Saturday, September 5, 2020

Hike from Bormio 3000 (Cima Bianca) to i Bei Laghetti and Return to Bormio 2000 via Val Sobretta

 Overview | Details | Flora | References | Trail Photos

View from the trail over Santa Caterina di Valfurva.On Trail 542 below Bormio 3000 with view toward Monte Confinale.
Left: View from the trail over Santa Caterina di Valfurva.
Right: On Trail 542 below Bormio 3000 with view toward Monte Confinale.


Overview


Length: 15 km (9 mi)


Duration: 4 hours


Elevation: Max elevation at Bormio 3000, 2,950 m (9,678 ft) to be precise. Min elevation at Bormio 2000 top station, 1,920 m (6,299 ft) to be precise. We tracked a total descent of 1,521 m (4,900 ft) – more than difference between min and max because of ups and downs on the trail.

Location: Italy, Valtellina, Bormio / Valdisotto / Valfurva


Details


Welcome to our eleventh hike of 2020. And yes, the title of this post is a mouthful! Considering that we – like most of the globe - spent a good part of the year in a lock down, we are calling eleven hikes this year a respectable achievement. By way of comparison, in the bodacious hike years of 2016 and 2017 we managed over 20 hikes a year. Here’s to a bodacious 2021!


So how did we end up in Bormio being that we are based in Bergamo? Well, we spent three days on the Valtellina Bike Path (Pista Ciclabile Valtellina) riding from Colico (on the north end of Lago Como) to Bormio, following the Adda river up the Valtellina valley. We tacked on one extra day in Bormio and did the hike described here. (To arrive in Colico we took the train from Bergamo – so this whole trip was in bike and train and bus.)

There are many hiking options around Bormio. Going up to the highest point served by cable cars is an easy way for non-walkers to take in the spectacular view. In the case of Bormio 3000 – which is at 2,950 m or 9,678 ft – the cable car is also the starting point for skiing, hiking, and MTB excursions. From the top station of Bormio 3000, from what we saw, hikers and bikers almost all head south along trail 541 toward I Bei Laghetti “The Beautiful (Small) Lakes” on the south side of Monte Vallecetta, away from Bormio. In winter, you would head north and ski down toward Bormio.


Our intention was to visit the alpine lakes and then return to Bormio 3000 to take the gondola back down, but once we got to the lakes, we decided to circumnavigate Monte Vallecetta counter-clockwise and walk back to Bormio 2000. It was a bit more work than we expected, and we were not equipped with our usual backpacks, water supply and gear. Instead we looked like we were out for walk around town and not alpine pastures at 8,000 ft.

Despite bad outfit choices, we finished the hike. The beautiful weather and views around each corner helped drive us forward until before we knew it, we were back at Bormio 2000. We justified our effort with beer and a calorific lunch back at Ristorante Girasole at the top station of Bormio 2000.

Here are some of the major orientation points of this hike:


  • Bormio: Just south of historic center, catch the Bormio 2000 cable car.
  • Bormio 2000: Get off Bormio 2000 and catch another cable car (one big gondola) up to Bormio 3000.
  • Bormio 3000: This point also called Cima Bianca is at 2,950 m. (What’s 50 meters when you could round up for a catchy name?) From here, start walking approximately south toward the lakes on trail 541.
  • I Bei Laghetti: Stop and enjoy the lakes.
  • Bocca di Profa: Take 518 heading northeast descending the Valle di Sobretta.
  • Valle di Sobretta: This valley is located between Monte Vallecetta (3,148 m) just above the Bormio 3000 station and Monte Sorbretta (3,296 m) to the south.
  • Baita del Pastore: Once you reach the Baita del Pastore, pick up trail 542. Avoid taking the dirt road if you are on foot. Along the way you pass over a Val Calvarana.
  • Sobrettina: The trail opens on to a pasture area here. Again, there is a dirt road option. We stayed high to remain on the trail 543.
  • Rocca Est: The top of the farthest east ski run. From here, find your way back to Bormio 2000.
  • Bormio 2000: Take the cable car back down. Don’t feel guilty after 15 km (9.3 mi) of walking, and not exactly all downhill.

