After the flat ride to Travesio, I headed up Val Cosa and the switchbacks ascending to Clauzetto. From there, the road ascends through fir tree and beech forest to the meadows of Orton at 700 meters (see http://dolomiti-friulane.blogspot.com/2010/04/orton.html ). Wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. I decided not to descend through Pielungo, instead opting for the back road through Pecol. I couldn't find it at first, and rode up a 60 meter 15% climb by mistake. It wasn't too bad because I was standing the whole way, but still felt foolish. I plummeted back down to Orton proper, found Via Fratta and headed down the rough back road to Val d'Arzino. I think I'll stick with the better Pielungo route next time, but this one did have some lovely views of Monte Cuar and Forno.
After a short ride up Val d'Arzino, I turned onto the unmarked road to Monte Prat. It's a very well-made road through wilderness, with long switchbacks keeping the grade down to 7-8%. Great views back toward Pielungo and the Arzino gorge. At 894 meters it tops out in a large meadow below the twin peaks of Monte Cuar. A flock of circling grifoni eyed me expectantly near the cliff face. I headed gradually downhill through forest to the lovely rolling meadows atop Monte Prat. From there, a wonderful wide, smooth road with beautiful curves winds down toward Forgaria. The 2006 Giro d'Italia descended this road- it really is perfect. Right before San Rocco the road suddenly becomes rough, narrow and uneven. It continues down through Forgaria, until the bridge at Flagogna. After a few rollers through Pinzano and Valeriano, it's pretty flat all the way home. Great ride!
Mont Taieit from Orton
Mountains to the west from Orton
Sheep safely grazing at Forno
Monte Cuar from Battaias
Gorge with tributary of Fiume Arzino near Ringans
Meadow at top of climb 894 meters
East peak cliffs of Monte Cuar
Meadows atop Monte Prat
Monte Cuar looming over the meadows of Monte Prat
Tagliamento from Monte Prat descent
Monte Prat climb and descent