The story continues...
Wednesday, 5 July, 2017. (Rifugio Puez to Rifugio Pisciadu; Stage 4)
Cock-a- doodle-do…NOPE…Baaahhhhhhh! This was the first time I was ever awaken by a flock of sheep, which was entirely too early. After no longer being able to pretend to sleep, I rolled downstairs with Deb for a solid breakfast. As I’ve previously mentioned, I could eat salted meats, cheese and bread (aka prime sandwich ingredients) pretty much every meal. Top it off with Italian coffee for the win.
Deb and I hopped back on the Alta Via 2 at 8:15am and the 1st half of Stage 4 was pretty mellow. It was also super crowded as you could park by Jimmy's Hutte and hike in that way. We made it Forcella di Ciampai pretty quickly that morning and didn’t take too long of a rest to beat some of the crowds we saw coming in. The section was very beautiful and the rock formations looked prime for climbing. Once we made it to Passo Gardena, we stopped at Jimmy’s Hutte to relax for a bit. Looking for something refreshing, I perused the menu and ended up ordering Fruit Tea, which although it is served hot, is actually quite refreshing in hot weather. This is where my addiction started.
The road coming up the valley was extremely nice and well taken care of. This provided a playground for a multitude of spandex clad road bikers, motorcyclists, and sports car drivers to race up and down the winding turns. We saw a parade of red Audi R7’s in racing formation cruising up the road which caught our attention.
The 2nd half of Stage 4 was on Trail 666, which was a little brutal. Bottom line, this section up Val Setus was just STEEP, and steep for a long time. The cable section was cool at the top. This was the only time we hiked across snow and it was for 10 feet. Before making a right to head up Val Setus, there is an option for Via Ferrata. If I knew more about this ahead of time, I might of elected to take this route up to Refugio Pisciadu as opposed to the direct trail route, so keep that in mind.
After a couple hours or so from Passo Gardena, we made it to Refugio Pisciadu, which was quite a picturesque spot. The rifugio sits on a crystal clear alpine lake that feeds a nearby waterfall. In typical post hike fashion, Deb and I posted up on the patio and had a Franziskaner Heff that hit the spot along with cheese, salami, bread, and pickles for a snack.
Rifugio Pisciadu was very spacious with all around good food and amenities. Deb and I were one of the first people to arrive for the day so we got a prime spot in the bunk room by the window (love those views). After talking to rifugio staff, there was a portion of the via ferrata that we could do that was not too far away and hiked by the waterfall. I had never done one before and was pretty psyched to check it out. Despite having a bit of a suspect safety setup, it got the job done and I safely navigated the route. The bridge between pillars was a highlight and had a really cool slot view of the town in the valley below.
Right before dinner that evening, a thunderstorm was building in the distance and it rolled right by us in a neighboring valley. It was cool to watch the lightening and towering clouds develop. After the worst of the storm was over, a rainbow came out, which seemed to be a regular thing judging by the pictures on the wall of the refugio.
Anywhere with wine on tap is Cool, especially decent wine for a reasonable price. Looking back, I have to give a shoutout to the folks that run Refugio Pisciadu as they were great. Even with some of the staff not speaking much English, all of the were super happy to help with anything. Hi-5!
Joing us next time for part IV of John & Deb's adventure!
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