Sunday, May 31, 2015

San Stino di Livenza

I started early intending to visit Eraclea Mare on the Adriatic coast.  I rode through Porcia, Prata di Pordenone, Meduna di Livenza, and San Stino di Livenza.  At this point the route starts riding on Venezia SP62, a scenic road along the top of a flood control levy that follows Fiume Livenza's banks.  This was the best part of the ride for me: no cars, a meandering levy road, riparian flora, waterfowl, birdsong.  I was mesmorized and forgot about Eraclea.  I reached my turn-around time at Salute di Livenza, across the river from San Giorgio di Livenza.  I had to turn around to get home on time, but vowed to return.  The levy road continues to the west end of Caorle, so I will try to do that stretch soon.

The ride home involved more getting lost, ending up in Pordenone, bonking, confused finding my way through very familiar streets.  Luckily I realized what was happening and stopped for another banana and more tea (with potassium salt).  After that everything was ok.  Will try again soon.  

Fiume Meduna at Prata.  The river flows from the mountains into
Il Magredi gravel beds and disappears.  It reemerges further
south nearCordenons.  Not too far from Villa Varga
it joins Fiume Livenza and flows to the Adriatico

Fiume Meduna view upstream

Saluta di Livenza from SP62

Close up

A giant fishing net as wide as the river

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Campone - Monte Prat

This ride is 3 or 4 favorite climbs strung together.  It started with an easy climb from Maniago through Bus di Colvera to Frisanco, then headed east down Val Muie to Navarons.  Next the road from Lago Redona east to Campone along Torrente Chiarzo.  Here begins the second climb, up to Piani di Clauzetto (655 meters) followed by descent to Pradis di Sotto.  Immediately you start another climb to Pradis di Sopra (685 meters) and then plunge down to Pielungo in Val Arzino (328 meters).   Here you start the last climb, up the west side of Monte Prat to Val Tochel (881 meters).  As you might have guessed, now you make another long descent to Flagogna in Val Arzino (145 meters).  All this saliscendi is quite fun and didn't wear me out as much as one long climb usually does.  There was a tailwind most of the way home, which helped considerably.  There are many variants you could make to this route.  Great biking area.

Campone below Monte Celant

Stone arch bridge over Torrente Chiarzo at Campone

Older stone bridge leading up valley to Tamar,
abandoned settlement on north slope of Monte Celant

View east from Pradis di Sopra

Pielungo church with Monte Prat in background

Looking south down Val Arzino toward Tagliamento River

Mountains to the west from 700 meters

Monte Pala on your right

Monte Flagjel from the west

Val Tochel 880 meters, with Mt Flagjel seen from the east

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Villa Varda

Watching the giro ride along the Piave to Jesolo Friday, I realized I've neglected this whole southwest quadrant.  A piece of the pie is missing, from Caorle to Il Montello.  The rain finally stopped today so I set out to remedy this oversight.  I rode down through Porcia and Brugnera to Villa Varda, a lovely forested estate on the bank of Fiume Livenza.  From there I continued down to Oderzo and Ponte del Piave, where I looked for the bridge without success.  I knew San Dona was on the other side of the river, so I rode as far south as Noventa, then gave up and turned back.  As I retraced my route through Ponte de Piave I found the bridge on the road headed west toward Treviso.  The Piave meanders and loops around so much the roads don't bother following it.  Nice flat ride, which I may use again to reach Eraclea soon if the weather holds up. 

Villa Varda: the big house in the distance

This structure to the east may be a guest house or servants quarters

Nice shady lane for hot summer days

The Livenza at Brugnera, looping east

Here it is again looping northwest

Monday, May 18, 2015

Casera Palantina - Valle Friz MTB

Last Fall I tried to reach Casera Palantina from Pian Rosada via a couple of MTB trails.  Each  ended in a steep climb up the mountainside and I couldn't continue.  So today I tried again; started riding from La Crosetta to Col Indes/Pian delle Lastre in southeast Alpago.  Here I turned off of the pavement onto a very good MTB trail, CAI 923.  Some of the steeper parts I had to walk up, but it's a bikeable trail.  Then at 1400 meters there is a branch to the right that was mostly unrideable to me.  It takes you to Casera Palatina, ruins of a cheese maker's stone house at 1508 meters.  The casera is surrounded on north and east by some of the tall peaks of Cavallo Gruppo. 

From Casera Palantina I joined CAI 993 headed south.  I wanted to see if I could reach Valle Friz by bike.  The answer is No: you can hike it, but a bike is merely a 15 kg albatross around your neck.  Most of the time you can roll it over the rocks but in many instances you end up carrying it, in a few cases up very steep rough trail.  I was beginning to have my doubts, but I decided to keep trying.  At Antro delle Lamate you reach an area of caves.  I didn't explore them but I've seen some interior photos and they seem pretty big.  I believe they were used as human shelter in millennia past.

Finally I got on CAI 984 which was headed for Valle Friz.  Still too boulder-strewn to ride but there were a few stretches of grass I was able to coast for a few meters.  Around a bend I spotted Casera Valle Friz and the road to Candaglia.  This was great fun after the long push/carry, especially the glorious dirt road from Candaglia to La Crosetta.  I drove home and conked out from the exertion.  Next time I will try hiking from Valle Friz to Casera Palantina and back.  Maybe into Antro delle Lamate?  

Start of trail 923; like the bambi-esque fawn

Here you turn right off of 923 onto T 7

Casera Palantina with Cima delle Vacche
Palantina with Cimon di Cavallo

Join CAI 993 here

The karst strewn slopes

Beautiful wildflowers

Bees' eye-view of the flowers

View northwest of Lago di Santa Croce

View west of Il Cansiglio

Antro delle Lamate cave
Close up of cave opening

Another cave nearby

CAI 984, the trail to Valle Friz

Excelsior!  Casera Valle Friz and the road to Candaglia!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Monte Ciastelat Hike

From my back window Pala Fontana (1637 meters) dominates the view.  You can even see it as far south as the Adriatico shore.  If instead you approach from the north there is a tree-covered altopiano with huge outcroppings of karst stone dominating the scene.  The highest point, less than a km northeast of Pala Fontana, is Monte Ciastelat (1641 meters).  Today I hiked there from the trailhead at Pian delle More (1193 meters).  It's an easy hike with fantastic views.  Along the way you pass through an area of ancient pastures with piled-rock walls.  Also there are ruins of an old stone casera (cheese maker).  The summit of Monte Ciastelat is a rocky outcropping, but not difficult to scramble up.  From the top a 360 degree panorama from Adriatico to Alpe awaits.  Definitely try it if you're in the area.   

After climbing from Pian delle More,
begin the trail to Monte Ciastelat here 

Rocky pastures below north side of Pala Fontana

Ruins of cheese maker's hut

Ruderi casera

Ruderi casera

Looking through the entrance of the cheese maker's hut ruins

Piled-rock walls kept sheep from wandering away

Piled-rock walls

Monte Ciastelat summit

Almost there: now you must scale these rocks

From the summit: looking east toward Slovenia

Monte Raut and the southeast end of Monte Ressetum 

 Monte Ressetum wall east of Valcellina

Taller peaks to the north

Panning north northwest

Monte Cavallo Gruppo (Piancavallo area far left)

North side of Pala Fontana showing microwave reflector (from our house
only the side view is visible: looks like a short tower)  

Zoom in on tall peaks to north (need to look them up in peakfinder)
I think the town is Cimolais

Panned to north northwest

Must go explore these huge karst formations; may be easier to reach
from Monterale Valcellina Osservatorio Astronomico