Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Calancatal Day 2: Rif. Pian Grand -> Cab. Buffalora

It's a reasonably early start for us: after a good breakfast we're underway shortly before 8. Start the day with a climb up to the saddle of the Bedoletagrat over the rifugio. Cloudless skies, nice views all around, excellent morning! After a steep descent we head around the end of the side valley (theme of the next two days!) to an old shepherd's hut and a very nice lake with a small waterfall at the end (Lagh de Trescolmen). We have a long day ahead, so there's no time for a dip in the lake (nothing to do with the fact that it's still in shadow and cold, nosiree!).

From the lake we head up a bit and then along the valley side for a longish stretch that's mostly flat (truly flat doesn't exist on this hike) with a good mixture of path, scree, blocks, etc. Interesting footing at times due to the morning dew on the rocks, nice drop to the valley floor at right, it's excellent. After a while we ascend to the point at the opening of the valley (Bucchetta del B├╝scenel). There's a hairy bit on the other side of this, so we take a break, have a snack, and take a few pictures.

Around the corner on a path with some very nice views along (and down into) the Calancatal more than 1000m below. Nice broad path so no triggers for Greg on this stretch (yay!). The path leads us around the corner and into the valley containing the Rif. Ganan. Nice views of the valley and our exit on the other side with its stonemen (that's another theme for the hike) from the corner. Down into the valley along the Himmelsleiter, which was great fun to walk and very exciting to look at from afar. Along the valley wall for a bit and then up to the Rif. Ganan. Here we have our lunch break and tour the rifugio (very basic, not nearly as nice as the Rif. Pian Grand). From here one can appreciate the character of the path we just followed. :-)

Onwards after lunch, across the stream that runs down the valley and then a really nice piece of boulder/block hiking. No path here, but the markings are copious and clear. Around the other side of the valley, up to the stonemen on the Piz de Ganan. From here we can see the Cab. Buffalora on the other side of the bowl. Some quite exposed hiking along the valley wall to a small saddle with a view down to the heart-shaped Lagh de Calvaresc. Down, down to the lake. Unfortunately it's in cloud shadow or this would have been a nice rest place (and possibly swimming hole... we're making excellent time). Along a bit further until we find a patch of sun to sit in for a break and snack in the grass.

The last bit is around the end of the valley (of course) and then along the other side for the last stretch through the masses of blueberry bushes to the cabana. This is a great example of the never-ending almost there. :-)

Finally reach the very pleasant and friendly Cab. Buffalora, have our celebratory beverages and settle in for a nice evening. It was a long day, but a very, very nice one.

Aside: There was something about the constant up and down and the repetitive into and out of side valleys that reminded us of Henry Coe. It's never bad to remember Coe. :-)

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