In today’s serie of Dolomites hiking we are going to share with you the easy 16kms one-day hike to the Seceda mountain. We started from the village Santa Cristina di Val Gardena, hiked up 900m to the Seceda and got down doing a loop along the mountain range.
Our morning started in the town Canazei in campsite Marmolada in Val di Fassa, South Tyrol. We woke up early to catch the bus to the village Santa Cristina di Val Gardena and fortunately that day it was on time. Morning was fresh and almost freezing with a very cool air. But the day expected to be sunny and bright.
At night we had a funny accident at 5 o’clock in the morning when it was still dark and we were sleeping. We heard some weird sounds outside the tent and were almost sure that it was a cat checking up our food leftovers in a garbage bag that we left just outside the tent. So we grabbed our flashlight and pointed it towards the sound. To our surprise it wasn’t even close to the domestic animal and what we saw was a fox! Then we realized it was a baby fox by how carelessly and with what curiosity he behaved. The light didn’t scare it off much as we thought previously and he was rather calm and quiet eating his night meal. We still can’t think of what could attract him in our garbage bag as we don’t eat any meat and there were just fruit and vegetables skin together with some plastic packaging. So he spent probably half an hour of time close to out tent and then slowly wandered away. Before this case we didn’t really see a fox so up close in the wild and it was a fortunate case and opportunity to film it for us. So we were really grateful that this fox decided to come and visit us.
When we got to Santa Cristina di Val Gardena the sun was already up on the sky shining bright and we had to get out of the village following quite a steep path up for 2.5 kms. That time we had our heavy backpacks with us as we had nowhere to leave them. But we still hoped to find some albergue or refugee house and leave at least some of our things there.
So this way we went out to the forest path and started to follow the trail number 4 that we were to continue until the crossroad where we will start the loop the we planned.
We still didn´t want to hike up with all of our weight on the shoulders and so we found quite a secluded spot under the pine tree to leave one of our backpacks there. We hided it quite well with dry pine needles and covered it with the branches so we hoped that nobody finds it in 5 or 6 hours until we come back.
So feeling more light with just one backpack where we stored our camera equipment and some food we continued our trail. We knew that this way we will be able to do more and it will be more enjoyable overall. Also we set up our solar charger system because we needed some energy for our gear and with such clear day there should have been plenty of it.
The trail continued to go through the shadowed forest all the first part. It was quite an easy and gentle uphill, we expected it to be more challenging. From time to time the path opened up to a fantastic view of the surrounding mountain ranges that seemed to be the giant rocks growing out of the green hills. It was a splendid and magical scenery. And we gradually were coming higher and closer to them and the views from above were breathtaking.
On the way we met some squirrels that were jumping around from tree to tree and having their meal. And also the bushes with a very tasty wild strawberries which we couldn´t resist to stop at and try.
The weather forecast was showing that it is going to be sunny and clear all day long but we knew that it is not always accurate. The last night was the coldest we had here in 5 days that we spent in the region and it felt almost freezing in our tent. Our summer bags had the limit of plus 5 degrees Celsius and we felt like it was close to their limit. We thought that probably some big air flow just came from Arctic and from now on we will be having quite extreme nights.
So walking this quiet path we got to the crossroad we have been talking about before and turned left in the direction to the mountain Seceda. Then we planned to come back to the same crossroad just from the other side doing a loop.
Starting from there the landscapes have changed and in front of us we have seen lots of green plains and hills with the mowed grass and little wooden cabins spread all over the place. We guessed that they were for the touristic rent. Also we met a couple of restaurants with the people chilling out in the sun in chaise lounges. So we made a conclusion that this region is quite touristic and crowded. Of course we knew that this mountain is quite popular before we went here and that’s how we learnt about it but still we hoped it to be more natural looking.
