The Hills Are Alive …

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… with the sound of sizzling frying pans on our Selva-to-Monte-Pana hike in the Dolomites

Something I forgot to mention in the report from our first hike in the Dolomites: for the hiking guides, that hike served as their “orientation tour”, intended not only to familiarize the hotel’s newbie guests with the landscape but also to sort out the more resilient hikers from those who would probably be a danger to themselves in the hostile world of the high mountains. So what did Pauli and Thaddäus make of the Easy Hikers’ manner of handling a proper Alpine trail?

"Dolomites hills are alive on a hike to the slopes of Monte Pana."

They were unimpressed, I am afraid, and we were among those who were politely approached and gently nudged towards the “easy walk on next day’s programme” – the one we had laughingly dismissed as a “granny’s walk” when we had first seen it on the programme.

Hurt pride aside, I have to admit that the day-one hike, which had also been marked in green as a “family walk” in the programme, did not feel all that “easy” to us. It may not have been “hard” by Alpine standards – it certainly had no long or hard climbs – but it was not particularly short (approx. 12 km in total, 10 km for those who, like us, took the lift down at the intermediate station) and featured some fairly steep and difficult stretches on the descent. Mrs. Easy Hiker and I may have agreed that the going up was worth the coming down, but our knees begged to differ.

Read also: Hub of the Dolomites

A “granny’s walk” then seemed just the ticket for the next day, giving our weary bones a chance to recover. We took the bus to Wolkenstein (Selva in Italian) and from there trail no. 30B to the slopes of Monte Pana.

The hike in itself may have been gentle and sweet indeed, not much harder than a walk in the municipal park, but the nature was just as grand as it had been the day before. The Dolomites are certainly no less impressive when seen from 1500 metres than from 2000 metres up.

"The Dolomites seen from the slopes of Monte Pana"

On the contrary: you get to see more, because there is a stronger human presence at these lower altitudes …

"A cabin on a valley in the Dolomites"

… and more of an animal presence, too, specifically at this (relatively late) time of the year. (The cows are brought back into the valley as soon as autumn starts to bite.)

"Cows on the Dolomites slopes of Monte Pana"

We were also pleased that we were able to do this on a sunny day after the mountain tops had been shrouded in mist the day before. This gave the scenery a somewhat different feel – still dramatic, but not quite as Wagnerian, less “Twilight of the Gods” …

"Dramatic dolomites"

… and more “The Sound of Music”.

"Dolomites hills are alive on the slopes of Monte Pana"

To conclude the walk, the group was led to a cabin half-way up Monte Pana, which is operated by Hotel Adler and where some of their kitchen staff were already waiting for us – with sausages, spare ribs and everything needed for a proper grill party.

Read also: Top of the World in the Dolomites

That afternoon, the Dolomites hills were alive with the sound of sizzling frying pans.

"Dolomites hills are alive with the sizzling of sausages"

We had to admit that being a lame duck on tough Alpine trails certainly has its upsides. Because we took the car option on the way back (while the rest of the group continued the downward trek), returning in the van of the Hotel Adler kitchen crew (yes, I know, we were unforgivably lazy – but nobody will be able to say that we did not learn our lesson from the mistakes of the first day), we came back early and had the opportunity of exploring the award winning Hotel Adler Dolomiti at greater length – in particular to dip into the salt water pool, the one which we had so criminally neglected on our first trip to the spa area.

"Relaxing on the pool of Hotel Adler Dolomiti, premier hiking hotel in Val Gardena"

Photo courtesy of Hotel Adler Dolomiti

And it just so happened that, when we climbed out of the pool, we were ready just in time for dinner. It’s a hard life, being an Easy Hiker.

This was another of the numerous hikes organised by Hotel Adler Dolomitithe premier hiking hotel in Val Gardena, for its guests. We were fortunate to have been invited by the hotel to experience the wide range of services it offers active holiday makers like us. Did you know, Hotel Adler has won awards as a premium spa and sports resort? 

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15 comments to The Hills Are Alive …

  • Glad you’re enjoying hiking. We certainly do too. And thanks for dropping by. Happy hiking!

  • Hello! Happy to have found your blog! The Val Gardena and Alpe di Siusi are favorite haunts of ours, in fact, we are in Ortisei right now.

    As “senior hikers” who also came late to the games, we are unapologetic about seeking out “easy” hikes. We can do “moderately strenuous” if there’s a good rifugio along the way and a nice slice of strudel. As it happens, today we hiked from the top of the Monte Pana lift to Saltria. Not too strenuous except it is BLOODY HOT here: The hottest two days in the history of the Alpe di Siusi where it hit 36 centigrade. Heat adds a degree of difficulty to say the least.

    Keep on hiking! We will!

  • Randal Gill

    Thank you Michael for this post. It was a nice experience to read this article. Photos you provided was also brilliant.

  • Proper relaxing place , Love it !

  • Olive Clarke

    Congrats Michael for the brave attempt you have done. I am planning for a trip to Northern Italy with my friends in coming year and your journey is an energy booster to us.

  • Yes, Vera, what we have to do for our readers indeed!

  • Those pictures are simply breathtaking. Thank you so much for making the grand sacrifice of walking and snapping pictures and eating sausage, just for your readers!

  • We loved our hikes in the Dolomites, Maria! Thanks!

  • Love your ‘small’ hikes here – stunning vistas and each a challenge in their own way. Kudos to you both!

  • As Mrs Easy Hiker said, every hike she survives, anyone can do. You’d surely be able to the same hikes we did, Jackie.

  • Jenna, the Hotel Adler got it right on many levels, and one of them are the spa facilities that all guests, after hiking and biking the Dolomites, can access to recover their energies. We enjoyed it there.

  • As long as you pace yourself, I’m sure you can do most hikes in the Dolomites, Christopher!

  • Fantastic. This is one of my favorite places to hike. Great photos! You really capture the feeling of the place. Granny trails or challenging, long ones. I’ll take them all. I love the Dolomites.

  • This is my idea of the ideal European outdoor experience. I hope to get to Northern Italy next summer and will put this on my to-do list! And will check out the hotel, too!

  • OMG! If you two were nudged to the Grannie Hike the TravelnWrite twosome would have been encouraged to pack our bags and find some other way to explore the area. . .beautiful shots!!!

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