Flora

At this point in the season, there wasn’t much flora to take pictures of. It's also the case that we don't have much experience with plants above 8,000 ft. From Bormio 3000 all the way down to Baita del Pastore, we saw mostly spent grasses. After Baita del Pastore, the altitude is about 2,400 m (7,874 ft) and we started to see plants in bloom/fruit that we could recognize, some of which are listed below.


[Asteraceae] Hieracium sp. - Hawkweed (Sparviere)
[Asteraceae] Hieracium sp. - Hawkweed (Sparviere)

[Campanulaceae] Campanula barbata - Bearded Bellflower (Campanula barbata)
[Campanulaceae] Campanula barbata - Bearded Bellflower (Campanula barbata)

[Ericaceae] Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - Kinnikinnick (Uva ursina)
[Ericaceae] Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - Kinnikinnick (Uva ursina)


[Ericaceae] Vaccinium mytrillus - Whortleberry, European Blueberry (Mirtillo nero)
[Ericaceae] Vaccinium mytrillus - Whortleberry, European Blueberry (Mirtillo nero)[Ericaceae] Vaccinium mytrillus - Whortleberry, European Blueberry (Mirtillo nero)


[Gentianaceae] Gentianella engadinensis - (Genzianella dell'Engadina)
[Gentianaceae] Gentianella engadinensis - (Genzianella dell'Engadina)


[Ranunculaceae] Aconitum napellus - Monk's-Hood, Wolfsbane (Aconito napello)
[Ranunculaceae] Aconitum napellus - Monk's-Hood, Wolfsbane (Aconito napello)



References


Here are some maps of the region that show or discuss the trail we followed. The trails can also be clearly seen on Valtellina Outdoor.

Page from bormio.eu brochure - description of "Giro del Vallecetta" for bikers and hikers.Page from bormio.eu brochure - description of "Laghi di Profa" for hikers.
Pages from bormio.eu brochure. On left, description of "Giro del Vallecetta" for bikers and hikers. On right, description of "Laghi di Profa" for hikers.

Map describing mountains and hiking around Bormio.Map describing mountains and hiking around Bormio.
Front and back of map describing hiking around Bormio.

Trail Photos



View from Bormio 3000 cable car north toward Bormio.Top cable car station of Bormio 3000.The start of the trail from the top station.
Left: View from Bormio 3000 cable car north toward Bormio. Center: Top cable car station of Bormio 3000. Right: The start of the trail from the top station.

View of Monte Vallecetta from Bormio 3000 top station.A view of the "i bei laghetti" on trail 541.A view of Monte Sobretta from trail 541.
Left: View of Monte Vallecetta from Bormio 3000 top station. Center: A view of the "i bei laghetti" on trail 541. Right: A view of Monte Sobretta from trail 541.

View of Laghi di Profa.Trail 518 near Bocca di Profa - Bormio 3000 visible on left ridge.Trail 518 Valle di Sobretta heading northeast.
Left: View of Laghi di Profa.  Center: Trail 518 near Bocca di Profa - Bormio 3000 visible on left ridge. Right: Trail 518 Valle di Sobretta heading northeast.

View from trail 542 looking back over Valle di Sobretta.Trail signage on 543 for Bormio 2000.Heading toward Bormio 2000 on the border of the Stelvio National park.
Left: View from trail 542 looking back over Valle di Sobretta. Center: Trail signage on 543 for Bormio 2000. Right: Heading toward Bormio 2000 on the border of the Stelvio National park. This hike is partly in the national park.


