New adventure in the natural park of Sennes-Fanes-Braies with Giorgia by my side! Today's destination is an unprecedented refuge for me that is located beyond the border between Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige, at the foot of a peak from which it takes its name and a few steps (so to speak) from the mountain par excellence of the Grande War. You will have already understood (obviously also thanks to the title :)) that I am talking about the Scotoni refuge!
Even the departure of this destination is very easy to reach from the Gran Paradiso **** hotel, the base of our holiday. In less than 10 minutes we are at the convenient parking of Capanna Alpina at an altitude of 1730mt. The parking is really huge and the cost is € 5 for the whole day. We leave the car here and get ready for today's adventure, backpacking and walking, hoping that the sun doesn't beat too hard ... the day in fact promises to be hot.
The path to follow is CAI number 20, very wide and mostly asphalted. In fact, the route winds along the road used by the managers of the refuge, which they reach comfortably via off-road vehicles. The first piece is flat and spread over a beautiful green lawn with some benches. From here you reach a stream, which from here will be called Ru Sciarè, created by the melting of the snow at high altitude of the imposing rocky ridges that are part of the Lagazuoi mountain range. After the wooden bridge, the path becomes more decisive with jumps that make for a good difference in height. It can be seen that the path runs along the ski slopes used in winter with no apparent ski lifts. From here it is already possible to admire an exceptional panorama on the pink colored Dolomite walls of the Piz de Lavarela and the Piz dles Conturines. Looking towards the direction of the refuge we can see the Piza di Lech and the Cima de Salares (Ce de Salares).
The route we are following crosses the Plan dal Ega (Piano dell’acqua) due to the strong presence of rivulets and streams when it rains heavily or the snow melts in this period. After the first "walls" the path always remains constant as a slope and manages to soften it a bit with a series of large bends to climb. The presence of dense mountain pines allow us to catch our breath and drink from time to time in a nice portion of cool shade. When you reach the tenth bend you can see the flags that stand out from the refuge. Here the path becomes flat and we enter the Valun De Lagacio (the Lagazuoi valley).
After about 1 hour and 15 minutes you arrive in this boundless meadow. We were lucky enough to enjoy it in full bloom of the small colorful mountain flowers! The Scotoni refuge peeks out on the left, very nice and large, with several tables outside waiting for us for lunch. Before the refuge there are wooden houses and plaques with photos of two alpacas: Garibaldi and Blanco. Looking better around there we see a little further on from the shelter that they are eating fresh grass in peace. They are beautifully thin and shaved (thankfully in this heat). We say goodbye and meet again later because given the time it is still too early for a long stop and so we continue to reach the Lagazuoi lake.
San Cassiano, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
We have just exceeded 2050mt, we proceed on path 20 and we enter the heart of the green expanse where a panorama opens in front of us that from Cima Scotoni arrives at the Salares fork. Exactly in the center there is a steep road wedged between two rock ridges and flanked by a torrent in flood: that is the path to take to reach the lake!
The route immediately rises in altitude and with narrow gravel hairpin bends you reach the beginning of the route which is adequately secured with steps formed by trunks arranged in an exemplary manner. A path equipped to allow a long life even in the continuous presence of water which, in addition to the stream that runs along it on the right, is continuously crossed by the seasonal melting and drainage streams of the neighboring walls. The journey is a continuous emotion between the spectacular view towards the refuge, which has now become small below us, and the high engineering used for the safety of the route. A section equipped with a small metallic rope also peeps out.
The water becomes more and more impetuous and you arrive at a point where you need to make a real ford ... of a waterfall! Fortunately, the rocks are arranged quite comfortably but the impetuous presence of the water forces us to pay the utmost attention. Attention should also be paid to the presence of some exposed points that could make the most sensitive ones dizzy. After this adventurous note, we continue for a few tens of meters in altitude until we reach a trail marker where it is possible to continue to the Lagazuoi refuge. We opt for the left path that immediately leads us to the coveted lake: a mirror of emerald-colored water with a path that allows the complete tour to enjoy the different angles. In front, the immense and overhanging wall of the Cima Scotoni seems poised about to crash into the Lagazuoi lake. A short mandatory stop for photos and we return to refresh ourselves. Even if a short time has passed, we notice that the water present on the path has increased, to be taken into consideration if you want to stay longer to enjoy the beauty of the lake.
Let's go back to the Scotoni refuge and take a nice table in the shade with a view of the alpacas. Given the heat, Blanco stretches out to find refreshment on the fresh grass. Some children come to give a few pieces of bread and both Garibaldi and Blanco accept the offers very willingly. They seem very comfortable with children and enjoy playing. Here comes our ration: polenta, grilled cheese, sausages and fiferli, a worthy lunch for the hard work. A homemade strudel (exceptional) shows us that it is better to dispose of everything we have replenished, so we take a last walk on the lawn, say goodbye to the alpacas and take the CAI path number 20 in reverse. Let's go back to the Capanna Alpina and in front of us the legendary Sella group stands out in the distance with the still beautiful snowy peak of Piz Boè. An excursion suitable for those with a bit of training, definitely for trained ones as regards the arrival at the Lagazuoi lake. The comfort of the Scotoni refuge, and the panorama that can be enjoyed from its clearing, raises it to one of the most beautiful refuges in the Dolomites.
Hikers - Itineraries on paths or evident traces in various types of terrain (pastures, debris, stony ground ...). They are generally marked with paint or cairns (pyramid-shaped stacked stones that allow you to identify the route even from a distance). They can also take place in snowy but only slightly inclined environments. They require the equipment described in the part dedicated to hiking and sufficient orientation skills, walking training for a few hours.