by Lorenzo Piccoli
In 2012 I resolved to hike with friends at least once every summer. It went well for a few years. Then, slowly but surely, the group started to shrink. Last year, Giallu and I were the only survivors.
This year, a lucky combination of two factors that are not entirely unrelated – Arianna’s joining the group and the popular desire to spend time outdoor after three months in a lockdown – revitalised our tradition.
Here we are, eleven of us, when we still thought we were stronger than the rain (spoiler alert: we were not). Giallu, Giacomo, Arianna, Carlo, Delina, Lorenzo, Ludo, Gabo, Anna, Dani. This year’s hike is on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, die Drei Zinnen.
We start at Hotel Dolomitenhof (1’465), Val Fiscalina, right next to Sesto. Even with thr clouds, this is a scenic valley. Only now I remember I used to go there as a kid. We do not mind the rain too much. The the trail becomes a little river and we do mind a little bit. At about 2’000 meters of altitude we start shivering. At this point, we mind the rain very much. The Rifugio Locatelli (2’450), our objective for the day, appears and then disappears in the fog. Nerve wracking. It is a good feeling to arrive in our room.
Just like last year, we spend much of the first afternoon napping. Dani overhears another group talking about a “magic room” where clothes and boots dry up quickly. We go on a treasure hunt. We find the room: it does not look that magic, but it is indeed a little warmer than all other spots in the hut.
We have dinner. Very good dinner. A healthy mix of vegetables and meat. Noted down for future hikes. Gloria and Emanuele join us from Brunico, enlarging the Florentine and Milanese sections of the group.
We wake up on a glorious Sunday morning. Gabo walks triumphantly to the dorm: there is a magic flow of air in the magic room and all our clothes and boots will get dry in no time. It is a warm, powerful flow coming from the kitchen. Ludovica throws her boots right into it. Carlo tells the story of when he did the same as a kid and his boots broke apart shortly after because of the excessive heat. We all laugh.
The group splits. Some of us go for the via ferrata to Monte Paterno (Paternkofel, 2’440), others take the lower trail to Rifugio Plan di Cengia (2’528). It is a bright day, and we move up the rocks following the ‘Cling cling’ of our carabiners. Everything is simple and there isn’t much to say.
I took the photo of a bridge and next to it there are the ruins of an old bridge. When my parents did the same via ferrata in the 70s, they had to use the old bridge, which was pretty much like it is today.
From Rifugio Plan di Cengia we hike together to Rifugio Comici (2’224). There we lose Giacomo (who goes for the Via ferrata degli alpini) and Carlo (who has to be back for dinner). This is where Ludo’s boots break. No one laugh. We all think of Carlo.
We arrive to the car a little earlier than dusk. We head to Trento where we want to have a typical dinner. We reserve a table at La Gnoccata. When I ask for the tortel trentino, they tell me ‘Questa è cucina tipica emiliana, qui di trentino abbiamo solo il cameriere‘. And what a waiter. Wild, compassionate, garrulous. We will be back.