Brighter Days – Week 5
Hey guys! So it’s the end of Week 5 now and although it had a rocky start, the travelling vibes have definitely taken a turn for the better. We began the week by driving into Italy due to a pizza craving and got to the Dolomites not exactly having a plan. We headed to Tre Cime (meaning Three Peaks) because we’d heard it was a really beautiful place but hadn’t done nearly enough research about climbing in the area. When we got to Lake Misurina and looked up more details, we started to feel a little bit lost. A lot of the information we found told us we didn’t have enough equipment or route finding skills to climb in the Dolomites.
We went on a long hike the next day to check out Tre Cime (pictured above) and ended up getting caught in a thunderstorm. Literally IN a thunderstorm. With lightning just above us and a heavy downpour of rain/hail. It was pretty insane. We had to sprint past the humongous cliffs around us because we were afraid of rock fall. It was intense, but also really really fun. Paul’s video included at the bottom does a really good job capturing the storm before we were caught in the middle of it!
We were soaked to the skin and each of our hiking boots could be rung out by the time we got to the nearest refugio. We still had a 2 hour hike down the mountain and were already freezing from being so wet, but luckily we hitched a ride with 2 friendly New Zealanders who got us down the road. Paul and I dried off and cozied up to endure the storm in Ben 🙂
The next day was a struggle of not knowing what to do or where to go. We both wondered whether it was a mistake to leave Switzerland and 3 guidebooks full of places we could adventure, in order to go into a country that we had little to no information about. We were about to head to Austria where it seemed the climbing was a bit more friendly, when we decided that we would stick it out in Italy, buy a guidebook and another rope, and settle into the country. Once we did that, we immediately felt more grounded.
The next 4 days we spent climbing at Sass Dlacia. It was great after so many days without climbing, to find a beautiful place with such a variety of good routes to try.
And yesterday, I took a day off from climbing and went for a day long hike into the mountains to see some pretty spectacular views. I decided after the 4th day of climbing in a row, I needed a rest day to give my mind a break. I needed to allow my thoughts to go where they wanted, rather than focusing on the next move or questioning what will happen if I fall. I’m feeling refreshed and ready to climb again. Good thing we’re off to a new crag tomorrow 🙂
Lesson of the week: Buy a guidebook immediately when entering a new country. If you’re unfamiliar with climbing guidebooks, they are anywhere from 50-400 pages long, usually starting with a map showing all the crags to climb in a specific area. It then goes into detail of each crag with the specific routes, their grades, what equipment you need, what the ascent to the crag is like, and a map of how to get there. Basically, it’s all the Google-ing done for you, wrapped up in an organized book. It’s wonderful. Once buying a single guidebook, Paul and I can be entertained for weeks going from one crag to the next.
It was so interesting to experience the quick switch in my mindset when I felt purpose in the place we were, and that I wasn’t just aimlessly wandering. Although ‘aimlessly wandering’ may seem like a theme in vanlife, wandering with no direction is not the desired feeling. I enjoy ‘purposefully wandering’ instead. With a guidebook in the glove compartment, I can feel completely grounded and know that I have a purpose and a million places I could be in an area.
So that’s what we’ve discovered this week, and because of that, we’ve got a few more weeks ahead of us traveling around Northern Italy climbing and hiking in beautiful places. My heart is happy 🙂
Paul has also made a video of our week, it captures the craziness of the storm we got caught in and it also has a pretty silly rappelling scene. The things he has to put up with sometimes haha 😉 Check it out here!