July 9, 2013 by Dan
We woke from our first night in South Tirol to a gray, miserable-looking day. After a leisurely breakfast, we hung around for a bit and waited for the clouds to clear, which they most definitely did not.
Read. Lunch. Read some more. Eventually I lost my patience and forced us out the door and up a nearby trail, where we immediately ran into the smallest church in the world (or so we thought):
See how dark that picture is? Ten seconds after that photo, the skies turned black and opened the floodgates on us. We walk-ran pell-mell down the slippery, rocky path, returning to our room after twenty minutes with soaked pants, socks, feet, and souls.
“Let’s dry things off and try again,” I said. Julie, long-suffering, agreed. We waited around with our stuff in the sun – because now it decides to come out – and decided to take another route – down to the valley and up the other side, where the sun was lancing down through the clouds. The trail itself was a path of dreams – a soft dirt clearing through greenery and shrubs. Lovely.
We emerged from the trees and got a wonderful view of St. Pietro.
Today was really shaping up…until we looked down the valley and saw the clouds boiling up down there, a sea of gray and black. It was right out of one of the Mordor scenes from The Lord of the Rings.
See that tunnel-looking thing? It was coming towards us like a demonic smoke ring. We could hear the panicked whinnying of horses from the farm down below, and the wind was whipping hard enough to tug at the hat on my head.
“We gotta get out of here,” I said. I’m a good outdoorsey guy, but getting caught in two thunderstorms in one day is not my bag at all. We ran down the muddy path, past the farm and the panicking horses, down the road past sheep gathered under a tree for shelter, feeling the occasional angry spat of rain that forewarns you of the mayhem to come. We crossed the highway and climbed the path back to town, jogging into the pizza place just ahead of the rain. We ordered a beer apiece and waited to watch the rain.
Which didn’t come. Instead the sun came out, washing over the main square. It was warm enough to wear shorts. We were momentarily bitter – why didn’t South Tirol want us to hike anywhere? – but got over it. For the first time, we could see the Dolomites.
Wow. We would be able to hike tomorrow, right?
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