Alta Via Day 2 – Lavarella to Scoiattoli

Day 2 started with a short climb out of the valley past Lago di Limo which had magnificent reflections in the calm morning air.

rifugio #1
Leaving our first rifgio

After passing a closed rifugio (Utia Gran Fanes) where we were hoping to buy a snack we pushed on and were rewarded with stunning views of a crystal clear pond.

pond reflection

After a short gentle descent we hit a trail junction and began a steep ascent to Forcela di Lech. It was hot but windy at the pass and we struggled to see how the trail descended to Lago di Lagazuoi nearly 1000 ft below us. After eating our giant ‘bucket’ lunch from the rifugio we made our way down.

giant bucket lunch
Giant sandwiches!

The trail hugs a narrow gulch and descends via huge steps and short steep switchbacks. It was hot and sunny as we were exposed above treeline. After the steep hot descent we made a quick detour to soak our feet in the lake (Lago di Lagazuoi).

Lago di Lagazuoi

The trail hugs a narrow gulch and descends via huge steps and short steep switchbacks. It was hot and sunny as we were exposed above treeline. After the steep hot descent we made a quick detour to soak our feet in the lake (Lago di Lagazuoi).

The lake was freezing but it was a huge boost to soak our feet in cold water for a few minutes. With a long hike still ahead of us we hit the trail for the long climb up to rifugio Lagazuoi. The climb was long, without shade, and under the afternoon sun. We were both happy to have wide brim sun hats to provide some relief. It’s a 2000 ft climb up to the top.

Dolomites landscape
rocky Dolomites landscape

Just when we thought we were getting close to the end and the rifugio was in sight you’re greeted by a set of endless switchbacks to reach the cable car. Along the way you’re treated to a small WWI history lesson as the Austrians and Italians waged a bitter war over this area. The area is strewn with rock walls, bunkers, and caves built for the troops.

As time was getting late we rushed to get on the next tram and didn’t get to spend much time admiring the view from the top. We refilled water at the bottom of the tram and hurried on in an attempt to catch the last chairlift of the day to rifugio Sciattolo. After a quick 2 miles of hauling butt we made it to the bottom of the lift. We were a bit crushed to see the lift had closed and we were staring at another 1200 feet of climbing up the hill to reach our rifugio and dinner.

Alta Via Trail signs

It was a brutal climb straight up the mountain following the chairlift, with giant steps. We were exhausted by the time we reached the rifugio around sunset. However our mood brightened considerably after a hot shower and realizing this night we would have a private room :).

The location for rifugio Scoiattoli is outstanding. Before dinner we were treated to 360 degree views of the Dolomites with a picture perfect mountain sunset. The rifugio is walking distance to the Cinque Torri (5 towers) an eye-catching rock formation of granite towers.

Dolomites sunset

We sat down to an exquistite Italian meal with the best lasagna I’ve ever had and chocolate cake for dessert. We hiked a lot, we ate well, and we slept like logs.

dinner - day 2, Alta Via Trail
chocolate cake
Best chocolate cake

Distance: 11 miles
Elevation Gain: 5300 feet gain

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sunset lake view

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