Sunday, July 8, 2018

Hike in Valcanale: Rifugio Branchino and Lago Branchino


Hike route in Valcanale to Lago Branchino.View with cows above Baita Bassa del Monte Neel, Valcanale.
La Transumanza - annual flock migration in Valcanale.[Ranunculaceae] Trollius europeaus – Globeflower (Botton d’oro) along Lago Branchino.
Top Left: Hike route in Valcanale to Lago Branchino.
Top Right: View with cows above Baita Bassa del Monte Neel, Valcanale.
Lower Left: La Transumanza - annual flock migration in Valcanale.
Lower Right: [Ranunculaceae] Trollius europeaus – Globeflower (Botton d’oro) along Lago Branchino.


Overview


Length: 9.8 km (6.1 mi)
Duration: 5.0 hours walking including ~ 1 hour spend at lunch at Rifugio Branchino
Elevation: 1.130 m (3,707 ft) @ start of hike above Babes (above Valcanale); 1.860 m (6,102) @ Passo Val Vedra
Location: Italy, Lombardy, Bergamo, Valcanale


Details


Much of what we experience in Bergamo is born of improvised and last-minute plans – in its best sense. This hike was no different being hatched the day before when friends suggested a quick trip up Valcanale to Lago Branchino, which to them is like playing in the backyard.

It just so happened to also be the day of the Festival della Trasumanza – or seasonal migration of flocks to the mountains in Valcanale, a hamlet of Ardesio.  As we were leaving the trailhead we were passed by a stream of sheep eager to get to the fresh greens waiting for them in the high pastures.


From Valcanale, you can easily reach the popular Rifugio Alpe Corte 1.410 m (4,626 ft), which is the first stop on the Sentiero delle Orobie Orientali. We bypassed Rifugio Alpe Corte and headed for Rifugio Branchino 1787 m (5,862 ft), then to Lago Branchino, and finally to Passo Val Vedra where we turned around. Trail-wise we followed sentiero 220, sentiero 218, and then sentiero 222. Sentiero 222 is called the Sentiero dei Fiori due to the high degree of biodiversity the trail goes through. The trail ends up Capanna 2000 where we hiked last year (see Hike: Cattedrale Vegetale to Capanna 2000).

Flora


In terms of interesting plants we saw on this hike and to add to our Pinterest list Bergamasque Prealp Flowers and Plants there are:

  • [Orchidaceae] Nigritella nigra rhellicani  - Vanilla Orchid (Moretta, Vaniglia d’Alpe). It really smells like vanilla!
  • [Orchidaceae] Traunsteinera globosa – Round-headed Orchid (Orchide dei pascoli)
  • [Rosaceae] Geum rivale – Water Avens (Cariofillata dei ruscelli). So hard to get a picture of these flowers with their head hanging down.
  • [Ranunculaceae] Ranunculus aconitifolius – Aconite-Leaf Buttercup (Ranuncolo a foglie di aconito)

Usual disclaimer: we use the resources listed in the post Resources for Identifying Plants around Bergamo to identify plants shown here. If we had to give ourselves a score for identifications, it would be 95% accurate for species and 98% for genus.


Key: [Family] Genus species – Common name in English (Common name in Italian)


[Apiaceae] Astrantia major – Great Masterwort (Astranzia maggiore)
[Asteraceae] Cirsium spinosissimum - Spiniest Thistle (Cardo spinosissimo)
[Asteraceae] Centaurea spp.
[Asteraceae] Crepis aurea – Golden Hawk's Beard (Radicchiella aranciata)
[Boraginaceae] Echium vulgare – Viper’s Burgloss (Viperina azzurra comune)
[Campanulaceae] Campanula trachelium – Nettle-leaved Bellflower (Campanula selvatica)
[Caprifoliaceae] Valeriana officinalis – Valerian (Valeriana comune)
[Fabaceae] Onobrychis montana – Mountain Sainfoin (Lupinella montana)

  • I love the following description from Wikipedia for Onobrychis. It gives me a whole new respect for this plant. "Onobrychis means 'devoured by donkeys', from Ancient Greek ónos (ὄνος, "donkey") and brýkein (βρύκειν, "to eat greedily"). This refers to sainfoin's good properties as a forage plant for large mammalian herbivores. Sainfoin is derived from Old French sain foin ('healthy hay')."

