Hiking in the Dolomites

The Dolomites are a rugged, dramatic mountain area in the northern part of Italy bordering Austria. The area is called South-Tyrol and was once part of Austria. My husband and I stayed in Colfosco (1,645m), the highest village of Italy where people permanently live. For four days, I hiked in the most gorgeous mountainous areas with spectacular views and long stretches of solitude.



Church of Colfosco with the Sela massiv in the background




I made a black line on the map where I hiked – by enlarging the map, you might see the route of the four hikes. For the first hike, I went up a ravine of the Sela massive to the cabin Franco Cavazza and continued through Val Selusc down to the valley and back to Colfosco. In order to reach Piz Boe the second day, I took a gondola and then a chairlift up to Valum and hiked from there to the peak of the Sela mountain.

The two other hikes were on the Gherdenacia massiv opposite the Sela mountains. One time I started in La Villa and went over the plateau to Colfosco. Another time, I started at the Passo Gardena and traversed the plateau from there, coming down to Colfosco again.




View to the Gherdenacia Massiv


Our hotel was located at the foot of the Sela massiv, a massive mountain area with Piz Boe as the highest peak (3,152m). The first day, I started my hike directly at the hotel and came within 15 minutes walking to a gorgeous waterfall.







Still in the valley, I discovered the most charming sanctuary for the Virgin Mary, nestled in between rocks and a powerful root of a fir tree.



Along cascading water, I hiked up a steep path to a high valley.




Nestled in between rocks, I could see a bunker from World War I. Heavy fighting was going on between Austria and Italy in this area and bunkers and tunnels still tell about this dramatic event.






In the distance, you see a lonely hiker.





Millions of years

in the fields of floating stones

wind in my face



Cabin Franco Cavazza



A mountain lake below the cabin.



On the way down to the valley, I met many mountain climbers who enjoyed several via ferratas existing in this area. The path was so steep that iron ropes and steps were built for security.




Walking with my barefoot shoes down the steep gravel area was not such a good idea – they did not have a lot of grip. I was thankful that I had walking sticks for support.




The next day, I hiked up to Piz Boe, using the gondola for part of the elevation change. The weather was very unstable and in the beginning of my hike it started to rain. Almost nobody else took the chairlift up to the Kostner cabin.






Kostner cabin



After a hot chocolate in the cabin, David and I took different paths and I continued my hike to the peak.



Heavy mist was leaning down to the mountain peaks, filling the gaps in between.



I passed another mountain lake, reflecting the dramatic sky






I passed a little shelter underneath an humongous overhanging rock. I only met two people on this path. They turned back when they had to use ropes to climb up the path.




Sometimes wooden stairs were helpful




I like to climb with the help of ropes




After the steep ascent, a wooden bench is inviting the hikers for rest. Due to the unstable weather, I continued to walk.








Piz Boe












View to the Marmolada glacier. In July this year, a huge part of the glacier collapsed due to extreme heat, leaving a 600 feet gap and killing at least seven people.




I had a delicious minestrone soup and apple juice in the cabin




More signs of bad weather




Although the weather forecast was predicting rain for the entire day, the weather was not too bad. Additionally, the last chairlift was scheduled for 5 pm. Seven minutes to five, after running the last part up to the station. It was a lucky day!

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Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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  1. i loved looking at your photos. I wish I was there with you!! I so admire the way you are pursuing what brings you joy!


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