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Published: July 27th 2011
The last day of a holiday is always tinged with a little sadness especially when the holiday has been as amazing as this one. Spring / early Summer in the Dolomites is just stunning with carpets of wildflowers across the meadows, everywhere you look are masses of flowers and while pulling yourself up mountains is fun, I felt the need of a more relaxed day of 'smelling the flowers' before I headed back to London and working life on Thursday.
My plan was to find a walking companion for a relaxed 15km stroll, fitting in some time lying in the grass with a book and a long lunch hours in a refugio. For once the plan came together (well kind of). Relaxed 15km stroll, check ... time with book, check ... long lunch, check ... me and a companion, not quite. Somewhere between making my plan and the next morning my quiet little day trip had grown to the second biggest group outing of the day and been renamed 'Jane's Hike'. My one or 2 had grown to 12 brave souls prepared to 'rough it' on a gloriously, sunny mountain day!
And rough it we did ... we wandered
the 500m or so to Alta Badia and caught 2 cable cars up to Santa Croce (20 mins). We then had to have a coffee at the Refugio to recover from the exertion and strain of the final 50 m from cable car to the Church. The next phase was extremely tough as we walked along the base of the Sasso della Croce Massif which did involve some ups (well more gentle undulations) and lots of downs. About 30 mins of this was all we could take before a quiet little spot was found for some meadow time which involved lying, chatting, flower stalking, snacking and generally doing nothing ... yes I know how 'lead a hike'!
Eventually lunch was calling so the next phase of the grand adventure was to stroll further along route 15 to Refugio Ranch Hutte da Andre, which came highly recommended as the place to enjoy a long and relaxed lunch with good South Tyrol food. Only problem with a big lunch on a hot, sunny day is that after lunch you just feel like a little lie down to help the food settle, especially given I was tricked into a grappa coffee (don't
Every sunset the light set the mountain across from the Chalet on fire (oh and yes I had to get in the shot!)
do it, think rocket fuel espresso, I shudder at the memories) so I did. this was a bit dull for everyone else so our little group split and I finally had my original plan me and one hiking companion while the others wandered on ahead.
Half an hour of the meadow, a chapter of my book and some time with flowers and Dan and I decided to keep moving. We had another couple of hours of walking down, taking pictures of dragonflies, butterflies and bees with a few 'Jane detours'. The cows in the Dolomites wear bells and I dragged Dan across meadows and streams hunting them. Thought the trip down wasn't quite long enough so had to add a bit! The entire group had fractured somewhat so we managed to meet up with most people at different points along the walk and pretty much finish the hike as we started together.
As this was the last night of the trip there may have been a little shared celebrations in the evening, the content of which follows the adage ... what goes to the Dolomites, stays in the Dolomites!
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