Beauty in the Italian Dolomites
Life in the Austin and San Antonio area has its own special feeling. However, the full-of-life and young-at-heart lifestyle of Cortina is deeply engaging in its own way. When a town has this much environmental beauty, with a potential for year-round outdoor activity, it just seems to promote a love of a lifestyle of health and fitness. I have traveled there many times between 2013 and 2019 for hiking and photoshoots and it is one of those locations that will keep drawing you back for more.
Hikers of all ages are seen on the mountain. I am constantly impressed with the fitness and love of things outdoors in Europe and the UK. I a just as likely to be on a mountain trail at 2000 meters with a young child and their parents, or to be passed going up hill by a group of septuagenarian and octogenarians.
On The Trail in Italy by Von Trapp Photography 2013.Trail leading to Mt. Lagazuoi constructed during WWI. Visible is the marking of the Austrian flag to show the front line of troops. Hikers of all ages were seen making the ascent.
The Austrian flag was painted on the rocks to mark the front line of troops durning WWI. This aided in navigation in the snow. Today, it marks the hiking trails for countless enthusiasts. This incredible section of the Alps is a must see, and perhaps hike for those so inclined.
For the even more adventurous, try the Via ferrata. A series of high climbing routes that have you in a harness and connected to a cable, whilst you traverse across narrow paths and climb ladders. Each of which were created by the soldiers who waged war here during WWI. It is humbling to think that they traversed these trails, carrying huge loads, even moved cannon in the snow. Everything to exist and fight was packed in be man and beast.
At the top--looking at the next goal in the distance.
A Girls Outing by Von Trapp Photography 2013.This group of seven women was photographed having lunch after returning from the summit of Mt. Lagazuoi just above. This spot sheltered from the wind made for a beautiful rest spot.
My above image, although somewhat remarkable to me for what, who, and where it was taken and for who was in it, is just another sunny day in the Dolomites. A lunch upon the mountain after a couple of hours of hiking, and a lovely ladies day out.
Throughout Europe one will normally find on the summit of most mountains a large cross, most often made of wood, and a box with a hiker's/climber's logbook for you to sign. In the image above such a cross can be seen in the distance.
A Great Spot for Lunch by Von Trapp Photography 2013.<span class="large">Atop Mt. Lagazuoi after a day of hiking and photographing, this spot at the rifugio (mountain refuge) was perfect for a beer and pommes. </span>
Perhaps the most special aspect for me of mountain hiking in Europe is the likelihood of making a hike/climb and finding a Refugio (mountain hut in Italian) where you can have a snack and a great local beer. Such as these fries...with mayonnaise of course, or a more substantial meal. In Austria, Germany and Switzerland it is called a Hütte. And in France it is called a chalet de montagne or cabane de montagne.
Many of the, often humble--but sometimes more fancy, mountain huts have a small number of rooms or hostel bunks available for a night's stay.