I tend to have trouble sleeping in new places and this night was no different despite desperately wanting to after that tough first day’s trek. Today was Stage 2 of the Alta Via 2 route in the Dolomites, trekking from Rifugio Plose (Plosehütte) to Rifugio Genova (Schlüterhütte).
We opened the doors of the hut to glorious morning sunshine. It looked a little chilly with the clouds so low (or us so high?) and snow patches on the ground, so we wrapped up warm in anticipation. We soon had to stop after about 15 minutes of walking, though, as it was actually pretty hot in the sun and just getting hotter.
After the steep uphill to the top of the mountain yesterday, today started with a downhill section which would total 650 metres of decline. It was a nice change to go down, but by no means easier as it gets pretty tough on the knees after a while. It was nice walking through the valley in this early section, though there wasn’t much to look at at this point.
We reached a main road with some dwellings about 2 hours later with the glorious Puez Odle Natural Park in the background.
After crossing the main road, and once we had officially entered the Puez Odle Natural Park, I started feeling like we had finally started our “proper” Dolomites adventure 😊. We were mostly walking on rocky paths at this point, passing numerous waterfalls along the way as we traversed the sides of granite peaks.
After, I’d say maybe another 2 hours, we started a proper uphill section towards the Forcella della Putia. The elevation gain today was a lot less compared to yesterday, with “just” a 500 meters gain (but over a shorter distance relatively).
I wasn’t in top physical condition coming into this trip as I had an existing injury to my right hip and left knee, so this was a little challenging for me and it took me a tough 40 minutes to reach the top. It was a bit of a blessing perhaps, as it forced me to stop periodically and gave me a chance to pause and marvel at the beautiful views surrounding me.
I was glad to reach the top though, and was rewarded with a stunning view of the valley from the Forcella della Putia.
After a short 5 minute break on the benches, we were feeling rather motivated and decided to try taking one of the detour routes that would take us to the Sass de Putia (which is, I think, one of the tallest peaks in the Dolomites). It’s the route on the left in the photo above. We turned round after 15 minutes though as it got pretty steep pretty quickly, and my hip really started hurting at that point.
There was nothing left to do then, but to head straight for our hut accommodation for the night, Rifugio Genova (Schlüterhütte).
This really was one of the best trekking sections so far as we now felt like we were faraway in the mountains, away from civilisation and crowds. This feeling of being remote and immersed in nature was exactly what we had come looking for! We could really feel the weather change though, as we saw the clouds coming in towards the end of today’s trek, until at last, we reached the rifugio.
We arrived at 2.15pm, which meant a total trekking time today of just under 6 hours (including a 10 minute pitstop). We were well and ready for our late lunch at this point, and the large bowl of vegetable soup I had was just the ticket (love the portion sizes here!).
We managed to get private rooms here (just for 2), but there was no heating in this hut so I was freezing with not much to keep me distracted. We therefore decided to head out for a short walk in the local vicinity since it was still fairly early in the day. It start hailing a little whilst we were taking our 40 minute walk up a nearby hill, which as we will see, was a precursor to much more terrible weather. With visibility being so poor, we decided to head back, suck up the €2.50 cost for 5 minutes of hot water, and try to get clean and warm.
We mapped out the next day’s trek over a dinner of spaghetti and tomato sauce (simple by good) and dessert of traditional buckwheat cake. I’ve never had this type of cake before and I have to say, it was really rather good!
After some overnight shenanigans with my sister getting locked out of our room (I won’t go into the details, it’s a ridiculous story!), we finally fell asleep, oblivious to the horrors awaiting us the following day…