The standard route from Scoiatolli would have taken us up a few hundred meters and then down a long, treacherous descent that would require harnesses and helmets. Since we did not have those items or a desire to perish that day we diverted around this section.
We started out hiking through rolling fields with lush grass. Soon we plunged down a steep cutout in a cliff and then went through a number of shorter climbs and descents until we met up with the main path. This section had been very scenic and had the added bonus of keeping us alive, so we were pretty pleased at this point.
We quickly had a good view of our route over the next several hours and went through more fields and cow pastures. At about 11:30am we hit a rifugio, but we only made a short stop for the bathroom and to pick up some delicious chocolate.
The next stretch was one of my favorites. We popped into one side of a saddle that looked out all the way to Cortina. We found a real comfy looking rock and paused to enjoy the view and get a bite to eat. An ultrarunner looking dude then bombed down the mountain with his little daughter along for the ride in a backpack. When he reached a level section, little daughter was placed on the trail and started doing some serious hiking. She was barely 3 years old but looked up and said "Ciao" to us as she motored on by. Pretty much the cutest thing ever.
We trudged up a long and steep climb but had more breathtaking views up top at the saddle. It was about 1pm, and for the next few hours we would stay up on the ridge and continue to have fantastic views. Along the way we passed what must have been thousands of sheep, who were surprisingly noisy.
We wrapped up with a nice descent that looked out onto Cortina and made our way closer and closer to the Pelmo. The Pelmo is a distinctive white giant rock face that juts up right from our rifugio, and it was an awesome sight to behold.
After we got to the rifugio, I was inspired to go for an ~5 mile run and made my way part way up the scree field of the Pelmo before turning around and getting mildly lost below the tree line. We finished up the evening by watching the wild horses graze. There was a herd grazing and a little filly basically came up right up to us. Another amazing day in the books, and still two more to go!
Hiking across the field looking back at Rifugion Scoiatolli. You can see two hikers silhouetted against the massive peak in the background.
Faint path we we were following through the field
To Passo Giau!
Enjoying a beautiful morning. You can still see Scoiatolli in the background.
Looking back at Cinque Torri
Steep descent off the side of the mountain. I thought this was the easier route?
We descended right off one of those cliffs
Looking back at the cliffs with Cinque Torri behind them
Last view of Cinque Torri and Jen hiking up the last stretch to Passo Giau
Looking south out of the other side of the pass. In the top left you can see the saddle we would hike through in the early afternoon.
Beautiful fields leading into the rifugio
We could see Cortina off in the distance
About to drop into the saddle. We were looking off towards the west could and could see the Marmolada again.
Loved this stretch of hiking through the saddle. Lush green vegetation all around, cliffs all around us, and Cortina clearly visible in the distance.
Looking out of the saddle towards Cortina
Jen taking the high road on this stretch
Picture of me taking a picture!
Our excellent comfy rock. We were about to climb up to the saddle in the very top middle of the picture.
Still looking very happy before the big climb
At the top of the climb we crested the saddle and looked out onto these green mountain peaks
We traversed up high at about 2400 meters for the next couple of hours.
We followed the base of the cliffs to the left
It was hard to tell where the sheep ended and the rocks began
Wow, that is a lot of sheep
There was another mountain pass that provided a huge, expansive view of Cortina and the surrounding mountains
Looking down the trail that climbed up from the Cortina valley to merge with our trail
We had started descending down to Rifugio Citta di Fiume. Doesn't his look kind of like that Windows background?
The Cortina mountains stretched out to the east as we descended
Our rifugio with the Pelmo towering over it
The was close to where I turned around on my run partway up the Pelmo. A little left and above center you can actually see our rifugio.
Looking up at the Pelmo from Citta di Fiume
Jen getting a picture of me in the distance as I returned from my run
The wild filly that was grazing right by us that evening