Updated with better photos plus chart and map at the end:
Thank goodness today's hike would be accomplished based on a good night sleep. The first two hikes I got through on 7 hours of sleep in 48 hours, adrenaline and an overwhelming sense of excitement which pushed me on. What transpired for us today, I was thankful to to be truly with it.
How fortunate for us, right out our front door we have a fountain flowing of perfectly pure cold water to fill our bottles. Then a few steps away, our ride to paradise awaits. We are on the road at 8:30 and hiking by 9:10 just after our guide shows us the planned route.
Right from the get-go the scenery sends signals to my senses and I feel that sensation of being overwhelmed. Is this for real? Am I truly here? It can't get any better than this! Just wait! For you my followers, I have a couple of dozen photos to share this time. They will better depict our day than my words can describe.
There was hardly any snow to contend with today so we were able to complete the plan of attack for the day. The wildflowers were incredible and it is not even full wildflower season yet. The greens could not have been greener, the meadows looked manicured, and the trees looked pruned to perfection but all this was Mother Nature's work of art.
We enjoyed 360 degree views the entire day and that would explain why I type my story here with a stiff neck. The Dolomites do not disappoint. Those snow covered prominent peaks seemed so close, it felt like if I stretched my arm out I could touch them.
We settled down for lunch and I savoured my sandwich and the scenery at the same time. I was surrounded by Italian style crocuses. Gosh, I felt so at home, I knew this was were I belonged today. We could see the Durrenstein Hutte which would be our beer and strudel stop. It looked like we would get there soon, but boy was I wrong. We then carried on after lunch to Strudelkopf. OH WOW! Talk about feeling "on top of the world!" From here we could see Tri Cime di Lavaredo which is to be our Thursday destination, but that won't be happening due to the significant amount of snow still there.
Next, Durrenstein Hutte! I went for a beer paired with an incredible view, and an order of strudel to go. From here on in, it was downhill for two hours on varied terrain, completing a great big loop. We arrived back to our ride and in a matter of 15 minutes we were back to our home away from home with a couple of hours to relax then head downstairs for that fabulous four course dinner accompanied by Tyrolean entertainment. OK now after reliving our day by typing this, I am overwhelmed all over again!
In center court you find the fountain to fill your water bottle.
It's just a mere 30 second walk out our front door to where our ride awaits. I felt spoiled by this service. We stowed our packs and poles in the back and sat in a seat of luxury for the ride to the trail head. The drive and our guide packed out packs onto the bus and removed them for us also.
Each trail head had a great map of the region and our guide spent a few minutes pointing out where we were and where we would be going. I did not always pay attention, I was too distracted by the scenery.
and we get going
The first wide open vista!
The scenery was incredible already. Today the majority of our ascent was spent sitting on the mini bus which meant we arrived right smack in the middle of the alpine meadow surrounded by the Dolomites.
So green! So healthy! So alive!
layer upon layer upon layer of dimension
As you know, I think those ugly scraggly trees are beautiful!
High on life today and I present my mountaineering pose!
A couple of others posed also with their version of being a mountaineer.
view of the red in the Dolomites
We climb higher!
I was thankful for every single stop we took. I took the opportunities not only to catch my breath but also to capture scenery shots and destination photos. We were a group of 16 and our guide was excellent at managing our different paces. All of our hikes paces played out perfectly for me.
orange star marks the Durrestein Hutte
a carpet of wildflowers
lunch spot with a view
There were loads of crocuses.
Seeing these made feel like I was home!
The colorful carpets presented amazing photo opportunities!
Strudelkopf summit cross
This is my summit shot on Strudelkopf! I had to brace intently against the wild wind or else I would have blown away off to become one with the Dolomites! Being here blew my mind! I made sure to take a moment to truly give thanks for how fortunate I was to be here.
Oh the hills are alive!
Like I mentioned before, I like our guides style.
We descented from the summit via off trail, with some way finding.
After a big descent, we arrived at Durrenstein Hutte. This Hutte is known for its strudel. It almost has to be with Strudelkopf being high above overlooking it. It was busy here with hikers and bikers. Some people go up and down the same way. We got to do a loop.
view from our table
my small light beer
my strudel to go
view back up to the Hutte as we descended
We only had to descend down now.
one more hutte along the route
We completed the descent to find our ride waiting for us. It felt good to sit on the soft seat and take a load of my feet. It was a 30 minute ride to get here and only a 15 minute ride home. My after hike routine had nicely fallen into place. We would drop our boots off in the boot room at the back of the hotel then I would head to my room for a shower. Next get those precious photos shared then do a hand wash of clothing. Dinner was at 7:30 and was either a four or five course dinner with wine lasting two hours. Bedtime for me was 10:15 and I was happy when that time came.