Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 10 July 2010

A Stroll from Furkelhütte

Trafoi, this morning, was humming with activity as the throaty purring engines of vintage cars participating in the Sud-Tirol Rally brought various admirers to the roadside as the old vehicles embarked on the classic ascent of the Stelvio Pass. Strange to see so many British sports cars with left hand drive and German plates.

For us, after admiring the machinery on display, a long 650 metre ascent on a chairlift (on which Sue blagged a ride as an OAP!) to sunny Furkelhütte for lattemacchiato (pictured). It was a temperate 25C in the shade at 2159 metres. What it was like lower down I hate to think (forecast 38C).

The sky was a hazy blue, with thin streaks of cloud and a stunning view of Ortler, and its crumbling glaciers.

We left the hut at 11.30 to ascend through a forest of black vanilla orchids in a luxuriant meadow, past a wartime 'pill box', before eschewing a broad path (#24) to a minor peak, in favour of the little used #25 to Passo di Vallazza, at 2742 metres.

At 2500 metres, an exciting moment. Our first sighting of Dark Stonecrop this trip!

We continued in silence, apart from the distant tinkle of cowbells and the caw of a raven, and our own voices, past innumerable marmot holes.

On reaching the pass just after 1pm we were greeted by a big view, with high cloud over Austria, whilst a thin sun beamed down on us.

It was a fine spot for an extended lunch, during which we spent a happy hour trying to identify lots of miniature alpine plants. With limited success.

A few drops of rain signaled the need to descend, past whistling marmots (at last we have seen some), bundles of caterpillars in the grass, and through verdant Alpine meadows on the anti-clockwise continuation of #25.

Back at the hut at 15.30 after a 7 km, 4 hour walk with 600 metres ascent, beers were most welcome.

Then it was back down the chairlift, a visit to the Stelvio National Park Visitor Centre, with its fine exhibition of owls, before returning to camp to battle with increasing dampness of the air and two recalcitrant gas stoves from which we are trying to drain the last dregs of fuel, for our final alfresco camping meal of the trip.

Not that we are coming home just yet...

Since we've been at Trafoi (1550 metres), six days now, the barometer has risen steadily from 849 to 854Mb. Stable weather, or what?! (Despite tonight's rain, which we are actually quite enjoying.)

[Shame on you, Alan! Blogging is never a 'pain', but sometimes Old Man Time sets up a bit of a 'challenge'. And we quite like those! Don't we? Even if it does finish up a bit garbled...?]

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

Louise said...

Ah, that's better! Sue's sitting down, away from the edge. And with refreshments to hand! Looks amazing and what glorious weather. You can mention the weather. It rained heavily overnight here, (I don't want to know about the wind up north, especially if the forecast was wrong...) but it's beautiful now.
Where to next?