Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Val Zemola MTB

Above Lago di Vajont the towns of Erto and Casso cling to the northern cliff face.  Atop these cliffs hides a wilderness area of lush forests, tumbling mountain streams and high peaks.  From Erto the entry way to this area is Via Val Zemola.  I decided to explore there today.

After riding up Val Cellina and over Passo San Osvaldo I turned right at Erto and climbed up to 1000 meters.  The road continues north less steeply until pavement ends.  After a while pavement returns for a stack of switchbacks up to  Rifugio Casera  Mela.  Decision time: I intended to continue up to Rifugio Cava Buscada around 1800 meters.  But the trail seemed too sun exposed for such a hot day, and I was already sweating profusely and panting.  The other trail passes through shady forest.  I took the shady trail along the rim of Val Zemola gorge and on toward Rifugio Maniago.  Good choice: it was absolutely gorgeous.  The trail is a dirt road with a few concrete sections.  There are also three guadi (fords) to ride through and cool off a little.  At 1525 meters I reached end of the road, where a hiking trail continues to Rifugio Maniago at 1725 meters.  I'll have to come back and hike that another day.  And Cava Buscada I'll try hiking in autumn before it snows.

A great area to ride through that feels completely wild.

Steep-walled Val Zemola; the torrent descends very rapidly: later
you cross it at ground level, despite ascending to  1300 meters 

Dirt road heading toward Monte Duranno (2668m)

Cima Fortezza (2101m)

Forest at end of the road

Close up Monte Duranno

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