View north over Rocca East ski run - view down over Bormio.Ristorante Girasole Menu - at top station of Bormio 2000.Two dishes at Ristorante Girasole.
Left: View north over Rocca East ski run - view down over Bormio. Center: Ristorante Girasole Menu - at top station of Bormio 2000. Right: Two dishes at Ristorante Girasole.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Roundtrip Bergamo to Selvino on Foot, Cable Car, Bus, and Tram


View from trail 533 north toward Poscante over the Bergmasque Alps.Heading north toward Selvino; on trail 533 above Castello.
Left: View from trail 533 north toward Poscante and beyond to the Bergmasque Alps.
Right: Heading north toward Selvino; on trail 533 above Castello.


Overview


Length: 20 km (12.4 mi) - Trail 533 is 14 km long. It was 3 km from Bergamo (Fontana del Delfino) to the start of trail and another 3 km from the end of trail in Selvino to the funivia (cable car).

Duration: 7 hours total, with 1 hour lunch break at Agriturismo Merelli Gilberto (Salmezza)

Elevation: Max elevation at 1050 m (3,445 ft) above Salmezza. Starting elevation 265 m (869 ft) Piazzetta Delfino.

Location: Italy, Lombardy, Bergamo, Parco dei Colli di Bergamo

The hike route from Bergamo to Selvino.The last bit of trail before reaching the meadows of Salmezza.
Left: The hike route from Bergamo to Selvino.  Right: The last bit of trail before reaching the meadows of Salmezza.

Notes


Trail 533 is the closest major hiking trail to Bergamo and makes for an easy if not logical starting point for getting into the mountains quickly. This is especially true when you want to hike under just the power of our own feet and public transportation. 533 starts inauspiciously between two estates in the Quintino Alto neighborhood, a stone’s throw from the Atalanta stadium. The trail starts ascending quickly over limestone outcrops, positioned at angles due to a long ago upheaval.

As you climb, the trail splits and recombines. You pass bird blinds that have seen better days and hint at the once important role of migratory birds for food. In the nearby hills roccoli – big living bird traps – dominate strategic positions on ridges.

Before you reach your first major way point on the trail, Maresana, you’ll have schooling in the local flora. At eye level and above you will find Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana), European Smoketree (Sommacco selvatico), Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas), European hop-hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia), Common hazel (Corylus avellana), and Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). Casting your gaze down, you’ll see Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus), Liverwort (Anemone hepatica), Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger), Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), Green Hellebore (Helleborus viridis), Cyclamen (Cyclamen purpurascens), Vinca (Vinca minor), and Keeled Garlic (Allium carnatum) just to name a few.


Trail sign along 533.A cow in Salmezza.A hedgerow approaching SalmezzaView north above Monte di Nese.
Left: Sign along trail 533. Center left: A cow in Salmezza. Center right: A hedgerow approaching Salmezza. Right: View north above Monte di Nese.



Our hiking history around Bergamo is intimately tied to Trail 533 as many of our hikes use this trail, for example:


Today’s hike is very much like our 2017 hike from Maresana to Selvino except that we started from Bergamo city center and returned by public transportation (cable car, bus, and tram). You could easily reverse our path today and go from Bergamo to Selvino on public transportation and walk back to Bergamo.


The cableway Albino – Selvino connects Albino in the valley with its mountain sister Selvino. There is a 2000 ft (640 m) difference between the two towns. This being Italy, there is a path to walk between the two as well.

The cable car is owned by the bus company that operates in the area, which means there is good coordination between cable car and bus times. For example, if you come down from Selvino to Albino, there will be a bus waiting to take you to the Albino main bus station. At the Albino station you can pick up the Tramvie Elettriche Bergamasche (TEB) and ride the dozen stops back to Bergamo. Heading down the Lower Val Seriana you can review you hike out the window of the tram. The hills you just walked over are visible over the abandoned industrial architecture that once made the valley an industrial powerhouse.

