Dolomiti, Italy July 2019

It’s been time to test the physical body again and I’ve chosen the magnificent landscapes of the Dolomites mountain range in northern Italy for my latest obstacle course. The Alta Via 1 (High Way 1) is a famed trek that passes from the South Tyrol region near the border with Austria over 125km to the south. 

The network of trails skirts around 11 of the massif mountain ranges passing from one valley and panorama to the next via narrow shoulders and gorges. The escarpments are sheer and jagged with the limestone rock changing colour with the light from white to slaty grey as well as rose pink with the rise and set of the sun. 

The epic views have rolled on over a 10 day journey (as have the epic climbs and descents my knees are reminding me..). The end of each day is spent savouring the views and hearty Italian fare at any of the mountain huts (Rifugios) dotted among the spires. I won’t deny that a big bowl of ravioli and carafe of wine each night was not a drawcard when compared with other treks I’ve done!

Coming from a temperate climate I always enjoy experiencing the extremes of seasons in other places- while the Dolomites are blanketed in snow in winter, now in midsummer the hillsides are covered with knee length grass and abundant wildflowers. The pop of colour by the trail’s edge each day is part of the joy of a journey on foot – vivid pinks of wild thistle, bluebells and purple gentians, yellow buttercups and daisies and a kaleidoscope of other wildflowers all living in the moment. 

The sounds of the trail also stay with you – a daily symphony provided by clanging cowbells, the baritone buzz of bumblebees, squeaky cicadas and a constant hum of honeybees.

Lastly I have made new friendships forged by the same battle each day with the mountain and the trail. There is an exhilaration that comes from ‘earning’ these experiences and sharing them with likeminded souls over a meal,  a vino rosso or a game of cards as the sun sets on the Dolomiti for another day.

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