Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A Loop Hike in Valzurio: Baita Moschel to Rifugio Rino Olmo and Back

Trail 320 below Rifugio Rino Olmo View north from Trail 320 - toward Monte Ferrante Tracks for Valzurio hike
Left: Trail 320 below Rifugio Rino Olmo.
Center: Trail 320 looking north toward Monte Ferrante.
Right: The tracks and elevation profile for this hike.


Duration: 3 hours (walking time)
Elevation: 688 m
Length: 10 km
Location: Italy, Lombardy, Bergamo, Val Seriana


(We did this hike at the end of April 2024, and we are just getting around to writing about it.)

We were last in this area in November 2022 (see A Sunday Hike in Valzurio, Val Seriana). This time we arrived in a friend’s jeep past where we ended the 2022 hike and then started hiking. Honestly, it felt a little indulgent. We parked more or less where there are a series of small waterfalls called the Marmitte dei Giganti (here).

The first time we were in this area was in July 2018 when we passed just above the Baite del Möschel; we were finishing our 7-day hike: Seven Days on the Sentiero delle Orobie – A Journey Through the Bergamo Alps.

On this hike, we followed the trails 311, 311A, and 320. These links to the CAI web site are useful as well as the overall Geoportale (look for "mappe") page for seeing all the trails.

Finally, we had a quick lunch at Rifugio Rino Olm and then stopped and had a coffee at Baita Bruseda where we met a guy renting part of the baita.


[Family] Genus species – {Common names in English; Italian}

[Asteraceae] Tossilago farfara – {Coltsfoot; Tossilaggine comune}
[Asteraceae] Tossilago farfara [Asteraceae] Tossilago farfara

[Asparagaceae] Scilla bifora – {Alpine squill; Scilla silvestre} (white and violet-blue)
[Asparagaceae] Scilla bifora (white) [Asparagaceae] Scilla bifora 

[Boraginaceae] Pulmonaria sp. - {Lungwort; Polmonaria}
[Boraginaceae] Pulmonaria sp. 

[Brassicaceae] Draba aizoides - {Yellow Whitlow Grass; Draba aizoide}
[Brassicaceae] Draba aizoides [Brassicaceae] Draba aizoides

[Pinaceae] Larix decidua - {European Larch; Larice comune}
[Pinaceae] Larix decidua

[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus niger – {Christmas Rose; Rosa di natale}
[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus niger 

[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus viridis – {Green Hellebore; Elleboro verde}
[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus viridis


A cold house along trail 320. Baita Bruseda 1499 m
Left: The Selter Ruí - a cold room in Valzurio.
Right: Baita Bruseda at 1499 m.

The Selter Ruí (or "cold hole") was once used as a storage and conservation area for dairy products coming from the Alpine huts further up the mountain. "This was due to the cold air currents: in winter air rises in the ground, that freezes, and in summer the air falls and cools down". "At the mouth of one of these outlets of frozen air our farmers built a small room where milk and cheese could be kept in the cool" (Rocco Zambelli from "La Valzurio", 1987) The small rectangular-shaped basement room has boulders leaning against a paleolandslide (rui-rovina), and features a barrel vault (hence the name selter).

Coming down from Rifugio Rino Olmo The meadow below Baita Bruseda - along trail 320
Left: Coming down from Rifugio Rino Olmo along trail 320, view west.
Right: The meadow below Baita Bruseda - along trail 320.

Marmitte dei Giganti in Valzurio View from trail 320 looking down Valzurio
Left: Marmitte dei Giganti in Valzurio.
Right: View from trail 320 looking down Valzurio.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A Hike from Botta di Sedrina to Canto Alto

Trail 507 with Canto Alto cross visible on left on hill  Highland cattle at prati Parini Tracks from Hike from Botta to Canto Alto and Back
Left: Trail 507 for Canto Alto, with Canto Alto on hill on the left.
Center: Highland cattle at Agriturismo Prati Parini.
Right: The tracks and elevation profile for this hike.