[Lamiaceae] Laminum maculatum – Spotted Dead Nettle (Falsa ortica macchiata)
[Lamiaceae] Stachys sylvatica – Wood Woundwort (Betonica dei Boschi)
[Orchidaceae] Dactylorhiza maculata - Spotted Heath Orchid (Ochide macchiata)
[Orchidaceae] Gymnadenia conopsea – Fragrant Orchid (Manina rosea)

  •      Bend down and take a whiff. This orchid is fragrant.

[Orchidaceae] Nigritella nigra rhellicani - Vanilla Orchid (Moretta, Vaniglia d’Alpe)

  • There are lots of synonyms for this vanilla-scented orchid, e.g., also called Nigritella rhellicani.

[Orchidaceae] Traunsteinera globosa – Round-headed Orchid (Orchide dei pascoli)
[Plantaginanceae] Digitalis luteaYellow Perennial Foxglove (Digitale gialla piccola)
[Polygonaceae] Bistorta officinalis – Meadow Bistort (Poligono bistorta)
[Polygonaceae] Bistorta vivipara – Alpine Bistort (Poligono viviparo)
[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus viridis – Green Hellebore (Ellebore verde)
[Ranunculaceae] Ranunculus aconitifolius – Aconite-Leaf Buttercup (Ranuncolo a foglie di aconito)

  • Leaves look like Aconitum, hence the species epithet.


[Ranunculaceae] Thalictrum aquilegifolium – Columbine Mead-Rue (Pigamo colombino)
[Ranunculaceae] Trollius europeaus – Globeflower (Botton d’oro)
[Rosaceae] Geum rivale – Water Avens (Cariofillata dei ruscelli)


[Asteraceae] Centaurea spp.[Asteraceae] Crepis aurea – Golden Hawk's Beard (Radicchiella aranciata).[Boraginaceae] Echium vulgare – Viper’s Burgloss (Viperina azzurra comune).[Campanulaceae] Campanula trachelium – Nettle-leaved Bellflower (Campanula selvatica).
Left: [Asteraceae] Centaurea spp. Center Left: [Asteraceae] Crepis aurea – Golden Hawk's Beard (Radicchiella aranciata). Center Right: [Boraginaceae] Echium vulgare – Viper’s Burgloss (Viperina azzurra comune). Right: [Campanulaceae] Campanula trachelium – Nettle-leaved Bellflower (Campanula selvatica).

[Caprifoliaceae] Valeriana officinalis – Valerian (Valeriana comune).[Fabaceae] Onobrychis montana – Mountain Sainfoin (Lupinella montana).[Lamiaceae] Laminum maculatum – Spotted Dead Nettle (Falsa ortica macchiata).[Lamiaceae] Stachys sylvatica – Wood Woundwort (Betonica dei Boschi).
Left: [Caprifoliaceae] Valeriana officinalis – Valerian (Valeriana comune). Center Left: [Fabaceae] Onobrychis montana – Mountain Sainfoin (Lupinella montana). Center Right: [Lamiaceae] Laminum maculatum – Spotted Dead Nettle (Falsa ortica macchiata). Right: [Lamiaceae] Stachys sylvatica – Wood Woundwort (Betonica dei Boschi).

[Orchidaceae] Dactylorhiza maculata - Spotted Heath Orchid (Ochide macchiata).[Orchidaceae] Gymnadenia conopsea – Fragrant Orchid (Manina rosea).[Orchidaceae] Nigritella nigra rhellicani - Vanilla Orchid (Moretta, Vaniglia d’Alpe).[Orchidaceae] Traunsteinera globosa – Round-headed Orchid (Orchide dei pascoli).
Left: [Orchidaceae] Dactylorhiza maculata - Spotted Heath Orchid (Ochide macchiata). Center Left: [Orchidaceae] Gymnadenia conopsea – Fragrant Orchid (Manina rosea). Center Right: [Orchidaceae] Nigritella nigra rhellicani - Vanilla Orchid (Moretta, Vaniglia d’Alpe). Right: [Orchidaceae] Traunsteinera globosa – Round-headed Orchid (Orchide dei pascoli).

