Today we left the house at 10 a.m. for a “quick” run in the alpine mountains north of town, the Austrian side. We wanted to do a loop we’ve had our eye on since last fall and sunny skies motivated us to finally go.
We love days like today – our days, for personal fun, sandwiched between big shoot days which came yesterday and continue tomorrow and through the weekend.
On our drive to our spot, we stopped in a neighboring village for a slice of pizza and tasty baked good from the panificio, and there, sat outside on a bench in the sun to enjoy being temporarily on holiday.
Finally, at the trailhead, we started up, and up and up. We knew the climb would be big, but this was huge. Suddenly we were in a massive cirque surrounded by waterfalls and seemingly impassable walls all around. The ever present Euro livestock was there to greet us, this time in the form of sheep with the longest, biggest ears we have ever seen. This would be the only other life we would see today. Anyone who says Europe’s mountains are too crowded has not been to the Val Aurina.
Our trail climbed through talus and traversed rock bands, finally depositing us in a narrow pass at 2700 meters. This was the beginning of our descent down the other side and a parallel valley. But first, we decided we had to summit a peak on the crest that is the border of Italy and Austria, we have never seen the north side of this range but know it is glacier covered. An hour later we were on top of the Corno looking down to a very different world to the north – massive glaciers riddled with crevasses and seracs, beautiful. Here we noticed our blue skies were turning less than friendly, time to rush down pre-downpour.
Sure enough, 20 minutes later, the torrents started. We had 1300 meters to drop before a Malga, a small hut. By the time we arrived we were semi frozen, knees aching from the descent and quite hungry. We had already climbed 1800 meters and dropped 1300 in the freezing cold. Inside we were greeted with a menu full of loveliness. There, today, I ate the best panino of my life, one that I will remember for many years.
Janine somehow convinced me to not order a second panino so we could get going, our quick run had turned into a 7 hour affair. With quite some work still before the car, we began thinking about how this day, this example, is one of countless for us. We are so fortunate to be able to spend our time, each and everyday, having experiences like this. Our work days are much the same, out all day in the mountains, in beautiful places, doing what we love. Then off days, out all day in the mountains… doing what we love.