Thursday, June 10, 2010

Passo Mauria

Passo Mauria is a gap in the mountains dividing Friuli from Veneto. On the Friuli side, the Tagliamento River carries snowmelt and rain to its mouth on the Adriatic Sea, between Lignano and Bibione. On the Veneto side, the Piave River drains precipitation from the mountains to the Adriatic northeast of Venice. An excellent road connects the two regions here, wide and well-paved, and the gorgeous scenery makes it a popular cycling and motorcycling route.

I originally intended to ride from Ampezzo to the pass today, but the town was crowded and I couldn't find a place to park. So I continued until I reached Cima Corso, a wetlands preserve at 868 meters. I parked in front of a restaurant and set off on the bike. I headed down hill toward Forni di Sotto and was troubled to find a 2200 meter-long tunnel. It wasn't on Via Michelin or Google maps, so I didn't bring a blinky light. Luckily it was very wide, well-lit and there was no problem with cars seeing me. I'll take the tail light along regardless what the map or guides say from now on.

Forni di Sotto is a pretty little town. Beautiful carved wooden balconies covered with flowers adorn many of the houses. From there I continued up to Forni di Sopra at 900 meters. It's a bigger town with ski slopes and lots of vacation apts.

The highway then becomes more of a mountain road. Traffic is lighter, the road is surrounded by fir trees, and the only sound is tumbling white water in the valley below. The grade is very easy- mostly 5-7% so no problem. High above you can see the ridge line separating Veneto from Friuli- lots of dolomite spires and jagged rock. Pretty wild-looking. The pass at 1298 meters is simply a level section of road, with a restaurant and a sign.

It was warm so I descended without donning my wind jacket. Lovely ride- maybe I'll do it again as part of a loop from Sauris or Pesaris via Pelos di Cadore.

Dolomite and ice on the Veneto-Friuli border

A jagged ridge between the two regions

Hard to believe this trickle turns into a mighty river,
carving mountains and transporting stone and sand to the sea

Waterfalls a bit further downstream

Ancient hay-drying barn at Forni di Sotto

Wildflowers near Cima Corso


1 comment:

  1. The Dolomites are really gorgeous. One of my favorite hiking places.