July the 31st
There are many ways to Rome, or Venice. This one is full of sweat, blisters, pain and a little bit of fairy dust. The fairy dust comes in the form of great company. Anthony and I have met some awesome people along the trail and the group of Elena, Jenny, Alex, Anthony and I is still together. This is amazing, considering how rare it is that people like each other enough to hang out 24/7 for several weeks. In fact, we have a sixth member: Julian. Julian is from Spain (‘no, Catalunya!’) and Anthony and I met him two years ago in the Pyrenees. Our group now features three Germans, one Canadian, one Spanyard (‘no, Catalunese!’) and a Dutchman. It suffices to say that the language barrier is sometimes bigger than the Alps we have to cross.
Back to the hiking. We are now in the Dolomites. These are some pretty mountains, unlike anything else in the world. After the perfect day to Pfunders there was a long climb out of the valley to the Kreuzwiesen Alm from where we could greet the Dolomites in earnest. The Dolomites greeted us back with an awesome lightshow and Elena and I sat for hours on the front porch, watching the lightning strike the Peislerköfel in the distance.
The next three days, too, were amazing. We hiked a long distance, crossing two distinct mountain ranges across lush green ridges, barren scree slopes, desolate moon landscapes and some of the most colourful rock formations in the world. Alex and I developped a habit of singing pop-songs aloud, leading to surprised looks from bemused passers by. It suffices to say that our enthousiasm far outweighs our talent.
Today was one of those in between days where there is no real gain but only pain. 24 kilometers down the valley, 1600 meter of descent. We hiked down a popular canyon which had a lot of tourists hiking up and down the paved path. They looked so fresh and clean in comparison to our ragged group, it’s really quite striking. I think it’s because when you hike a long distance it becomes very hard to keep all your gear tidy and clean and organized. After a while you stop caring and as a result the whole group looks like a smelly yard sale of goods no-one would want to touch even with a flag pole.
After today everyone felt destroyed and morale was low. Luckily tomorrow sees us return to the high mountains with some more pristine Dolomite hiking ahead. That should raise the morale somewhat! That’s it for now, but stay tuned for more!