Hiking up a road..pretty easy, right?
Its relatively wide, so the chances of you stepping off and tumbling down the mountain like a heavy bag of potatoes are pretty low (some places), it’s relatively smooth, so you’re not likely to stumble either. So why am I stopping and grasping for air every couple of meters?
Well, some of the reasons might be my overall lack of fitness – after an intense month at the library finishing my thesis, I must admit that my physical shape is not really worth bragging about. However, I try to comfort myself by saying that it has nothing to do with my bad shape – but is a matter of steepness – and Italy’s Dolomites, though not the Rockies, are pretty steep. Nonetheless I must admit that when hearing a 68 year old granny telling me “Lasciate passare i vecchi per primi !“…then…I really think that there is something wrong with my shape.
But honestly, hiking the Dolomites is no walk in the park – even though they have been described by UNESCO as having “some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere“. The Dolomites run through the provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and Trentino. The region itself is trilingual with many locals speaking German and most places having an Italian and a German name. The trip I did is called the “Hike of the Legends” – a 7 day long hut-to-hut hike, more than 100 kms long, and covers more or less the main mountain-groups of the Dolomites.The views were breathtaking indeed, but they also demanded concentration and a lot of guts – some places were slippery, we had to cross a lot of ice and snow, and at certain points we were forced to crawl due to the heavy wind.
However, besides the challenging parts, during this journey I also had the best glass of beer I have ever had in my life. Enjoyed after an 8 hour walk, 2500 m. above sea level, lips all bloody and cracking up (because of-course I forgot the lip-balm), feet not moving, fingers all beefy because of the altitude, the refuge just letting us know that they had no shower and dinner was late, surrounded by snow, sweaty, smelly – and then…A glass of nice cold refreshing beer. With that glass of beer every pain in the body melted away and the journey ahead seemed as such an easy thing.
Like hiking, the journey of life isn’t without its challenges and confrontations. However the reward comes with the experiences and the memories that you generate.
Thanks for the memories, Giova.
Thanks for the memories, Dolomites