Wednesday 31 August - Rifugio Lagazuoi to
Rifugio Nuvolau (by Sue)
AV1 Backpack - Day 4
It was a struggle to rise from such a comfy bunk, but cloud was visible outside the window. As we had breakfast, a good inversion could be seen from the picture windows.
After packing, I was the only one to walk the 10 minutes to the summit, where the Austrian troop path could be seen. Cloud floated in and out, with the mountains rising above it.
Joining the others again, we set out on the day's route, descending past the cable car station to the 'front line' in the first world war. Austrian officers' hut, look outs, etc.
The landscape was harsh - scoured slopes and avalanche breaks. As we dropped to the Col Dei Bos, marmot calls echoed around. Viaferrataists could be seen on VF Lipella, traversing the hillside. Cloud closed in and it made the trenches seem quite eerie.
Traversing the hillside, we rested for a moment where there were clumps of edelweiss and a view to the Falzarego pass below. The path was narrow then descended steeply to the Dibona refuge, where we enjoyed apple strudel and hot chocolate inside, as we were damp from sweat.
Then a steep descent through the woods, accompanied by the sound of a stream, and increasing car noise as the road approached. The first road for 3½ days was crossed uneventfully, then path 439 climbed relentlessly through woods. The flowers were good, including a few tired orchids.
We had peace at last. Lunch was vegetable soup at Rifugio Cinque Torre, with its old-fashioned patron who calculated the bill by hand. (Here we realised the 'Alta Via' guidebook had been left at the Dibona hut - another of this holiday's lost items.)
A further hour's ascent, past noisy day trippers, brought us to Rifugio Nuvolau, in its splendid hilltop location. In two separate rooms, we spread out and did a bit of washing in the freezing water outside - nice view of Cortina and the Cinque Torre though.
Martin and I walked the first part of tomorrow's route, including the wired sections - we should all manage.
The dining room was convivial - this hut is smaller than last night's at 22 beds. Preceded by beers, dinner was good, spaetzle, weiner schnitzel, fresh fruit, and the usual red wine. Outside, the cloud had obscured the views.
After dark, the outside light produced 'brocken spectres' on the cloud - care had to be taken not to fall over the edge as the hut is perched on a summit at 2570 metres.
Bed at 9:30.
[Martin's notes: choughs and Alsatian at hut; past VF Tomaselli; swirling mist; WW1 placements; edelweiss; hot chocolate; last sight of an American group.]