Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's just a very long walk in Val Viola

Rifugio Viola way in the background
Now this is a trail for all dispositions, and I'll get to that later. Val Viola offers a long but gentle ascent that leads toward the Swiss border. Situated in the upper reaches of the province of Sondrio, the half pavement/half dirt road running along the length of the valley is popular with people of all ages and fitness levels during holidays. We hiked here about a week and a half ago when it was still peak season, and there were mountain bikers pedaling up the path as well. An alpine rifugio/mountain hut (C) awaits hungry appetites at the very end (you can barely make it out in the image above), but we cut the 8km distance down to a little over 7 as soon as we reached the lake. Alternatively you can also avoid walking the whole 8km and hitch a jeep ride from the starting point for 2€ in one direction. It'll drop you off halfway (B) when the service is available, which might be a good idea for tenderfoots.

View larger map
Starting in Arnoga (A) at the sharp bend fronting Hotel Li Arnoga, follow the pavement into the woods. The trail is pretty obvious, cutting through patches of forest, green pastures and quiet habitation en route. Asphalt eventually gives way to a mule path and open blue skies everywhere. 7.2 kilometers/4.5 miles was already enough with the heat and glaring sun, so it was a good thing that we had packed our own lunch. Settling down in front of a grouping of large boulders, we could hear marmots calling out - "whistling" - amongst themselves. The valley is also supposed to be rich with mushrooms during funghi season, but you're allowed to look and not touch. Well we were more than content with not touching anything...especially a tiny vipera snake that we happened upon. Final note: parking spots are available a few hundred meters along into the path but you need to get there early to nab them for a small fee. When those are all taken, an ample parking area about 100 meters further up from Hotel Li Arnoga is open for free. And lastly, for those who don't want to/can't walk but would like to chow down at the rifugio, there is transport service upon request. 40€ (8 seats). Don't forget to bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Val Viola critters and 'shrooms
Val Viola optional transport
Val Viola with the munkeys



Blogger Jude said...

The views are just stunning! I love that the little pooches were along for the ride (hike) - it's fantastic you're fitting in so much awesome hiking!

10:39 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Rowena... said...

Jude - if the world were a perfect place there would be excellent hiking weather every single day. We are trying to catch up from days lost during our very wet spring...as long as it isn't too hot for the munkeys. They go with us all the time!

10:57 AM, August 31, 2010  
Anonymous casalba said...

What a stunning spot. The weather has cooled over here now, but still sunny - perfect for getting out and about. Love the photos.

11:04 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Frizzy and Bird said...

I can tell your babies are worried about you as they look back waiting on you to join the group.

Beautiful scenery. You are inspiring me to get hiking again. Why is it hiking here doesn't seem as "romantic" as it did in Italy?

4:28 PM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Brad Farless said...

Good thing the dogs were leashed, or they might have been some unpleasantness with that snake.

8:19 AM, September 01, 2010  
Anonymous Midge said...

Looks like you and the doggies had fun. :3

8:31 AM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger Rowena... said...

casalba - it's been 16°C in the mornings and I've just started donning socks with my rubber slippers. As long as it doesn't rain, there will be more hikes in the months to come!

Frizzy & Bird - they always give me the look as if to say "are you coming with us or what? Hurry up mama!" I have another hiking post in the works...isn't life sweet?

Brad - whenever we hike at higher altitude, and especially further north, we always keep them on leash - snakes are more common in those areas. Some natural parks don't allow dogs to be off-leash, but I am also concerned that Mr B will run off and chase a deer or something.

Midge - we worked up an appetite where hotdogs and apples were barely enough to get us back (hotdogs for us, apples for the dogs). A good thing that I had some jelly bellies to snack on.

8:54 AM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger Tamakikat said...

Looks fabulous, Rowena.

10:58 AM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger Rowena... said...

TK - this is the one where I had mentioned doing 20km...but I checked with google and then a couple of written itineraries and it said 8km one way. That means (according to the gps stats) we supposedly walked an extra 2km here and there, back and forth between photo ops. I don't think so! Technology can be so inaccurate sometimes.

11:33 AM, September 01, 2010  
Anonymous ~fer said...

This food looks soo good!
my mouth is watering.

Also, i love the photo with the dogs

3:20 PM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger K and S said...

beautiful scenery!

7:50 PM, September 02, 2010  

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