Sunday, September 13, 2015

Castello di Cergneu

This is a rolling ride along the hills north of Udine, stretching from the Tagliamento at Pinzano to Nimis, not too far from the Slovenian border.   I tried it last April as well, but things went smoother today.  About the only surprises were an art market in the centro of Tricesimo which required walking the bike for a kilometer, a bike race blocking the route at Colloredo, and a flat tire at Maniago.  Not bad.

Near Nimis I visited the ruins of 13th century Cergneu castle.  The restorers have done a lot of work and the site looks very good.  I'l try to come back here via MTB descending from Monteprato: looks like a fun ride. 

Castello di Cergneu

Note the archery slit on the outer wall

Close up of archery slit

Cappella di Maria Madelena below the castle

3 entry arches on front entry of chapel 


This church at Qualso reminds me of Napoleon's tomb

Friday, September 11, 2015

Malga Cuar MTB

I've wanted to climb up here a long time but never got around to it.  I parked in Avesins and took the old road to Cjanet.  Up the switchbacks till the junction with the dirt forestry road to Cuel di Forchia.  This was actually the toughest part of the climb, though I've ridden it before (last year I think).  At Cuel di Forchia you ascend on the paved road awhile till the sign for Malga Cuar.  

This next section is one of the nicer dirt roads I've climbed, smoothly switchbacked for an easy gradient.  After awhile you transition away from the sunny side and head into tall fir forest.  I tried to speed up a little to stay warm.  Eventually it levels out to a grassy road, like an English ride.  Very pleasant.  A few cows were wandering around munching the greenery.  Soon the scenery opens up with views of Alpi Giulia, Lago di Cavazzo, and immediately to the south, Monte Flagjel and Monte Cuar.  You can hike up to the two summits but as far as I know it's unbikeable. 

From Malga Cuar I tried to continue on the road to Malga Flagjel but never found it.  I arrived at some steep downhill concrete ramps and turned around: those will be for another day.  I found a rough turn off heading south and ascended steeply to 1385 meters but the path ended in a vertical drop off.  I'm guessing it was a logging road years ago.

So I headed back down the way I came which was great fun.  There are numerous routes in this area I have barely tapped.  I will be back. 

 View to northwest

The malga

Monte Flagjel grassy northern slopes

View west

Monte Cuar to southeast

Monte San Simeone and Monte Festa above Lago di Cavazzo

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Boscars da Via Guitcillo da Montanar MTB

I drove to Villa di Villa  and MTB'ed up through Sarmede to Montanar.  Here I turned right and went up the insane pendenza of Via Guitcillo da Montanar.  Continued without stopping to end of the road at 850 meters.  Now I began pushing the bike up a heavily-overgrown hunters footpath.  It hasn't been used much lately and I cleared debris out of the way as best I could while keeping the bike from rolling back down the incline.  Finally emerged onto a dirt road at 880 meters.  Out of curiosity I rode right to end of the road and a lovely house.  The occupants must arrive from the north when they visit because every other direction involves bushwacking.

I turned around and headed up a dirt and gravel road to a junction with the strada provinciale from Vittorio Veneto to Il Cansiglio (near Casera Val di Vacca).  Headed downhill briefly until Val Salega (on your left is a place called La Lanterna).  Then you turn right onto a very steep concrete ramp, do the limbo under a barrier and try to restart.  This is even more of a killer than Via Guitcillo da Montanar: I had to stop to breathe several times.  After topping out at 1200 meters at Boscars it drops down to the road connecting La Crosetta with Monte Pizzoc.  I turned toward La Crosetta and then took Strada delle Patriarche down to Villa di Villa.  The top half of this has been recently repaved and is fantastic to ride.

At the car I was happy to see Paul Kim riding by and he stopped to fill me in on some of his touring.  He's been riding to some incredible far-away places, with more to come.   

Great ride.  There are so many dirt roads up here still unexplored- I'll definitely be back soon.   

Monte Pizzoc from end of Via Guitcillo da Montanar

Lovely house at end of Via Guitcillo da Montanar

The lower half

The upper half

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Passo San Antonio

Back to Comelico near Austria this morning to explore this very useful pass: useful because it bypasses the long, narrow, busy tunnel between San Stefano and Auronzo.  Very scenic as well it turns out.

The climb itself is easy but I had a little trouble with the weather; not storms, as you can see it's crystal clear blue.  I expected somewhat cooler temps due to altitude (the forecast predicted 10℃) so I took my pocket-sized wind vest and some arm warmers.  As it turned out it was 3℃, no problem while climbing but freezing when descending.  I think I got a spot of hypothermia: muddled thinking (even more so than usual), and for some reason I was pedaling very hard on the return trip over the pass (via Danta) but could feel nothing and didn't seem to get warmer.  My mind was blank but survival instinct was working like crazy to warm me up. Very peculiar sensation.  I thawed when I arrived at the car  and all was well.  For the rest of the year I'm taking my jacket, leg warmers and balaclava on every ride.     

Cloud cover over Auronzo, seen from above 

Monte Popera west of Padola

Croda dei Longerin

Monte Popera from Padola

Monte Popera from Candide

From Candide looking southeast

Candide from Torrente di Padola bridge

San Nicolo di Comelico

Monte Brentoni from Torrente di Padola bridge

3 or 4℃, not counting wind chill 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Slap Kozjak Hike

Short hike near Kobarid, Slovenia.  We parked just across Napoleon Bridge over River Soča.   The trail is very well maintained, an easy 2 km walk.  Nice views of the river and a smaller waterfall along the route.  At the end is a grotto with higher waterfall tumbling into a pretty blue-green pool.  Very nice place.  Access to the grotto was a bit difficult for some older folks who were visiting: slick-rock steps (no hand holds) though later there was via ferrata-style cable on the rock face to hold on to.  

We were very fortunate and arrived during a brief intermission in the rainfall.  Honey and Teddi had a great time exploring.   If you're in the area well worth a visit. 

20-30 meter waterfall along the trail,
with nice rumble

Slap Kozjak: in person the grotto seemed much darker, with
falls and pool illuminated by sunlight through the natural oculus

Marilyn, Honey and Teddi taking a breather

Suspension footbridge over the Soča from the west

Beautiful Soča River; lots of kayakers
but none passing when I took the foto 

 The trail

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Col Tre Torre MTB

Rode my MTB down to Aviano to get a haircut this morning and didn't have anything else to do so I rode up toward Piancavallo.  At the antenna farm of Castaldia I hung a right and got on the gravel road along Passegiata delle Malghe, up past Casera Valfredda to the hill with 3 antenna towers (1515 meters), which I see everyday out my back window.  Very fun ride and not as rough a road as I expected.  

Coming down I turned at Rifugio Bornass and coasted down the back way.  Alternatively there are some trails down to Marsure I might try riding someday: Sentiero Viath Luonc (from Valfredda) and Sentiero Costa Longa (from Forcella di Giais).  Look pretty tough.

Note: my 5-year old Garmin Edge 500 has been a little gimpy lately so I took along a new GPS, Garmin Oregon 600.  Worked well but I need to learn more about it, it's more complicated.    

Looking back at Candaglia

Casera del Barzan

Casera Valfredda.  Monte Cavallo group in background

From Col Tre Torre: Monte Ressetum on the horizon

Pala Fontana 1637 meters

Southern-most tower, I always see it from the back window

Middle tower, also visible from our house

Grassy meadows northwest of Forcella di Giais 

3rd tower a bit north, don't recall seeing it before

To the right of Pala Fontana is Forcella di Giais

The round-top peak on the right is Monte Ciastelat