Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dolomite Mountain Hike

**mumbles** Darn ladies conspiring against me...

Ok, so I'm a man of my word and I'm back again to post the second set of pictures from Italy. Christy is having a field day pointing out that there were 15 posts without her actually commenting. Bahh!

The entire little town/village of Aviano, Italy sits in grandeur of the Dolomite Mountains, very picturesque. There was a small, but brave, group (+me) that decided to go hiking up in the mountains to see a crater lake. Much to our chagrin though the weather decided to not cooperate with us and it rained most of the day. However, I said we were brave, not smart, so we went hiking anyways ;-P...take that mother nature! In some cases though, I'm glad the weather was like it was since we didn't really get hot and the clouds sitting on the mountains made for some really nice scenery.

Here's a picture that was taken on the way to the mountains. You can see the clouds literally rolling off the mountain side. Yes...I said side. What you see is only about half of the mountain height and this is the smallest one, there is one right behind this one that is easily up in the 6-8K' range...since it still had snow on it. I was driving a stick shift mini-van up the, I didn't take the pictures while driving...yes, hijinks still ensued...yes, the van ended up getting scratched (only a little though).

Here's the crater lake (or so I'm told) that's about half way up the mountain. It doesn't look like a crater formed lake to me, but hey, why should I argue with a local I can barely understand. Anyways, not sure if you can tell but the water is teal, like someone dumped paint into it teal, and not to shabby on the clearness either. I think the next picture shows the color off better. You can see a part of the larger mountains in the background still covered by clouds. The picture is dark because we are literally in the clouds ourselves...and getting soaked anytime we get out of the van...what a wonderful time we had. There's also a little snack shack off to the left of the picture that you can't see. There were a bunch of locals there laughing their butts off at our expense since we were in a mini-van and we were standing in the rain to get this picture.

Here's a good picture of what the water color was. I think it's this color because of the minerals in the water, maybe copper or something. Either way, it sure was beautiful. Now you may notice that this picture is significantly brighter than the last and that it was taken well above the water level as well. I'll explain that in a bit, but for now I'll explain what happened between the last picture and this one since I didn't really take too many pics between then (rain and all).

So after that first picture we decided to jump back in the van and keep going up the mountain to look for a good hiking spot. After about 1 hr of driving we were well into the clouds, it was pouring rain and the road slope was getting to be pretty steep, not to mention that the "road" was right on the edge of the mountain. We FINALLY spotted this really cool looking suspension bridge across a gorge and river plus some hiking trails so we found a "parking spot". Let me define parking reads her own blog and she'll get mad, lets just say that I don't think anyone else was going to drive down that "road" and if they went past our van, well, they would have learned the exhilarating feeling of flying that I experience weekly. Bottom line is that we end up hiking through some mountain areas while getting poured on. We did find something interesting and I'll tell you about that later. When we got bored we decided to head back down the mountain to the lake again and just meander around it. By the time we got back the sky was starting to clear out and we were able to find a nice hiking trail near a dam...thus began another adventure.

Here's a picture of the original lake, you can easily see the teal in the picture. See the little house on the right of the dam? That's where we parked. The hiking trail took us to this little outcropping where you could see all the way across the lake to the small town on the other side. We kept saying, eh, we came this far, might as well go a little farther. Not too long after that (cough...4 hrs) we somehow manage to find our way off the mountain...on the other side of the the little town you see in the picture. Needless to say, we had quite the hike and a long walk back to the van. Looking on the bright side one died...that's good right?

After that we pretty much went back into Aviano to get cleaned up and head out to dinner.

...You are probably wondering about that other little adventure I talked about earlier right? Well sit back, grab your cocoa, and get ready for "Story Time with Uncle Lee"...old joke from Okinawa with Holie...Christy will get it.

So there we were...on a grass cut path winding its way back into thick forest, on top of some random mountains in the middle of nowhere with not a soul around but our small group. It was raining hard, our cell phones weren't getting reception and GPS was out of the question. We are all playing follow the leader along this winding path when our leader abruptly stops and says "What the H*##" is that? Now, that's not uncommon, but what he found was. There was a lone rope hanging in the middle of a small clearing with a wooden rod through it, it almost looked like it was floating in the air...creeped out yet? As we approached it, you could start to make out a thin line running from the rope off into the forest and up the mountain side, curious. Once standing next to it, it was apparent that it was some sort of zip line that led off to who knows where. So we did the only logical thing there was to do...we grabbed the rope and started hauling it up the mountain side so we could ride down it, duh. BTW, the only girl with us thought this was a bad idea since, and I quote, "zip lines can go pretty fast and there's no straps to hold you, so if you fall off you are pretty much screwed". We all looked at each other and you could feel the unsaid, agreed upon thought...'what kind of logic is that? We obviously won't know if it's safe until we try it' and 'where the hell is your sense of adventure?'. I digress, long story short, we rode the zip line to amazing success...and HUGE amounts of fun. I won't name names to protect the innocent in the picture...LOL...I took my camera with me on my ride! BTW...this is at the very bottom where it leveled out.

We took another path out where we found a house that had a sign on it reading "private property, no trespassing" and the yard was littered with arrows (like the bow and arrow type). That made us slightly nervous, so we walked a little faster until we got back to the van.
Story End.

There you have second post and probably my last. Thanks for reading my rants and always remember that the 10% rule is always in effect.


Christy Lynn said...

Honey, ALL of your stories start with "Sp there we were..." Ha! Glad that Blogger found your post again.

Giffysk8s said...

Hey, Uncle Lee (or is it Uncle Ree, since the nickname was birthed on Okinawa?)! I , too, am glad that Blogger found your post because I was really bummed to have missed it the first time. Seriously, you should start your own blog. All of Christy's peeps would read it. Call it the "So there we were..." Story Time with Uncle Lee. Your debut posts on Christy's blog have been awesome!

You and your beautiful bride have keen eyes for photography. The second photo is very cool, very Ansel Adams-esque (even though it's in color). The water colors in the subsequent photos are amazing! They remind me of the turquoise waters we just saw in the Caribbean.

So, did the girl in the group brave the zip line? And I am dying to know what Christy thought of YOUR logic! It's just too funny that you rode a strapless zip line but were scared by a few little arrows. I thought you had a sense of adventure! LOL

Thanks for a fun post!

Thoughts by B and M said...

Better not be your last! and mountain many memories........

CCsMom said...

How cool is that, Lee?!!! Looks like it was "fun with the boys", with the exception of the ONE girl. She must've been a good sport. You sure have seen a lot of things -- consider yourself really fortunate! LOVE IT!!!

Amber Hight said...

Love these pictures, Lee! Don't let this be the last time we hear from you...;)