For some years now, as the summer season approaches, I wait for the release of the annual program of the Sounds of the Dolomites, and I am regularly disappointed because the events are generally too far away or on the weekend: impossible to take a day off!
Imagine then what a pleasant surprise when, flipping through the 2017 event program, I see not only an event close to me but also midweek. Rifugio Pedrotti, I will see you again after all these years!
A few days before the event day we begin to organize the expedition, and to avoid overcrowded trails and baking under the midday sun, five of us decide to make our ascent early the day before, and to stop for the night just above the old Rifugio Massodi, about 400 meters and a forty-five minutes hike below Rifugio Pedrotti.
After reaching the “laghetti” (or “ponds”), we follow the trail of the narrow mountain road built to pull the test cable of the cableway meant to connect Campiglio with Molveno, a cable now rusting away half-covered by rocks and grass, and we set up the tents in a green valley. Above our heads, the Daino ridge is impressive. Two chamois watch us work from afar, then zig-zag farther up the rocky side of the mountain.
We can see the last rays of sunshine painting the highest peaks deep red, and create light games with the mist that creeps between them; from this close, it’s a show. Around us, silence is broken only by a light gust. We light up the camping stove and start cooking dinner. Ready-to-eat Risotto. At 2100 meters. Must have been the hunger, or the wine that somebody decided to bring, because it tasted good!
From below, in the night, we can glimpse the lights of the Rifugio shining far above us. We enjoy the night sky spectacle, but soon fatigue and a full stomach take their toll, and we retire to our tents for the night, warm in our sleeping bags.
Despite the rugged terrain, we get to sleep more or less, and the night goes by fast. We obviously get up to see the dawn just before six a.m, and the show is well worth the lost hour of rest. Behind us, as we look at the mountains waiting for the enrosadira, the sun slowly rises above the horizon, and then hits the peaks and gives us this show.
Sitting or standing, we let the sun do its job while sipping a hot coffee, courtesy of our trusty camping stove and the good soul who thought of bringing a moka (thanks Fil & Tiz!). As the sun keeps rising higher and illuminates the rocks and meadows around us, we start dismounting the tents and then getting some serious breakfast ready.
It’s almost seven o’clock, and we have a few hours before we have to face the last stretch of the climb to the Rifugio, so we decide to go on a small excursion: walking a narrow trail across a scree, in about half an hour we reach mount Cresole, with its green meadows and spectacular views over Molveno and the lake. We are fortunate enough to see chamois and roe deers calmly grazing, but unfortunately they keep their distance.
As we approach mid-morning, we return to the campsite, shoulder our backpacks and wait for some friends who are on the trail. Together we tackle the last stretch of the ascent, the most deceptive. The hut is in full sight all the time, and looking up it seems to be always “almost there”. Fortunately, the trail rises steadily hugging the mountain and we gain altitude fast.
When one finally reaches the rock flats in front of the Rifugio, the satisfaction is palpable, measurable almost by the slight pulsing of the leg muscles and the sweat drops that pearl the forehead. The view is magnificent: semi-hidden behind the shelter, the Brenta pass; In the front the Croz del Rifugio, a rock crest jutting up a hundred meters or more, stands against the sky. Below us the valley and the trail we just walked. I would say we earned a beer, and we have time before the concert!
Rested and refreshed, we walk a few hundred meters to a natural amphitheater, and take seats on the slopes. A few minutes, and the first notes begin to resonate among the peaks of the Brenta Group. The violin of Carmignola accompanies the lute of Jadran Duncumb, and we let ourselves be charmed by the music and the panoramas. Sun, blue sky, green meadows broken by white rocks, and music; You could not ask for a better way to spend a day in August!
As with all days, this also has to end. We decide to propitiate the departure with another refreshing beer, and then we begin the descent. Step by step, we trace the trail that takes us back to Rifugio Massodi, then to Selvata (where there is a compulsory additional beer stop), and finally to the Croz Refuge where our group splits. Some continue for Pradel and then Andalo, and two of us go to Molveno, and then home.
Tired, but happy about the day’s experience, we plan our next excursion as we head home.