UP HIGH WITH JUST SILENCE FOR COMPANY
Even in September and October, there is no shortage of opportunities to appreciate the mountains at their purest as they reclaim the sounds and the silence of nature, under clear skies and surrounded by the vivid hues of the rocks at sunrise and sunset.
A mountain that reclaims silence. Silence that shrouds valleys, mountain passes and cliff faces, interrupted by nothing but the whistle of a marmot or the cry of an animal, the rustling of the wind, and the rushing of water between the rocks. Silence that keeps us company as we contemplate a sunset or sunrise from the terrace of an alpine cabin, and as we walk the trails in the early hours, invigorated by the crisp air of a new day as the bold colour contrasts awaken us.
An experience full of wonder available at the numerous alpine cabins that are staying open for longer this autumn, which are as late as the end of October in some cases. Some are more accessible and easier to get to with handy lifts nearby, while others are a destination in themselves, following a full day of trekking at altitude or via ferrata. With precautions in place to guarantee social distancing and safety, spending a night (or several) in an alpine cabin, at the foot of the mountain faces of the Trentino Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a truly special experience. The powerful feeling of detachment from the hectic pace of everyday life; the spontaneous evening conversations with the manager or the other guests; the spectacle of the sunrise or the sunset: unique memories and feelings are guaranteed in this Alpine microcosm.
There's nothing more satisfying than being welcomed into an alpine cabin for a hearty meal giving you all the energy you need to get back on the trail. This is the idea behind 'I Rifugi del Gusto', which returns to a dozen alpine cabins in Val di Fassa from 19 September to 4 October. The shelters taking part in the initiative are: Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada a Passo Fedaia, Rifugio Pian dei Fiacconi, Rifugio Friedrich August, Rifugio Sasso Piatto, Rifugio Roda di Vael, Rifugio Stella Alpina Spiz Piaz and Rifugio Vajolet, Rifugio Antermoia, Baita Cuz and Rifugio Fuciade.
In the Adamello Group, those looking to appreciate the variety of autumnal colours can set out for the following shelters: San Giuliano above Caderzone (open until 4 October and on subsequent weekends until 3 November), Trivena in Val Breguzzo (until 4 October), and Val di Fumo (open until mid-October).
In the Brenta Dolomites, from Madonna di Campiglio, you can reach the Casinei refuge (open until the beginning of October), with the option of taking a route that skirts the spectacular Cascate Alte (High Waterfalls) of Vallesinella. On the Val d'Ambièz side, you can find the Cacciatore, which is open at weekends after 20 September; above Molveno you can visit the Croz dell'Altissimo and La Montanara shelters until 11 October (the latter is also open at weekends until 1 November).
The main cabins in the Pale di San Martino – Rosetta and Velo della Madonna – will also be open until the first few weekends of October, as will the Canali - Treviso Rifugio (until 11 October).
The Lagorai Group is the ideal destination to immerse yourself in the silence and colours of autumn, reflected in the waters of the small mountain lakes: walk through sprawling larch forests that come alive with shades of yellow and ochre, with nothing but the sound of the wind and your own breath for company. At the heart of the group, the Cima d'Asta Ottone Brentari cabin is open until 27 September, while on the Valsugana side, the Sette Selle e Serot cabin is open until 30 September and then on the following weekends in October.
Adamello, to the lakes of San Giuliano – Val Rendena
This route takes in two spectacular Alpine lakes, San Giuliano and Garzonè, right at the foot of the Presanella peak. It starts from Caderzone Terme, taking the road that climbs to the car park before Malga Campo. Once you reach the lakes, you can stay over at the cosy San Giuliano cabin and visit the small church/sanctuary on the shore. To get back, we recommend continuing to Bocchetta dell'Acqua Fredda and then descending towards Lago di Vacarsa, Malga Campostril, before returning to the car park.
Brenta Dolomites, to Arca di Fraporte – Valli Giudicarie
In the southern sector of the Brenta Group, the route winds through the woods of Val di Laone and arrives at Arca di Fraporte, a vast natural rock arch. Starting from Stenico, climb the shaded Val di Laone, skirting the stream up to the imposing rock arch. Returning to the last crossroads, continue on path 346B until it meets path 346. From here, you can return directly to Stenico or continue on the old mule track to Malga Plaz; from there, path 347 takes you back to Stenico.
Catinaccio, Antermoia Walk – Val di Fassa
This route starts from the Gardeccia valley, which can be reached in 40 minutes from Ciampedie, accessible via cable car from Vigo di Fassa. From Ciampedie, go on to the Preuss and Vajolet cabins. Continue, passing the Passo Principe shelter. Ascend to the Passo di Antermoia before descending to the lake, a sheet of turquoise water in the heart of the Fassa Dolomites, and then to the Antermoia cabin. From Passo Dona, descend to Val Duròn and then to Campitello di Fassa. This is a demanding route due to its length, but it can be broken up with an overnight stay at the Antermoia cabin or the Passo Principe cabin (the starting point for the Catinaccio di Antermoia via ferrata).
Pale di San Martino, Val Canali – Primiero
This route runs through one of the best-known valleys in the Pale di San Martino. From the village of Sabionade near the Cant del Gal cabin, take the road at the bottom of the valley to the cabin of the same name, then take the forest road to Pian delle Lede. Climb through the woods in the shade of the beech trees to reach the Treviso cabin at the foot of the Sass d'Ortiga and Pala del Rifugio peaks in the southern sector of the Dolomite Group. For the return journey, follow SAT path no. 718, which is higher and more scenic. You then reach the village of Campigòl, where you join the Troi dei Todeschi path, which takes you back to the trail you followed on the outward journey and thus to the starting point.