CONC Members Hike Italy’s Dolomites

By Shari Hogshead

Sometimes thoughts turn to summer on these snowy winter days, which makes me look back fondly on last summer’s CONC easy hiking trip to the Italian Dolomites.  Our group of 16 club members spent nearly three weeks visiting three uniquely different sections of the northern Dolomiti.

After spending a night in Munich, we were transported to Castelrotto, a charming village just below the Seiser Alm/Alpe di Suisi, the largest alpine grazing area in Europe.  Each day, we hiked the alpine pastures to high-altitude huts, where we enjoyed warm lunches and hot/cold beverages.  On our return each day to our village, we took advantage of special events, such as a strudel 

fest and concerts in the town square.  One day we took the local  bus to Bolzano to check out Oetzi, the 5,300-year-old ice man, now lodged in the impressive Archeological Museum of the South Tyrol.

Our next week found us in the Pustertal/Val Pusteria, the most northerly valley in the Dolomites, situated very close to the Austrian border.  Again, our hotel was well located and family owned/operated.  We enjoyed bountiful breakfast buffets and multi-course evening meals.  Our hikes took us to the famous Drei Zinnen/Tre Cime di Lavardo, passing the Lavaredo hut on the way to lunch at the Drei Zinnen Hutte/Rifugio Locatelli.  One day was spent on top of Monte Piana, site of vicious fighting on the Austrian/Italian line in World War I.  Views were 360

degrees as we followed the sinuous trenches from those extremely cold war years.  We visited the winter Olympic village of Cortina, attended a concert in the village bandshell, and enjoyed a Mahler concert in the Dobbiaco Grand Hotel. Riding lifts to assist our hikes, we found refreshment and delicious lunches at numerous mountain refuges.

Our final five nights were spent in Selva/Wolkenstein in the upper reaches of the Val Gardena.  Again, we dined and slept in splendor in a family owned/operated establishment and accessed our mountain hikes by funicular railway, cable car, gondola and chairlift (all of which were included in our trip cost). Our mid-day hut visits were in spectacular locations and we spent one day 

hiking with friends from Bolzano who came up to meet us for a day in the mountains.  Our hikes took us in every direction from our home village of Selva, so we really enjoyed a 360-degree view of the mountains surrounding the beautiful Val Gardena.

All too soon it was time to return to Munich for our final dinner together and our flights home.  It was a great time spent with our CONC friends in another fantastic mountain area.

                                  (Photos by Shari Hogshead)