Monday, June 27, 2011

Monte Candaglia

Monte Candaglia is one of the small mountains rising from the eastern edge of altopiano  del Cansiglio.  It's a nature reserve, with tall red spruce and beech trees towering over its steep slopes.  Maybe 15 years ago Marilyn and I hiked there with our little terrier Rocky.  Since then we haven't returned, but I've always remembered how beautiful it was.  Today's stupendous weather was a perfect excuse to revisit the place.   

I left home on my bike at 6 AM and arrived at Caneva around 7.  I took the back road through vineyards to Villa di Villa and began the climb.  This is my favorite route to Il Cansiglio, very wild and solitary.  Today I saw only one car on the whole ascent- no one else, though I did interrupt two deer's breakfast along the lane.  The gradient is a fairly constant 7-8% for 10 kms- good workout.  The bottom half is sometimes exposed to full sun, and at others cloaked by small trees.  I don't know how much shade these would provide on summer afternoons.   Around 700 meters you enter a very shady beech tree forest (mixed with spruce as well), which you climb to around 980 meters.  Here you join the main road from Caneva which continues to La Crosetta.

The altopiano was absolutely gorgeous this morning- cool and green with deep blue sky.  I continued to Piancansiglio and turned right.  There is a golf course here, in winter used for crosscountry skiing.  I'd never noticed the artesian wells before, with water gushing upward from a wide standpipe.  Pavement ends at the forest edge and I rode carefully to a barrier, where I had to get off and walk.  I was unsure where pavement resumed because it was so long ago- turned out to be about a km. 

The pavement resumes and is very narrow, with lots of loose pebbles.  I rode slowly due to the steepness, which became even steeper later.  Only lost traction once- not too bad for near 20%.  Watch for metal drainage gutters crossing the road, especially on the descent (I stayed on the brakes all the way down).  The trees here are very large and tall, and the understory is full of contorted karst formations covered in moss.  It is dead silent except for birdsong.  Switchbacks wind upward back and forth, finally arriving at Casa Forestale della Candaglia, a forest ranger outpost.  Along the way you pass dirt roads for La Crosetta and Pian Rosada near Campon.  They looked rideable with a road bike- I'll have to try them another time.

On the ride home I descended via the main road to Sarone- very fun carving the turns today.  I actually got tired toward the end and just wanted to go straight.  It was quite hot down on the plain, but I bore down and made it home by noon.  

Leafy canopy over the road above Villa di Villa

Shady zone above Villa di Villa, near the parco di carbonaio
(charcoal makers)

On Monte Candaglia, the mossy understory 

Switchback below Casa Forestale 1247m  

Tall beech trees blocking the bright sun

Monte Candaglia across the meadows, from the main road climbing to La Crosetta 

Map of ride

View of Piancansiglio and the turn off for Candaglia

Close up of climb to casa forestale della Candaglia

Steep gradient to Monte Candaglia

The climb from Piancansiglio to Candaglia is
about 3 km and gains 250m.

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