Last summer adventure based at the Dolomiti Des Alpes hotel in Misurina. Today we cross into Trentino Alto Adige and go almost to the border with Austria, more precisely to Versciaco. A renowned place for winter sports, it is served by a fantastic cable car that will allow me and Giorgia to explore Mount Elmo.
A full return ticket costs €29, certainly not cheap but it saves you about 1000 meters of altitude difference uphill. Let's get the tickets and go! We enjoy a beautiful climb in peace with an increasingly aerial panorama overlooking San Candido. We reach an altitude of 2041 meters, the arrival station of the cable car next to the Monte Elmo restaurant.
We are welcomed by a large plateau with several lifts. We also note the arrival of the cable car that leaves from Sesto. This place must be a skiers paradise in winter! Various signs direct us towards the Gallo Cedrone refuge, but first we notice the thematic itinerary for children which attracts our attention.
The Olperl nature park welcomes us with a map that identifies a circular route that can be traveled entirely barefoot for the delight of the little ones. We normally walk it through the common path that runs alongside the streets to be walked barefoot. Thus we immerse ourselves in a place built on a child scale among farm animals including goats, sheep, rabbits and chickens. Between wooden houses and mills there are borders and rivulets of water. We continue through thickets with paths of bark, straw and pine needles. The turret of the owls, completely made of wood, allows you to enjoy a splendid view of the Croda Rossa di Sesto and the tip of the Tre Scarperi! We move on to a relaxation oasis with lakes and wooden armchairs to relax and enjoy the open panorama towards Dobbiaco and San Candido. Do not miss the passage in the mud or in the cool stream, always strictly barefoot. The path of the park makes a short descent among flowering rhododendrons until it completes the loop returning to the arrival of the cable car. Recommended for children, the Olperl nature park will allow the little ones to have fun without getting bored. Every corner of the route is a discovery and a lesson on mountain flora and fauna.
We leave the thematic route and take the Via della Traversata Carnica, CAI path 4, in the direction of the Gallo Cedrone refuge. At the side of the path, an open-air construction site tells us that next year there will be a new Rehinold Messner mountain museum here! The track is wide and proceeds under the sun in the South-East direction. The heat these days is almost unbearable even in the mountains and above all at these altitudes above 2000 metres. Even the slope, never excessive, is tiring right away. The wood on our right occasionally allows us to enjoy a bit of restorative shade. In a short time we arrive at an altitude of 2200 meters, the road levels out, we are on the ridge of Mount Hasenkopfl with its verdant meadows. To the north you can see the typical wooden barns that peep out among the yellow patches of mountain flowers that enrich the green expanse. Turning towards the south, however, you have a magnificent view of the Dolomites: from the right, the Rocca dei Baranci, the Tre Scarperi group, the Sasso delle Undici and the snow-covered Croda Rossa di Sesto.
Versciaco, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Rifugio Gallo Cedrone
In front of us, now just a few steps away, is the Gallo Cedrone refuge. We stop to quench our thirst with a tasty raspberry skywasser. Before the lunch break I try to quickly reach the top of Mount Elmo.
So I take the path that starts at the side of the refuge (still CAI trail number 4) and I set off among the meadows here most affected by the heat. The track is always clearly visible and also indicated by wooden stakes. You will soon reach the ridge that goes up towards the top. Here you have a view to the left towards Austria and to the right towards the valley of Sesto. In the central part of the route you can see several boundary stones, and the path that climbs between broken rocks that create an almost high mountain effect climb (without any Phoenician difficulty). At the end of this stretch you come out on an old decaying fort: it is a small border barrack, built in the 1930s and called the "Vallo Alpino", with the aim of defending and looking out over the Italian territory. After the Second World War, it became a NATO defensive resource for possible incursions from the East. In the last period of its life, however, it was used by the Guardia di Finanza until 1989 for customs control. Leaving the barracks you arrive at a saddle which soon heralds the arrival at the summit and the Casa dell'Elmo (Helmhaus) which identifies the summit. This is a former alpine refuge built in the late nineteenth century and which is now awaiting a restoration in order to return to its former glory. From an altitude of 2434 meters the view is spectacular: you can dominate the entire Austrian Pusteria, even the Italian Val Pusteria, the Sesto Valley and the crown of the Dolomites already described above. Noteworthy is the view of the Cima Grande di Lavaredo of the Tre Cime group and the almost unrecognizable summit of Mount Antelao!
For the descent I choose the "direttissima" on the ridge that descends in a southerly direction on the CAI 3A path. A zigzag between the rocks which soon allows you to reach the Traversata Carica road which takes you back to the Gallo Cedrone refuge. Now we finally enjoy a nice lunch based on local cheeses and the special kaiserschmarren with cranberries as a garnish. At the end we get back on the same route as the outward journey to take the gondola again and descend to Versciaco.
An adventure in the Sesto Dolomites that combines the discovery of nature for the little ones with the Olperl nature trail with the panoramic beauties of the Italian-Austrian Pusteria up to the historical aspect of the Elmo peak! An excursion with different stages and with different degrees of difficulty and suitable for all ages!
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.