Sunday, July 6, 2014

Monte Rossa MTB

Val d'Arzino is one of the best kept wilderness areas in northeast Italy.  It's mostly undeveloped, yet pretty easy to access using the road designed and built by the great engineer, Count Giacomo Ceconi.  And that's how I arrived there today, driving up from Pinzano to Pielungo.

I was short on time so I drove all the way to the start of the MTB trail, at Castello Ceconi (an excellent place to visit itself, with park-like grounds where kids can play and families can picnic).  This MTB trail is an excellent workout, climbing constantly for 8 km at 10.5% average gradient, with some ramps of 18%, as it follows the contours of the steep mountain side.  

As the road climbs it changes, becoming slightly looser-surfaced at first, then more and more so.  I gave it my all and kept going up to around 900 meters, then I was toast, so got off and pushed awhile.  Shortly afterward, I arrived at the junction with the trail for Malga Jovet.  After a few minutes rest I hopped back on the bike and started climbing steeply again up to around 1200 meters.  Mercifully the trail levels out here for a kilometer or so, then you arrive at gorgeous open meadows of Malga Rossa (a stone ruin).  I thought about ignoring the time so I could continue to the ridge of Monte Rossa (1350 meters) which has great views from the sheer southern escarpment, but I'd given my word, so I turned around.

The ride down was fun- much faster and easier.  I packed up and got home right on time.  Will return this Fall maybe and  check the view toward the south.

View from trail of Val d'Arzino

The meadows at Malga Rossa (1260 meters)
Wild rhododendron in meadows

View of meadows toward northeast

Another wild rhododendron bush 

Castello Ceconi and park-like grounds

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