[Plantaginanceae] Digitalis lutea – Yellow Perennial Foxglove (Digitale gialla piccola).[Polygonaceae] Bistorta officinalis – Meadow Bistort (Poligono bistorta).[Polygonaceae] Bistorta vivipara – Alpine Bistort (Poligono viviparo).[Ranunculaceae] Thalictrum aquilegifolium – Columbine Mead-Rue (Pigamo colombino).
Left: [Plantaginanceae] Digitalis luteaYellow Perennial Foxglove (Digitale gialla piccola). Center Left: [Polygonaceae] Bistorta officinalis – Meadow Bistort (Poligono bistorta). Center Right:  [Polygonaceae] Bistorta vivipara – Alpine Bistort (Poligono viviparo). Right: [Ranunculaceae] Thalictrum aquilegifolium – Columbine Mead-Rue (Pigamo colombino).

[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus viridis – Green Hellebore (Ellebore verde).[Ranunculaceae] Ranunculus aconitifolius – Aconite-Leaf Buttercup (Ranuncolo a foglie di aconito).[Ranunculaceae] Ranunculus aconitifolius – Aconite-Leaf Buttercup (Ranuncolo a foglie di aconito).[Apiaceae] Astrantia major – Great Masterwort (Astranzia maggiore).
Left: [Ranunculaceae] Helleborus viridis – Green Hellebore (Ellebore verde). Center Left and Center Right: [Ranunculaceae] Ranunculus aconitifolius – Aconite-Leaf Buttercup (Ranuncolo a foglie di aconito). Right: [Apiaceae] Astrantia major – Great Masterwort (Astranzia maggiore).

Polenta cooking at Rifugio Branchino. Pizzoccheri - a Bergamasco dish with buckwheat pasta, potatoes and greens.Polenta and melted cheese. A tagliere (cutting board literally) with local meets and cheeses.
All about the food. Left: Polenta cooking at Rifugio Branchino. Center Left: Pizzoccheri - a Bergamasco dish with buckwheat pasta, potatoes and greens. Center Right: Polenta and melted cheese. Right: A tagliere (cutting board literally) with local meets and cheeses. 

Walking along Lago Branchino toward Passo Branchino.Approaching Lago Branchino and heading toward Passo Branchino.Walking along Lago Branchino toward Rifugio Branchino.
Left: View from Passo Val Vedra looking back toward Valcanale. Center and Right: Views of Lago Branchino.

Cows below Rifugio Branchino and above Baita Bassa del Monte Neel.Below Rifugio Branchino and above Baita Bassa del Monte Neel.Cows below Rifugio Branchino and above Baita Bassa del Monte Neel.
Scenes below Rifugio Branchino and above Baita Bassa del Monte Neel.

Trail 222 - Passo Branchino heading south.Hiking up Trail 220 with a pig.Passo Val Vedra looking approximately south.
Left: Trail 222 - Passo Branchino heading south. Center: Hiking up Trail 220 with a pig. Right: Passo Val Vedra looking approximately south toward the pianura padana.

Sign for the Sentiero dei Fiori.Sign explaining La Transumanza.
Left: Sign for the Sentiero dei Fiori. Right: Sign explaining La Transumanza.

Flower Close-Ups


All the photos up this point were taken on an iPhone 8. The pictures below were taken with a Canon EOS M6.

[Asteraceae] Cirsium spinosissimum - Spiniest Thistle (Cardo spinosissimo).[Orchidaceae] Nigritella nigra rhellicani - Vanilla Orchid (Moretta, Vaniglia d’Alpe).
Left: [Asteraceae] Cirsium spinosissimum - Spiniest Thistle (Cardo spinosissimo). Right: [Orchidaceae] Nigritella nigra rhellicani - Vanilla Orchid (Moretta, Vaniglia d’Alpe).

[Rosaceae] Geum rivale – Water Avens (Cariofillata dei ruscelli).[Polygonaceae] Bistorta officinalis – Meadow Bistort (Poligono bistorta).
Left: [Rosaceae] Geum rivale – Water Avens (Cariofillata dei ruscelli). Right: [Polygonaceae] Bistorta officinalis – Meadow Bistort (Poligono bistorta).

[Asteraceae] Centaurea spp.[Asteraceae] Centaurea spp.
[Asteraceae] Centaurea spp.

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