August the 6th
After Aleghe the Dreamway follows the Alta Via I through the Dolomites all the way to Belluno. Along the way the landscape changed from a rocky, high alpine wilderness to a mediterranean landscape and it suddenly became clear to me that the Dreamway is in its closing stages. The warm hues of the Northern Dolomites gave way to white, sunblasted rocks and vegetation began to grow more exotic as we made our way towards Belluno, the Southernmost point of the Dolomites.
This stretch also features the highest concentration of French toilets seen so far along the Dreamway, which is unfortunate as both Alex and I suffered a rather insistent bout of food poisoning. In between bouts of spontanuous singing there were now a lot of shared grimaces as we were both struggling to get to the next hut. Unfortunately this made it rather hard to enjoy the pristine wilderness we were crossing in the past 5 days.
My weakest day also coincided with the crux of the entire Dreamway. A Via Ferrata across the last of the Dolomites, scrambling with the aid of steel cables and ladders. The man who rented us the required safety gear assured us of an easy passage so we were rather surprised when we found ourselves on top of a 1000 meter vertical drop down to the hut far far below. It didn’t help that sometimes the cable was loose and could not be trusted. When, after a 13 hour day we finally arrived down at the hut I was very tired, supremely grumpy and generally not the kind of person you would want to hang out with. I want to thank Anthony, Alex, Jenny and Elena for sticking with me and not leaving me somewhere on the mountainside.
Oh well, anyway, yesterday I was finally on the mend and luckily the stretch to Belluno was an easy downhill hike. As we descended from the mountains and closed the distance to the parking lot we met many dayhikers, smelling fresh and clean in comparison to our dirty, smelly selves.
Right now we are taking a rest day in Belluno, indulging in pancakes for breakfast and cocktails later tonight. Life is finally on the up and up again. Cheers!