After a long hiatus of solo-travelling I finally took the opportunity to take one week off and spend time in the Dolomites
This trip will somehow always be linked to the missed opportunity to lead my first photography workshop. But the disappointment over the cancelled workshop was quickly given away for the anticipation of a solo hiking and photography trip to the Dolomites.
A plan was quickly been made. I would do the nightdrive to the first location looking forward to a a calm sunrise. After that I would drive to my "basecamp" in Cimolais. It's my father hometown village and I have the opportunity to stay in an old house that belongs to my family. It's right in the heart of the national park in Friaul. In the meantime I knwo this Area quite well. I've spend my childhood vacations there and I had been there during my adult time a few times. Famous locations like the Tre Cime, Lago Federa and Lago Sorapis are just about 1 1/2 hours away and the region around Cimolais offers its own scenic gems.
This trip was not supposed to be a lazy photography trip where I drive right next to the scene in the afternoon. It was supposed to be an adventure. And it was. I slept two days in my car, one time in a Biwac and one time in a tent. Only three times I slept in a bed.
I hiked several thousand altimeters, carried a 12 kg backpack and all of that with a torn meniscus as it turned out later.
In addittion and that is the most gratifying thing about this trip. I did it despite two back surgeries, a knee surgery, and nerv damage in my spine.
There was a time where I rightfully doubted that I was ever being able to do such trip with a heavy back pack or sleeping in a tent or car. It took some time and some har work help from physiotherapist as well as mental help from family and my partner. But in the end it all payed off.
At my age and at this point in my personal and professinal everyday life it s not easy to feel nothing but happy at times. I guess there a more and more people out there that can relate to this. You are feelilng good and you feel thankful for what you have but the time where you can basically cry out of joy are rare to say the least.
There is something about the moment where you are about to rech the top of a noubtain. After an exhausting climb and the photo location at sight there is this moment where you let losse. Thia happened to me only two times over the last 3 years. At the top of the Lago Sorapis and the Campanile di val montanaia. I've seen even more beautiful places and I've witnessed moments with my family where I was filles with proud and happyness but I think it needs that physical effort to feel what I felt on these two occasions. It literally brought me to tears.
After a 10 hour drive and two hours of sleep I was almost late for the sunrise at the Passo Giau. I chose that location first as it was on my way to Cimolais. On my last trip gother with my old freinds we chose the Lago di Braies as our first location. We also arrived in morning and we also had beautiful conditions. but the ain difference between those two places are that I was all on my own on the top of the Passo Giau. I remeber two see these wieird scene of women in wedding dresses, hipster in pochos and all posing for their selfie at 5:30 in the morning.
At the Passo Giau was no distraction at all. Juts me and this beuatiful scnerey. And there were more views that I could handle at first. On top of the pass you'll have a 360° view on the the most beuatiful peaks of the Dolomites. Nuvolau, Averau, Marmolada, Tofane, Cristallo ...
And damn I was one lucky bastard. I was witness of the most beuatiful sunrise panorama to the east, I had beautiful sidelight on the Passo Giau, Alpenglow on the peaks in the west and even some pink clouds over the peaks in the south. Despite two hours of sleep in the car I couldn' ask for a better start into my jtrip. I spens about 1 1/" hours at the location also scouting for other possible comspositions and looking for wildflowers that would make a nice foreground. BUt by the middle of May and at this altitude the hills are still covered in snow. I havenb't planned this far yet but 6 days later I would return to this exact location and this time the snow was melted and suddenly there were the most beuatiful wildflowers to be seen.
But for this morning I called it quit and tool the drive downhill to Cimolais. Even the times I drive in this region gives me goosebumos verytime. You'll drive though valleys filled with morning mist and rays of sunlight. tiny and beautuful mountain villages and lots of churches. In fact no matter how small an Itlian village might be you can be sure it has a church at first and a lawn soccer field.
I arrived at about 8:30 a.m. in Cimolais. for me Enetering that village is like going through a dorr that leads you back to your childhood memories and takes to a place where verything is seems simple. And I kept it simple.
Right in front of our home recetly opened an Alimentari. It's the smallest kind of supermarket imaginable. Mostly local food with some essentials that everyone needs. I bought a salami, a selfmade butter and cheese and some panino. It does not take more to make me happy.
After breakfast I toll a shower (even living simple has limitations) and a nap. I wan't planing on goiung to anothe rlocaion zat day but I was feeling so full of neergy that hit the road again for a 1 1/2 hour drive to the Lago di kiszrina (first stop) and then to hike up to the tre Cime and the Cadini di musirina. Here I faced the first and only disapointment . The pass up to Tre Cime and Cadini di Misurina was closed for cars. That menat that I would hike up additinal 6 KM and hunderds of altitude meters with a torn meniscus. Not to emntion that wwould be to late for sunset. Si I made the descision to ^commit to a whole new location. The Lago D'antono is inbetween the Lago di misurina and the tre cime. If you are lucky and it is windstill you'll get a nice reflecion of the south side of the tre Cime in the lake. It was a waiting game but after 2 hours a I got the conditions I needed. Most of the light on the lake was gone, but the sky was full of drama and the peaks of tre cime were reflected by a little pond beside the lake. On my way back also managed to get a descent shot of the lagio di misurina. Although this might be a better sunrise location. With the Tre Cime and Cadinin di misurina beign canlled for this trip as the pass would be opening up in June earliset I could concentrate on the locations I haven't been to before. And it gives something to look forward. There has to be a next trip and it will be including the tripple peaks in the dolomites.
I took the sceond morng of and spend the night in bed. The wetaherforcast was better than expected so I decided to go for my most anticipated hike and photo location of the whole trip. The Campanile di val montanaia is well known to me as it was part of my childhood ever since and I've been sveeral times up to the Belverdere di Cadini di misurina but never to the peak itself. It takes a 30 minute drive right into the heart of the nationla park. After 5 minutes into the parl there was no cellphone service avaialbale anymore. For the next 24 hours I was gone. Damn that felt good. The hike starrts a the refugio prdenone. After that you'll walk straight upwards for the next 2-3 hours and you will leave behind neraly a 1000 altitude meters. There was fresh water aalong the way so don-#t hat bring too much water with me. But my backpack was heavy enough. About 12 KG of Clothes, camera equipment, Food, and camping stuff. I planned to stay overnight because I knew of a Biwak that was available at the top.