There we have spotted the cable car going all the way up to the top of the mountain and then we understood why we have not met many people hiking with us on the trail. We do think that the cable cars can be nice on some occasions but in this case, the trail was so easy and smooth going that we were perfectly sure that anybody can do it. Also to us it is just more interesting to put more effort getting to the certain place.
The route continued to swirl going quite a gentle uphill and most of it was pavement car road. We supposed that in winter there could be a ski slope and that’s why it wasn’t too vertical nor extreme.
There was no clear marking of the direction we should stick to while getting through this car roads and so we just followed the people and also the cable car going right to the top. So it was quite hard to confuse the trail.
While hiking up we met quite a lot of sheep pasturing on the sides of the slopes and quietly eating the grass as well as several horses. Some of them were very playful and surprised us by gracefully running around and showing their power. It looked great especially with a combination of such incredible mountain views down the valley.
We still were amazed by how nice was the weather all day long until the very evening as it rarely happens in these places. At least during a week we spent here every evening there was some rain and lots of clouds gathering together. That day was perfectly clear with no single cloud in the sky and we could appreciate the beauty of the places enjoying the sunset light as well.
Meanwhile we were getting to the top of the hill to the viewpoint of Seceda mountain. The route turned into gravel and was climbing up but still wasn’t too hard. When we were almost at the top to our eyes opened a splendid wide angle view over the other side of the valley. It seemed like we could see where the Dolomite mountain range starts and where it finishes many kilometers in the distance. Those endless beautiful mountain layers looked similar to the ocean wave in a rush hour to us when you are looking on it from the ocean side. And this view ended up being the most favorite of ours from this place.
When we got to the viewpoint itself there were different points to stop at and gaze at the Seceda mountain itself. We walked to the very edge of the path and could enjoy the view of Seceda with the beautiful purple mountain bluebells in the foreground.
The mountain itself was quite unique in its form with the abrupt rocky edges and the epic skeleton view of the mountain range. The most impressive thing about this place is not actually the rock itself but the 360 degree views from this viewpoint from where you can see two sides of the valley that look very different. On one side there are layers of the mountains and their green endless spines and on the other solid Dolomite rocks rising above everything.
What we didn’t like about this place is how crowded with people it was that were constantly taking pictures, getting in your way and just wandering around. We would prefer to visit this viewpoint in some early hour in the morning when we bet there will be much fewer people. But we had just this one opportunity and so we tried to take advantage of it as best as we can. We took quite a lot of nice pictures while still it wasn’t the perfect golden hour for the photography with the sun being too high up on the sky. Also we realized that we couldn’t take the postcard looking picture everybody seeks with this mountain because you see it everywhere throughout the web. Simply because the angle of view wasn’t the same. We were taking pictures on the ground level and those shots from others were taken from some altitude most likely by the drones. So it was an important discovery of ours – if you want to make the perfect shots take the drone with you.
So after spending around 40 minutes there we went out to the path leading back to the valley. We took the other one because we wanted to make a loop around this place and come to the crossroad from the other side. In the end we decided to take a shortcut of the previously planned loop and do only the half circle because the sun was already setting down and we didn’t want to get back in the dark.
We planned to wild camp that night for the first time in the region and needed time to find a good secluded spot. As we knew that wild camping is forbidden in the area we didn’t want to be found by any forest rangers. Also we learnt that there are quite a lot of wild animals in local forests and apart from foxes, marmots and mountain goats there could be even wolves and bears. The program of their integration wasn’t done so long ago and there weren’t many of them but still there was a chance.
So enjoying the sunset views and beautiful light over the Gardena valley we came back to the place where we left our backpack in the morning and were out to search for the place to camp in the forest. Fortunately we still had some daylight left to help us and we were able to find quite a secluded spot under the big tree quite far from the hiking trail. The weather was quiet and there was no single wind. We had our dinner there and quickly got into out tent before it got completely dark. The next day we planned to explore the other valley Val di Funes and do the Adolf Munkel hiking trail there…