It's possible to climb Monte Jouf with a mountain bike but I don't have one so I hiked it instead. I drove up to the high point of the paved road from Maniagolibero, parked and set off. I hiked up the first couple of switchbacks (under construction) then headed up the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) trail toward the summit. Great trail through beautiful forest, and well-marked though I managed to wander off course anyway. I couldn't find any of the red & white trail marks on trees or rocks. No harm done, I found my way back and continued. The trail gradually became steeper, then even steeper, and again I lost sight of any trail markings. I rested a moment before heading back down to look for the trail, when I heard a clattering sound above me. Peering through the tree limbs I caught sight of an elderly man rapidly descending this steep slope with trekking poles. He seemed to be floating along, barely touching the leaf-cover and loose stones with his feet but rhythmically stabbing at the ground to left and right to keep from tumbling. I asked him if this was the way to the summit and he asked if I was from Deutschland (I get that a lot) then said the trail led to a "gross haus" and promised it was only 5 minutes away. I figured at my speed it would take 15, but it ended up being 30.
Beautiful up here, the forest abruptly ends and it's rolling grassland. Great views in all directions. I wandered around awhile but never sighted the bears. Then it was time to head down and I still couldn't find the CAI trail so I headed down the dirt road. This would be a fun descent on a mountain bike, but on foot it was quite long. I wished I had a pair of those trekking poles and could glide down the steep footpath like the old fellow.
|Pillows of alpine grass foreground, with Alpi Giulie to northeast|
|Malga Jouf (the "gross haus") with barn for hay and livestock|
|Monte Raut towering over Pala Barzana|
|Remnant of antique teleferica, a ski-lift for cargo used in mountains|