So it was midday by the time we set off from 1880 metres past another fine information board (the Stelvio Park is awash with them, I won't mention them again). Along #20A/38 towards Albergo Genziana (Enzianhütte) past Early Purple and Common Spotted Orchids, taking #38 through beautiful woods to a short road section before turning along #8 just before reaching the hut and its many facilities.
#8 was signposted to Malga-Lyfi-Alm at 2165 metres. Shortly after crossing a torrent we turned left up #39, by a picnic bench well suited to a lunch stop for anyone equipped with a gallon of sun tan cream (1.5 hrs to here).
Then right at a junction at 2220 metres, along #35, happy in the knowledge that the bulk of ascent had now been done. We kept left where #20A branches to the right, taking #35 to Lyfi-alm, which was very much open for business on this sunny holiday afternoon.
It was like Piccadilly Circus, with lots of paths from here - we chose to continue along the unnumbered one continuing ENE from below the alm.
Then after a few metres, #8 to Stallwies was our choice.
At 3.30, almost two weeks to the hour after embarking on this trip, the unthinkable happened.
Waterproofs were deployed.
Continuing on through the light rain, we reached a low point on #8 at 1920 metres, where a right turn took us down path 0 (?!) to a junction with #9 - here we turned right to Thial - 1850m.
It was like being in a greenhouse, so waterproofs were discarded before a short but unpleasant section up tarmac zigzags to the vertiginous dam wall at Lago di Gioveretto.
#36 beside the lake after the phobic dam wall was suitable for wheelchairs, we joked.
It proved an easy stroll by the lakeside to finish our circuit at 5.45 pm.
We had passed only one wheelchair.
We'd enjoyed a most scenic 11 km outing, with 500 metres ascent, taking us over 5.5 hours (but the flower ID stops are becoming more difficult and time consuming).
It's a valley to which we hope to return.
We had decided to stay at the hotel outside which we'd parked the car. After all, it did say 'Only For Guests'. Horror of horrors! The hotel was full!
Up the road - 3 nights minimum, and expensive (very posh).
Down the road to 1200 metres - a 15 minute drive during which we struggled to keep ahead of a pair of mountain bikers, the Ortlerhof establishment wasn't so fussy. Half board we are, in one of only three occupied rooms.
It's very comfy, and the house cabernet has successfully washed down the menu:
Insalata del buffet
Mezzalune tirolese con burro lesso
Entrecoté con burro al erbe con crochette di patate e verdura
Gelato di vaniglia con lampone calde
Then I wrote this whilst watching the first half of the World Cup Final. I apologise for not affording you my full attention.
Must go now. The second half has started.
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