Thursday, September 1, 2011

Malga Monte Fara

Malga Monte Fara is very close to our home, but I never knew until a mountain biker I was chatting with, Ermiono, mentioned it.  Today was my first chance to ride it.

Quite stormy off-and-on this morning but there was a brief gap in the weather so I went for it.  Up through the long tunnel to Andreis, then along Torrente Alba and up the road through Bosplans.  There is a scout camp in the valley below and apparently they have a brass and woodwinds band, which sounded pretty good in the natural amphitheater of surrounding cliffs.   I continued climbing to their accompaniment up to 650 meters, where a gravely, washed-out road turns off to the right, with a wooden sign pointing to Malga Monte Fara. 

After making your way through the initial gravel stretch, it improves a bit- now a narrow, roughly paved lane with lots of loose gravel washed down by the rains.  It's not bad if you can keep traction on the loose material covering the steep incline.  I stood on the steeper parts, feathering the force applied to my rear tire as required.  But below 13% I tried to stay seated to keep some weight on the rear wheel.

I reached a small group of hikers.  The lady in back heard me panting, turned and saw me, then announced "Attenzione! In arrivo una ciclista a dietro" like it was a race.  Then the other hikers cheered me on "Coraggio!" "Bravo!" etc.  That was fun.   

Eventually I reached a homemade gate of sticks tied together to keep the sheep and goats from escaping.  I closed it behind me and continued to the malga at 950 meters.  I descended very slowly because of the surface and rejoined the main road above Bosplans.  I didn't even think about descending the way I came, instead heading upward for Pala Barzana.  Soon the black clouds to the north began drizzling on me, but it felt good as I climbed through the dense forest to Pala Barzana.  From here I rode downhill gingerly because of the damp pavement and spruce needles in the road.

The rain picked up as I neared Pian delle Merie.  Luckily the road was closed for repair and there was a deviazione through Val di Frina, which is a bit shorter.  They've paved this road since last I tried it,  much nicer now.  Below Poffabro the deviazione ended and I sped through Val Colvera and the tunnels toward Maniago.  Here it was dry, so I slowed some and headed toward Montereale.  But the rain resumed near Maniago Libero, and continued over the bridge at Ravedis, through Montereale and almost all the way home.  

I'll try this again on a clearer day this Fall and try to get some fotos of the lovely rock formations above Andreis as well as the meadows on Monte Fara. 

Rustic gate

The malga at 950 meters and grazing sheep

Tabacco map showing the turn off after Bosplans

Malga Monte Fara left, Pala Barzana right

Some of the steep, loose slopes

Satellite shot

Max speed is wrong- caused by loss of GPS signal in tunnels

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