Sunday, August 4, 2013

Valle del Mis

I've wanted to visit Valle del Mis for several years, ever since a friend told me about his wedding party by a gorgeous lake.   So this morning I left early and drove past Belluno to Ponte Mas, parked, and started riding.  Even the approach is pretty, rolling meadows with wooden houses, flower-covered balconies.  A beautiful monastery, La Certosa di Vedana, sits atop a hill overlooking the meadows.  Shortly you arrive at Lago del Mis, a manmade lake stretching for miles in the mountain valley.  The road follows the shoreline, with frequent short tunnels, 5 or 6 long enough to need a headlight and rear flasher.  It was still dawn as I rode along the shady lake edge, though the rugged mountains in the distance were beginning to be lit by the sun.  Almost deserted out here, except for a young mountain goat near Torrente Falcina, an inlet west of the lake.

The lake narrows and you cross Torrente Mis then begin cycling for miles in a spectacular gorge.  Numerous rapids and waterfalls interrupt the silence.  You're gradually gaining altitude, almost without knowing it.  Then around 500 or 600 meters the gradient picks up a bit, climbing at 8-10% up to Tiser at 950 meters where you join the road to Don di Gosaldo.  Because of the August traffic jams (especially on Sunday) I opted out of crossing Passo Cereda and descending to Fiera di Primiero.  Instead I turned  northeast and crossed Forcella Aurine (1299m) above Agordo.  Great views up here of Pale di San Martino (2982m), which was engulfed in clouds when I circled it last summer.

I got a bit lost at this point, despite printing out a map last night.  The signs were using different names than the map, so I erred on the side of caution and kept searching, till I found myself at Agordo (600m).  The places on the map were nowhere to be seen so I resolved to return to Ponte Mas through the busy tunnels of the main road.  Luckily as I was leaving Agordo I saw a sign for Valle del Mis.  It took a bit of climbing to regain altitude to Tiser, but the gradient wasn't bad.

The descent was fun, though the the road was now getting crowded (1030).  I don't want to think about what it's like this afternoon.  But not all the traffic is cars and motorcycles:  lots of cyclists were on the roads as well.  I will ride this again soon and find the hidden road above Agordo. 

La Certosa di Vedana monastery

Dawn Lago del Mis

Close up sun-lit peaks  in the distance

Torrente Falcina inlet

Looking back down Torrente Mis

Close up of peaks to south

Even closer up

Gorge narrows to 3 or 4 meters; waterfall on left after the narrows

Another view of the mountains above the gorge

Mountains to south toward Feltre; highest peak Piz di Sagron (2486m)

One small portion of the massive Pale di San Martino

Close up Pale di San Martino towers

Pale di San Martino peaks

More of the Pale

A close up 

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