Wolkenstein (Selva in Italian) and from there trail no. 30B to the slopes of Monte Pana.
The hike in itself may have been gentle and sweet indeed, not much harder than a walk in the municipal park, but the nature was just as grand as it had been the day before. The Dolomites are certainly no less impressive when seen from 1500 metres than from 2000 metres up.
On the contrary: you get to see more, because there is a stronger human presence at these lower altitudes …
… and more of an animal presence, too, specifically at this (relatively late) time of the year. (The cows are brought back into the valley as soon as autumn starts to bite.)
We were also pleased that we were able to do this on a sunny day after the mountain tops had been shrouded in mist the day before. This gave the scenery a somewhat different feel – still dramatic, but not quite as Wagnerian, less “Twilight of the Gods” …
… and more “The Sound of Music”.
To conclude the walk, the group was led to a cabin half-way up Monte Pana, which is operated by Hotel Adler and where some of their kitchen staff were already waiting for us – with sausages, spare ribs and everything needed for a proper grill party.
That afternoon, the Dolomites hills were alive with the sound of sizzling frying pans.
We had to admit that being a lame duck on tough Alpine trails certainly has its upsides. Because we took the car option on the way back (while the rest of the group continued the downward trek), returning in the van of the Hotel Adler kitchen crew (yes, I know, we were unforgivably lazy – but nobody will be able to say that we did not learn our lesson from the mistakes of the first day), we came back early and had the opportunity of exploring the award winning Hotel Adler Dolomiti at greater length – in particular to dip into the salt water pool, the one which we had so criminally neglected on our first trip to the spa area.
And it just so happened that, when we climbed out of the pool, we were ready just in time for dinner. It’s a hard life, being an Easy Hiker.