Before reading this post, be sure to start from the beginning of this Dolomites series here.
We awoke to completely different weather. The ground was still covered in snow of course, but the winds had died down, it was no longer snowing, and the sun was out. My sister and I decided to gulp down our breakfast and head out as quickly as possible, because (1) we actually prefer it when there’s no one ahead of us in the trail (pros and cons to that after yesterday’s near death experience!) and (2) we wanted to be able to move quickly in case the weather changed.
The plan for today was to exit the mountains pronto, with the closest option being Passo Gardena. It turned out to be a 3 hour hike for us in the snow, though one could probably do it faster if there wasn’t any slippery, icy bits to be wary off.
Although we started our trek feeling a little freaked out after yesterday’s adventure, this soon passed as we trekked through some of the most beautiful, lunar-like landscapes I’ve ever had the good fortune to come across. Our decision to be one of the first to head out was the right one, as we pretty much had an unspoilt landscape around us, and time alone to ourselves to marvel in the beauty of it all.
The trail markers were a lot more visible today in the bright light, and there was good variety in the trail. My only partial regret was not being able to look out for fossils in the rocks due to the snow fall, but hey, I can’t complain with all the other sights that beheld us!
We passed by the Crespeina Lake along the way, as we climbed up towards the Forcella de Crespeina. The panoramic pic I’ve shown below at the top of the pass just doesn’t do it justice, but this was one of the best views I saw over the entire trip so far.
There was only one way to go once we went through the Forcella de Crespeina, and that was a very steep DOWN. Thank heavens we weren’t going the other way as that would’ve been a seriously brutal climb up.
Upon reaching the bottom of the valley, we had to take a somewhat narrow path towards Passo Cir as we traversed the side of the Cir mountains. I was rather thankful once again that we had set out early that day, as it meant we didn’t have to cross paths with another trekker going the other way since the path wouldn’t have taken much more than 2 people side by side.
After passing through the Cir mountains, we were on our way down, catching glimpses of our destination for today, Passo Gardena, at certain points. On the one hand, I was glad to be heading towards sea level, far far away from crazy snowstorms. On the other hand however, it’s hard to want to leave when you’ve got views like this.
Upon reaching the small valley town of Passo Gardena, we heaved a great sigh of relief, thanked the mountain gods for sparing our life, and headed into a cafe to warm up and have some lunch. My sister and I debated on what to do, as the option to carry on was still there, and the morning trek had been so spectacular! We ultimately decided not to take any chances though, and so planned our route down and out of the Dolomites.
We ended up having to take 3 local buses to get to Selma and Bolzano, which took us around 2 hours and 15 minutes in total (under €10 per person). From Bolzano, we took a train to Verona, 1.5 hours away, which cost us €18. Why Verona? Because neither of us had ever been, it was fairly close, and the weather there was forecasted to be sunny and around 24C.
After some quick searching, we managed to score an Airbnb in the centre of Verona town and headed straight there. Too tired and weary to head out for dinner, we went to bed soon after arriving and a nice, long, hot shower (free of any time limits!).
And that my friends, is how my first Dolomites trekking trip ended. My sister and I spent a good deal of time reflecting on what happened in the mountains after, and whilst it was a close shave, there’s nothing much we can do now but revel in life and happiness. Do we wish we had done some things differently? Yes, of course, but hindsight’s always great. Do we regret making the trip? Not at all… in fact, I’ve already started contemplating next year’s trip. 😉