Thursday, April 10, 2014

Monte Ciaurlec MTB

Between Meduno and Clauzetto a massif rises near-vertically almost 1000 meters from the plain below.   It is mostly undeveloped, with one paved road climbing from Meduno to Monte Valinis to transport parapendisti (hang-gliders) to their launch site.  It's one of my favorite local climbs.  The highest point on the massif is Monte Ciaurlec (1148 m), but there is no road to it, only a hiking trail.  I read several accounts of mountain bikers riding the trail so thought I'd try.

After biking up Monte Valinis I spotted the gate at CAI 819 trailhead.  In a grassy meadow nearby is Casera Valinis, an old farmhouse where fresh cheese was made.  I tried riding the trail but it was beyond my skill level.  Twisty, hilly, lots of protruding boulders, trees and roots: after falling once I knew it was pointless.  I parked the bike by a large karst boulder and hiked from then on.

The area is completely silent except for an occasional bird.  Trees and large karst rock formations alternate with alpine grassland, with large pillow-shaped grasses.  Still early Spring, so the trees are getting their first leaves, wildflowers cover the forest floor, but the grass is still wheaten-colored and hasn't turned green yet.  At 1135 meters my turn-around time was already passed so I skipped the walk across the rolling grassy hill to the highpoint.  Luckily I found my bike again and descended quickly to Meduno, then home.  There is another trail to Ciaurlec from the Italian Army shooting range above Travesio which I rode to last year- may try that.  Better still I might drive to Piani di Clauzetto (between Campone and Pradis di Sotto) and hike up to Ciaurlec with the pups.  They would love this place.     

The gate to CAI 819

View of Meduno from the gate

Parapendio zooming over

Casera Valinis

One of many karst formations

Near the summit

Grassy ground cover near the summit

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