Lunch dish at Merelli Gilberto - gnoccheti alle orticheLunch dish at Merelli Gilberto - tagliolini ai fungiLunch dish at Merelli Gilberto - Mixed meats with potatoes and polenta taragna.
Lunch choices at Merelli Gilberto (Salmezza). Left: gnocchetti alle ortiche (nettle gnocchi). Center: Tagliolini ai funghi. Right: Mixed meats with potatoes and polenta taragna.


Flora


The standout plant of today’s hike is the [Liliaceae] Allium carinatum commonly called keeled garlic or witch’s garlic, native to the Mediterranean Region from Spain to Turkey. It pokes up most unexpectedly in the dry days at the end of summer. Pinch a small piece off, crush and enjoy a garlic moment during your hike.


[Adoxaceae] Viburnum lantana - Wayfaring Tree (Viburno lantana)
[Adoxaceae] Viburnum lantana - Wayfaring Tree (Viburno lantana)


[Asparagaceae] Polygonatum odaratum - Angular Solomon's Seal (Sigillo di Salomone comune) - based on single berry.
[Asparagaceae] Polygonatum odaratum - Angular Solomon's Seal (Sigillo di Salomone comune)


[Asteraceae] Cichorium inthybus - Chicory, Cornflower (Cicoria selvatica)
[Asteraceae] Cichorium inthybus - Chicory, Cornflower (Cicoria selvatica)

[Asteraceae] Eupatorium cannabinum - Holy Rope, Hemp Agrimony (Canapa acquatica)
[Asteraceae] Eupatorium cannabinum - Holy Rope, Hemp Agrimony (Canapa acquatica)[Asteraceae] Eupatorium cannabinum - Holy Rope, Hemp Agrimony (Canapa acquatica)

[Balsaminaceae] Impatiens balfourii - Kashmir Balsam (Balsamina di Balfour)
[Balsaminaceae] Impatiens balfourii - Kashmir Balsam (Balsamina di Balfour)

[Betulaceae] Betula pendula - Silver Birch (Betulla bianca)
[Betulaceae] Betula pendula - Silver Birch (Betulla bianca)

[Campanulaceae] Campanula trachelium - Canterbury Bells (Campanula selvatica)
[Campanulaceae] Campanula trachelium - Canterbury Bells (Campanula selvatica)

[Caprifoliaceae] Lomelosia graminifolia - Scabious (Vedovina strisciante)
[Caprifoliaceae] Lomelosia graminifolia - Scabious (Vedovina strisciante)

[Caryophyllaceae] Dianthus seguieri - Sequier's Pink (Garafano di Seguier)
[Caryophyllaceae] Dianthus seguieri - Sequier's Pink (Garafano di Seguier)

[Caryophyllaceae] Saponaria officinalis – Bouncingbet, Common Soapwort (Saponaria comune)
[Caryophyllaceae] Saponaria officinalis – Bouncingbet, Common Soapwort (Saponaria comune)

[Colchicaceae] Crocus autumnale - Naked Lady (Colchico d'autunno)
[Colchicaceae] Crocus autumnale - Naked Lady (Colchico d'autunno)

[Lamiaceae] Salvia glutinosa - Sticky Sage (Salvia vischiosa)
[Lamiaceae] Salvia glutinosa - Sticky Sage (Salvia vischiosa)

[Liliaceae] Allium carinatum - Keeled Garlic (Aglio carenato)
[Liliaceae] Allium carinatum - Keeled Garlic (Aglio carenato)

[Primulaceae] Cyclamen purpurascens - Cyclamen (Ciclamino delle Alpi)
[Primulaceae] Cyclamen purpurascens - Cyclamen (Ciclamino delle Alpi)

[Ranuculaceae] Hepatica nobilis - Liverwort (Epatica erba trinità)
[Ranuculaceae] Hepatica nobilis - Liverwort (Epatica erba trinità)

[Rosaceae] Prunus spinosa – Blackthorn, Sloe (Prunus selvatico)
[Rosaceae] Prunus spinosa – Blackthorn, Sloe (Prunus selvatico)