Sunday, July 14, 2013

Forcella di Giais Hike

I was preparing for a mountain bike ride to Piancavallo this morning when I took the dogs out.  When I returned them to their penthouse suite (upstairs hallway sleeping area), they gave me the saddest look imaginable with their big puppy dog eyes.  I acquiesced and switched everything  over to hiking gear- they were going to the mountains!

At Castaldia I turned toward Col Alto and parked at a switchback end above Candaglia.  We hiked along the gravel road through the meadows, which were surprisingly wet.  In the shady areas large accumulations of pea-sized hail were piled up and slowly melting.  We often get big storms in the evening this time of year and it comes down frozen up high. 

A bit further along a large flock of sheep was stretched across the road.  They let us by no problem but one of the shepherd dogs started bothering Teddi.  Honey snarled at the much bigger dog, so I picked her up to avoid controversy.  We eventually escaped; now I decided instead of going up the steep gravel road to go straight across the meadows on foot paths.  Naturally this was a mistake and we ended up scrambling up a scree slope eventually to regain ground.  The girls didn't seem to mind at all. They are the perfect companions, never complaining, always eager to surge forward, and very energetic.

We rejoined the gravel road which soon became CAI hiking trail 985.  It descended to La Ronciade, then we turned right onto CAI 988.  This rises to Forcella di Giais (1442m), a pass with great views of the plain (despite the haze) and surrounding peaks.

Hike back was uneventful but now there were many more people- they start hiking after the sun is already heating up, and the biting flies are coming out.  Much better to go early in the morning, in my opinion.

Teddi and Honey had a great hike and seem eager for another soon.  The bikes will just have to wait somedays.

Looking back across Candaglia meadows after first kilometer

Big herd of sheep enjoying alpine grass

Honey deciding which  fork to take

Teddi examining local flora

View west from ledge on Col Ceschet (1350m)

Eastward from Col Ceschet ledge toward Pala Fontana

Teddi standing against a prop to get better view
 of her surroundings

Pala Fontana (1637m) from Forcella di Giais

Lush grassy meadows above Giais

Our village, Giais, from the  Forcella (1442m)

Rugo della Fontana, bottom; Col Ceschet, right  

View north across La Ronciade, Monte Cavallo in the clouds

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