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Lago Blu


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It was forecasted to be great weather today and as promised I woke up to a clear blue sky, even though the sun hadn’t made it over the mountain peaks yet. But in time for breakfast at 7.30am the first rays of morning-tired sunshine illuminated the snow-covered alpine peaks in the Monte Rosa Massif, which I actually could see from my hotel room. During the morning meeting at 8.45am we found out that the red group was getting another mountaineering guide, Rudy, today since Patrick had the day off. Normally the travel agency requests the same mountaineering guide during a week for each group, but this week was difficult to meet up to that request according to the mountaineering guide Rental Company. Though Rudy hadn’t showed up in time for the morning meeting but apparently it wasn’t that uncommon according to our hiking guides Lina and Rebecka.

At the gathering outside the hotel, for joint walk to the bus stop, Rudy showed up and he turned out to be a nice social guy with a lot of humor as well. I almost dare to say that he was the best at English of the totally three mountaineering guides my group had during the week. Said and done, we embarked the bus to neighbor-village Saint-Jacques at 1697 altitude meters. Well in Saint-Jacques my group started to hike with Rudy in the lead. The sun broiled efficiently up in the almost clear blue sky and it was really nice that the first part of the hike took place in shadows of trees, though steep uphill. This sieved the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and one of the hikers in my group decided to discontinue and hike with the blue group for the rest of the week. After a while we came to an abandoned hotel (Alberga Pension Bella Vista), where we took a technical pause and ate some of our packed snacks. Rudy told us that this was the first hotel built in this valley, but due to its inconvenient location it wasn’t reachable by car which led to loss of guests that sought more easily accessible hotels, which was built down in the villages.

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We continued for about an hour more and reached the Pian di Verra, a meadow plateau at 2069 altitude meters, with an amazing look over Monte Rosa Massif. We gathered here for the first group picture during the week for the red group. The Meadow plateau was surrounded by bragging alpine peaks like Due Denti (2723 m.) and Monte Rosso di Verra (3022 m.) and of course the snow-covered peaks in Monte Rosa Massif. We could hear the tolling bells of the gazing cows at a distance while we followed the purling alpine creek Torrente di Verra.

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We made a longer break at “the lemon”, simply a small kiosk on wheels really. The kiosk was designed and painted just like a lemon and opened and closed by opening/closing the upper half of “the lemon”. Since there was no electricity here what so ever the kiosk was driven by a small diesel generator that ran behind.

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After the break we had a relatively easy ascend left before reaching Lago Blu, an alpine lake at 2220 meters above sea level. And that thanks to the constantly supplied melting water from Rocca di Verra (3137 m.) among others, the water was completely clear blue. For those sporting winners who wished, could take a swim in the lake but they had to prepare for a temperature at +8 °C in the clear blue water. I held myself at a safe distance from the water, but couldn’t help myself smile a little at the brave souls who dared to dive into the water. It ended up only me and Rudy who didn’t bathe today. There was a competition between red and blue group today of which group who had the most people swimming. I can reveal that my group won easily with 7 peoples bathing over the blue group that had 4 bathing, and they encountered York the dog as a person as well. So, I really didn’t have to feel bad for “not taking a swim for the team” as you say. And who is York? It is Lina and Patrick who owns York together and let York come along during the hikes, in his training of becoming a Rescue Dog.

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When all sporting winners had dressed in dry clothes again and stopped shivering, we hiked along the mountain ridge Comba di Verra before turning in direction towards Rifugio Ferraro and our lunch. Along the way we passed wild growing thyme and raspberries. We got to the Rifugio by 2-ish and you were really starving at that time. The blue group arrived a while later and sat down at the table next to us. Sallad alla Valdostana with Salsicca sausage and blueberry pie as dessert, tasted really great after a long and warm day of hiking. Up here at Rifugio Ferraro at 2066 altitude meters we got (thanks to a cloud-free day) a fantastic view over Champoluc and Ayas Valley.

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After lunch when we in the red group gathered and were ready, we missed Rudy. It turned out he was on the other side of the house playing with the dog York (who was with the blue group today). When he eventually realized “Oh, are you waiting for me?” he sped up. Now we had a steep descent back to Saint-Jacques again. In the beginning you could at least see that it was a path we followed, but it rapidly became rockier and partially difficult seeing whether it was a path or not. But trained as I was, I tagged along with Rudy and had a long nice chat with him.
During summers Rudy works as mountaineering guide and as ski instructor in the winter. In the winter it is very popular with heli-skiing here in Monte Rosa Ski Area, which means you fly helicopter up to otherwise inaccessible peaks and ski down into the valley again. In that way you get really long pistes for several kilometers, even up 40 kilometers if I remember it correctly. Besides that, Rudy works as a Rescue Worker all year around and rescue people in need up in the mountains, summer as winter. Totally they have about 850 rescue operations per year in this area alone, which means average 2,5 operations per day. But it is high seasons during summer and winter when they have about 4-5 rescue operations per day and the rest of the year is much calmer. He told that he had been called out just yesterday to search for a mushroom hunter, who had been found at 8.30 pm in the evening by him and a Rescue Dog. And I can tell you that it is really dark here at that time. So, at their disposal they have Rescue Dogs and helicopters to get them fast up in the mountains.

Well down in Saint-Jacques we waited for the bus and rode back to Champoluc again. After Walk before a shower, foot- and shoe-care. At the hotel they had Aosta Valley typical dinner at 7.30pm, which started with salad entree and Aosta Valley typical cold cuts with honey chestnuts as first starter. Thereafter Risotto with Blanc de Morgex white wine, Corugettes and Cheese Fondue was served as second starter. As main course we got veal cheek stew with mashed potatoes and finished off with an apple tart with vanilla sauce as dessert.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Italy Tagged hiking

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