Continuing on from day 1 on the Alta Via, day 2 would take us on a 4-5 hour hike from the rustic Rifugio Biella to Mountain Hut Lavarella (there is a more popular Rifugio Fanes next to Lavarella, but it was booked).
We woke up fairly early at Rifugio Biella due to the hostel-like sleeping conditions, and headed downstairs for a simple cold breakfast with tea. The weather outside wasn’t ideal; it was white-out fog conditions with a chance of rain. C’est la vie; we geared up with our rain jackets for what we thought would be an “easy” day.
We crossed many pastures where we heard cowbells ringing – oddly it sounded like sounds of Thailand to me. Anyway, we never saw the cows because of the fog. We crossed in an out of some sort of National Park as well, but couldn’t see much with the fog.
We double-checked our map a lot.
After going through an area with very tall trees, we met a road with a ton of downhill switchbacks and realized we had lots of descending to do. Which meant a lot of ascending later…
After a lot of zig-zagging down, we rested our shaky legs to a Rifugio at the bottom of the valley where we ordered hot chocolate and apfelstreusels, a local staple. Then more map checking ensued.
The best part of the stop was that we noticed a couple with their 11 or 12 year old son having lunch – and they were all having pints of beer with their lunch, including the son! We finished off our snack while they polished off their beers, and then set off for an uphill climb to regain the ground we lost.
It started raining once we were on our way, so we donned ponchos over our packs, but couldn’t stop laughing at how silly we looked. I turned into a turtle:
By the time I got the poncho figured out and on, the rain stopped. The remainder of the day was spent on a never-ending uphill gradient through shrubs.
The last section was a long road, and we knew the hut was on top of the plateau ahead.
Finally, we found cows & goats!
Which meant a nearby Hut Lavarella! All in all, it took us 5 hours to get there.
It was complete with our own room and had showers.
We warmed up with a quick Gemusesuppe, which is German vegetable soup; I only wish I had a recipe to remake it. We had time to clean up, relax, then go to the hut’s restaurant for dinner. Dinner was just okay, and after some watery wine, we tried corn beer (interesting) and played cards. We had a good laugh when we looked over to see the same family with the 11 or 12 year old boy from earlier that day drinking more beers. We watched and the kid drank 2 beers over dinner, wow! The joke was that the boy was drinking David under the table. It was a great evening, then I slept like a rock.