We do not ask participants of creative hikes in the Dolomites to give feedback on purpose. We have tried once. It didn’t work. They are the first ones to share their new impressions, experience, and changes in their lives with us.
— Finally got my hands on the tape from a hike in the Dolomites, where I was lucky to spend a week in September 2018.
13 people, 7 days together, a heavy amateur’s backpack, 974 m altitude gain, and 1578 descent (did we climb that mountain? and that mountain?).
The main impression is the discovery of like endless resources within myself on what seems to be insurmountable. You just walk because you have no choice, and one step at a time you find yourself next to fluffy clouds, on top. This is the most obvious proof to yourself that the impossible does not exist, and quickly — it is slow, but without interruption.
In other words, the main impression after the hiking week is not even how beautiful the mountains it is, but [understanding of what] incredible heights you can climb if you just move slowly and confidently in one direction. It gives you strength like nothing else. And you breathe the mountain air, you love every tree, you’re happy, and it’s not a big deal.
And all the rest of the time — it’s small stones, big stones, loose stones,
sunsets and sunrises,
cozy mountain huts,
“five times a day to change clothes”,
the smell of fresh grass covered with dew,
mushroom forest, mountain forest, forest like a ladder — alive, fresh, breath, rumbles, smells of mushrooms and dew,
the descents of heavier climbs,
picnics in the valley,
cows ringing bells,
the noise of mountain rivers,
and hundreds of pictures that do not convey anything — from the variety and beauty of Palaronda Trek in Pale di San Martino my eyes burned admiringly all the way.
Dolomites is beauty, beauty, beauty, beauty, beauty.
There are also some practical impressions and advises:
- Manicure in a hike is very practical.
- With a stick it’s easier to climb than without a stick. (Of course, I was lazy buying it.).
- Jumping over mountains with a backpack more than 15 kg is real, but it is much more reasonable to take a minimum of things at once. (Now I’m almost a specialist and ready to consult!).
- The most unpleasant thing — to go down from the mountains in bulk (loose) stones. But in the forest you get high.
- 90% of the hikers we met were over 60 years old, and they were all much more resilient and sporty than our group (~30 y.o.).
- I never knew I could eat a huge three-course dinner.
- Bedroom liner is an ingenious invention.
- SPF 50 works better than all of us (important: experts say you should avoid sunscreen higher than SPF 50 — editor).
- Half the joy of the trip — the right company. I’ve met mine already on the spot and these guys are just a find and love.
- Hiking pants are a great thing, it’s not clear how to wear something else in normal life after the hiking.
And about refugio, I must say separately. I fell in love with the mountain huts in the Dolomites:
At the entrance, everyone is changing into clean socks and slippers.
There is a dream view of the mountains on 360 degrees around each refugio.
Dinner menu in all refugio quite similar: first soup or pasta, second meat with side dish, third dessert. My favorite dessert was frozen hot chocolate with nuts. And the breakfasts were not impressive, and in one of the huts they served tea and coffee practically on plates of soup. “Can I have some coffee-soup, too, please?!”
In some refugio owners pour grappa for free. And paid for a variety of locally made liqueurs with and without berries.
No refugio has the Internet. As a matter of principle, people communicate with each other.
Most often there is no free hot water in huts, and a shower costs 5-6 euros/l on coins, which gives rise to the concept of a “shower sharing”. Not literally, but water for a coin.
All people are friendly.
This opportunity of hiking in the Dolomites with a great company is one of the best trips in life.
Everybody met on the spot and now I want to travel only that way, so call me, or let’s make up these trips together. I won’t tag everyone, but know that you are all a fire.
Give me a hug!
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Photos © Katya Letova.
Cover photo: participant of the same hike with Katya in Pale di San Martino in Sep. 2018.