First weekend of December, the forecasts are excellent: sun in the morning and a light fog in the afternoon. During the week the snow fell abundantly on the Zoldo and Cadore Dolomites. The time has come to use Giorgia's Christmas present in advance: the brand new snowshoes!
A look at the webcam of our refuge which has now become a fixed stop, the Città di Fiume refuge: abundant snow and an open refuge, the perfect combination! We cross the Val di Zoldo, pass the Staulanza Pass and, after a couple of bends downhill, we reach the convenient parking on the right. The thermometer reads 9 degrees below zero! We have equipped ourselves with a ski jacket, hat, gloves and we are ready for any weather. We put on the snowshoes, stretch the telescopic poles with the tip suitable for the winter season and go!
We take the CAI 467 path towards the Città di Fiume refuge. We enter the magical forest of spruces (pecci in dialectal term) and larch trees covered by a light blanket of snow [Thanks to Luisa M., forestry with over 40 years of experience who showed me the correct names of the flora in the PassoStaulanza area / City of Fiume Refuge]. Younger spruces are literally suffocated by a large hat of heavy snow, the larger and more slender ones have to bear the snow cover only on the lower branches. The sun is about to illuminate our path which for the moment remains in the penumbra. The chiaroscuro that is created allows us to see unusual shadows on the large snowdrifts in front of us. The sun filters more and more forcefully and makes the snow crystals shine making them a bright pure white. The boulders covered by the blanket, the small submerged spruces and the streams transformed into white traces, form magical and fairytale landscapes in which you feel a mad desire to dive! More and more often we see unusual footprints that we discover to be of white hare.
We cross a couple of hidden bridges that create sounds in some cases sinister given by the snow that compresses under our snowshoes. The Pelmo can be glimpsed among the pine branches, the sun is coloring it with the first rays of the day. Suddenly the wood opens up and gives way to a spectacular view of the Civetta and Mount Crot: the snow-covered slopes of Palafavera are distinguishable in the background with many black dots that descend quickly. A few more steps and here we reach Malga Fiorentina with a dream panorama of the Marmolada and Piz Boè! The hut, with its layout, seems to be an enchanted village.
We continue to climb knowing that the refuge is not far away. The sun now high on our right creates shadows projected on the white snow: two other snowshoers keep us company on the climb!
Passo Staulanza, Veneto, Italy
Rifugio Città di Fiume
The last branches of the wood are thinning out, the blue sky opens before us together with the majestic Caregon of the Eternal Father, the mythical Pelmo. You can almost touch it from how close it is. From our position the split between Pelmo (left) and Pelmetto (right) is clearly distinguishable. The distinctive crack is called "La Fessura" and right there we see intrepid ski mountaineers who like ants try to reach the apex of the saddle. Moving your gaze to the left you can see the scree now whitened of the Val d’Arcia which allows you to reach the Forca Rossa and Forcella Val d’Arcia forks. Here too a nice group of ski mountaineers were trying to reach the peak of these forks!
The Città di Fiume refuge peeks out behind a small snowy ridge on our left. A few more steps, a last bend and here we are at the refuge! A series of wooden benches and tables welcome the various hikers right in front of the refuge. The splendid day and the charge that these views give us, push us to climb again towards the Col de la Puina.
This route is developed on a track not beaten, if not by previous hikers who practice it. Here we have tested our snowshoes properly. The route is recommended for those who have a minimum of training both to overcome the abundant snow that makes each step tiring, and for the difference in height that you are going to face. We stop at the hairpin bend at an altitude of 1975m where you can enjoy the splendid panorama between Pelmo, Civetta, Monte Crot and Marmolada all at once!
We return to the refuge and eat a plate of pasta with ragù io and a plate of gnocchi with Giorgia ragù with an enviable view from any starred restaurant. A nice radler and excellent homemade bread crown a royal ration! We take back snowshoes and sticks to take the way back. The descent was made on the same track as the ascent.
The different point of view on the return, however, offers unprecedented glimpses compared to the morning. Furthermore, although it is just 3 pm, the setting sun tinges the undergrowth landscapes with new and soft tones. In short we return to the car, a last look at the Pelmo before returning to the car and seeing from the thermometer that we are still below zero at -4 degrees!
This concludes a splendid snowshoe hike suitable for the whole family. Even the little ones, perhaps equipped with small bobs, can have fun descending on the various slopes around the Città di Fiume refuge. Giorgia's new snowshoes have been baptized and are ready for other thrusts on untouched snow!
Tourist - Itinerary on narrow streets, mule tracks or wide paths. The routes are generally not long, do not present any orientation problems and do not require specific training if not the typical one of the walk.