Thursday, May 23, 2013

Strada degli Alpini

I headed up Valcellina past Lago di Barcis, both filled to the brim with snowmelt and spring rain.  At Claut I continued down to Torrente Cellina at Lesis.  Men were paving the road, and understandably they told me not to ride my bike on it.  I asked the guy if I could walk along the narrow grassy edge and he said ok if I carried my bike.  Luckily I had brought along my sneakers in my backpack so I put them on and carried my bike past the work site.  From here I crossed the river (which was roaring white water instead of the usual gently babbling brook).  After a bit the road heads quite steeply up a shady series of switchbacks.  I stood most of the way and was surprised I didn't have to stop to rest.  Then around 660 meters I heard kids and found a gaggle of schoolchildren on a field trip with their teachers.  I waited for them to go on, but a couple of minutes after I restarted I caught up with them again.  The teachers herded them mostly onto the right side so I slipped by. 

Shortly afterward, the pavement ends and the road turns to gravel, barely rideable on skinny road bike tires.  I made it to the pastures at Casera Casavento and locked my bike to a trail signpost.  I put on my sneakers and headed up the trail toward Forcella Clautana.  I've been wanting to go up there ever since an Italian mountain biker, Ermione, told me you could cross the pass and descend to Lago Ca' Selva.  The trail is called Strada degli Alpini, built by Italian mountain soldiers during World War I.  Great trail, with plenty of long switchbacks to ease the gradient.  I wouldn't be able to ride a mountain bike up it though.  I think there are some rideable stretches on the descent, saw a video of it that looked fantastic.  Anyway I made it to 1118 meters, the top of the waterfall that plummets 200 meters down to  the dinosaur footprint fossil the schoolkids had hiked to see.  I had run out of time and wouldn't make it to Forcella Clautana today.  Maybe I'll bring the dogs and we'll hike it soon.

Casera Casavento from Strada degli Alpini trailhead

Young bull with  bell at Casavento- this is the color of the local cows,
though there are also Herefords and Holsteins here nowadays

Looking down from Strada degli Alpini at Casavento pastures

Wild Genziana along the trail

Looking back up the valley toward Forcella Clautana

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