Sunday, May 24, 2015

Villa Varda

Watching the giro ride along the Piave to Jesolo Friday, I realized I've neglected this whole southwest quadrant.  A piece of the pie is missing, from Caorle to Il Montello.  The rain finally stopped today so I set out to remedy this oversight.  I rode down through Porcia and Brugnera to Villa Varda, a lovely forested estate on the bank of Fiume Livenza.  From there I continued down to Oderzo and Ponte del Piave, where I looked for the bridge without success.  I knew San Dona was on the other side of the river, so I rode as far south as Noventa, then gave up and turned back.  As I retraced my route through Ponte de Piave I found the bridge, on the road headed west toward Treviso.  The Piave meanders and loops around so much the roads don't bother following it.  Nice flat ride, which I may use again to reach Eraclea soon if the weather holds up. 

Villa Varda: the big house in the distance

This structure to the east may be a guest house or servants quarters

Nice shady lane for hot summer days

The Livenza at Brugnera, looping east

Here it is again looping northwest

Monday, May 18, 2015

Casera Palantina - Valle Friz MTB

Last Fall I tried to reach Casera Palantina from Pian Rosada via a couple of MTB trails.  Each  ended in a steep climb up the mountainside and I couldn't continue.  So today I tried again; started riding from La Crosetta to Col Indes/Pian delle Lastre in southeast Alpago.  Here I turned off of the pavement onto a very good MTB trail, CAI 923.  Some of the steeper parts I had to walk up, but it's bikeable.  Then at 1400 meters there is a branch to the right that was mostly unrideable to me.  It takes you to Casera Palatina, ruins of a cheese maker's stone house at 1508 meters.  The casera is surrounded on north and east by some of the tall peaks of Cavallo Gruppo. 

From Casera Palantina I joined CAI 993 headed south.  I wanted to see if I could reach Valle Friz by bike.  The answer is No: you can hike it, but a bike is merely a 15 kg albatross around your neck.  Most of the time you can roll it over the rocks but in many instances you end up carrying it, in a few cases up very steep rough trail.  I was beginning to have my doubts, but I decided to keep trying.  At Antro delle Lamate you reach an area of caves.  I didn't explore them but I've seen some pics and they seem pretty big.  I believe they were used as human shelter in millennia past.

Finally I got on CAI 984 which was headed for Valle Friz.  Still too boulder-strewn to ride but there were a few stretches of grass I was able to coast for a few meters.  Around a bend I spotted Casera Valle Friz and the road to Candaglia.  This was great fun after the long push/carry, especially the glorious dirt road from Candaglia to La Crosetta.  I drove home and conked out from the exertion.  Next time I will try hiking from Valle Friz to Casera Palantina and back.  Maybe into Antro delle Lamate?  

Start of trail 923; like the bambi-esque fawn

Here you turn right off of 923 onto T 7

Casera Palantina with Cima delle Vacche
Palantina with Cimon di Cavallo

Join CAI 993 here

The karst strewn slopes

Beautiful wildflowers

Bees' eye-view of the flowers

View northwest of Lago di Santa Croce

View west of Il Cansiglio

Antro delle Lamate cave
Close up of cave opening

Another cave nearby

CAI 984, the trail to Valle Friz

Excelsior!  Casera Valle Friz and the road to Candaglia!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Monte Ciastelat Hike

From my back window Pala Fontana (1637 meters) dominates the view.  You can even see it as far south as the Adriatico shore.  If instead you approach from the north there is a tree-covered altopiano with huge outcroppings of karst stone dominating the scene.  The highest point, less than a km northeast of Pala Fontana, is Monte Ciastelat (1641 meters).  Today I hiked there from the trailhead at Pian delle More (1193 meters).  It's an easy hike with fantastic views.  Along the way you pass through an area of ancient pastures with piled-rock walls.  Also there are ruins of an old stone casera (cheese maker).  The summit of Monte Ciastelat is a rocky outcropping, but not difficult to scramble up.  From the top a 360 degree panorama from Adriatico to Alpe awaits.  Definitely try it if you're in the area.   

After climbing from Pian delle More,
begin the trail to Monte Ciastelat here 

Rocky pastures below north side of Pala Fontana

Ruins of cheese maker's hut

Ruderi casera

Ruderi casera

Looking through the entrance of the cheese maker's hut ruins

Piled-rock walls kept sheep from wandering away

Piled-rock walls

Monte Ciastelat summit

Almost there: now you must scale these rocks

From the summit: looking east toward Slovenia

Monte Raut and the southeast end of Monte Ressetum 

 Monte Ressetum wall east of Valcellina

Taller peaks to the north

Panning north northwest

Monte Cavallo Gruppo (Piancavallo area far left)

North side of Pala Fontana showing microwave reflector (from the south
only the side view is visible: looks like a short tower)  

Zoom in on tall peaks to north (need to look them up in peakfinder)
I think the town is Cimolais

Panned to north northwest

Must go explore these huge karst formations; may be easier to reach
from Monterale Valcellina Osservatorio Astronomico

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cargo Trailer

I've wanted to carry heavier, bulkier items on the bike sometimes but never could figure out how.  A dedicated cargo bike is too expensive and racks, panniers seemed overly complicated to mount and load.  Then I saw a little trailer in an article and knew that's just what I needed.  Ordered a Burley Travoy from a place in Germany and today I took it on a test ride, with 40 pounds of wet laundry to the laundromat.  Worked great, hit 52 kph on the hill down to Marsure and took all the bumps and potholes fine.  Coming back even with the clothes lightened of water I could feel the extra weight but not bad, just used one cog bigger than normal.  Looks like it'll work for groceries and maybe some camping too.  We'll see.        

Folds up to fit in train or airline overhead storage

Pala Fontana from laundromat

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Monte Dolada

Challenging climb as always.  I made it up without stopping to rest but paid the price:  I was in limp-home mode for the final two and a half hours.  I will build up my strength and endurance and do this again, riding home normally next time.

It was very cloudy so this was all I could see to shoot;
this is the Italian version of Spanish Moss

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sella Chiampon

Finally cleared up so I headed for the hills.  I rode to Pinzano and then climbed to Anduins and the road through Val Arzino,  one of the most beautiful and uncrowded places I've ever been.  After Pielungo and San Francesco I began the climb toward Sella Chianzutan.  I thought I would continue to the top, but surprisingly the turn-off through Val Preone and Sella Chiampon was open.  Last year a huge avalanche had closed the road but now it was good as new.  I enjoyed the views, then headed down through the town of Preone to Socchieve.  Here I headed west on the main road toward Ampezzo, turning left just after Mediis toward Priuso.  Pretty good 200 meter climb here, which you immediately give back when you descend to the Tagliamento bridge.  Now the real climb starts, up the north side of Passo Monte Rest: 5.6 km averaging 8.8%, with a ramp of 14.6.  After that down to Tramonti, Meduno, Maniago and home.  Fun ride!

Looking down through beautiful Val Arzino

Close up of mountains further down the valley.

Pozzis along the Arzino

Sella Chiampon meadows (sorry about the thumb)

Sella Chianzutan peaks seen from Sella Chiampon

Peaks from another angle

The notch is Sella Chiampon (seen from Socchieve)

Waterfall at the start of climb up north side of Passo Monte Rest

Climb stats up north side of Passo Monte Rest