It seems to be our ritual to hike at least once a year to Canto Alto, the closest mountain to us. At 1146 m (3,760 ft), it’s visible from a good part of the east and south side of Bergamo.

Today, we hiked to Canto Alto from Botta di Sedrina and back. More precisely, we started in Borgo Mediglio above Botta. We walk up to Agriturismo prati Parini and then on to Canto Alto following trail 507. Botta di Sedrina is the first village you see on the right as you head into the Val Brembana. You can get there by bus from Bergamo.

The last time we were at prati Parini was back in 2021 during the pandemic when we planned one of our epic-get-out-of-the-house walks. See Hike from Bergamo to Prati Parini and Back. That hike was 28 km and a bit of fool’s errand. Today’s hike is reasonable 11.5 km.

Duration: 6.5 hours (including snack and lunch stop)
Elevation: 678 m
Length: 11.5 m
Location: Botta (frazione of Sedrina), Bergamo, Italy


We won’t say too much about this hike other than it was a welcome relief, and boy is good to be back! We were in the States for just under two weeks and while we had a great visit to Connecticut and Oklahoma, we were missing our walks and hikes like this one. Also, we missed the spontaneous way someone invites us to take a hike. In this case we are visiting where a friend was born and lived (Botta), and exploring the hills of her childhood. Add to that a simple meal at a rifugio and we’re happy. And yes, even buying a bottle of water is welcome instead of the humongous water glasses in US restaurants, always filled with water and with too much ice. Do you appreciate something when it’s scarcer?

On this hike we walked by houses and property with little or no fencing or gates, passing through private property as the trail took goes. It’s normal. In Oklahoma (we stayed in Norman), land tends to be fenced off and you wouldn’t dare enter, let alone walk anywhere because there aren’t trails, at least obvious ones.


Some plants we noted on this hike:

[Family] Genus species - English common name (Italian common name)

[Amaryllidaceae] Allium ursinum - Bear Garlic (Aglio orsino)
[Amaryllidaceae] Allium ursinum

[Amaryllidaceae] Narcissus poeticus - Poet's Narcissus (Narciso dei poeti)
[Amaryllidaceae] Narcissus poeticus

[Aquifoliaceae] Ilex aquifolium - English Holly (Agrifoglio)
[Aquifoliaceae] Ilex aquifolium

[Asparagaceae] Polygonatum multiflorum - Lady's Seal (Sigillo di Salomone maggiore)
[Asparagaceae] Polygonatum multiflorum

[Asteraceae] Achillea millefolium - with Trichodes alvearius (soldier beetle)
[Asteraceae] Achillea millefolium - with Trichodes alvearius (soldier beetle)

[Caryophyllaceae] Saponaria ocymoides - Tumbling Ted / Rock Soapwort (Saponaria rossa). The specific epithet ocymoides means "resembling basil" (genus: Ocimum).
[Caryophyllaceae] Saponaria ocymoides

[Euphorbiaceae] Euphorbia helioscopia - Madwoman's Milk (Euforbia calenzuola)
[Euphorbiaceae] Euphorbia helioscopia

[Orchidaceae] Cephalanthera longifolia – Narrow-leaved Helleborine (Cefalantera maggiore)
[Orchidaceae] Cephalanthera longifolia – Narrow-leaved Helleborine (Cefalantera maggiore)

[Orchidaceae] Gymnadenia sp.
[Orchidaceae] Gymnadenia sp

[Ranunculaceae] Hepatica nobilis leaves
[Ranunculaceae] Hepatica nobilis leaves

[Ranunculaceae] Trollius europaeus - Globeflower (Botton d'oro)
[Ranunculaceae] Trollius europaeus

[Rosaceae] Crataegus monogyna - Common Hawthorn (Biancospino comune)
[Rosaceae] Crataegus monogyna

[Rosaceae] Filipendula vulgaris - Dropwort (Filipendola)
[Rosaceae] Filipendula vulgaris


View South toward Monte Bastia View from trail 507 north toward Zogno in Val Brembana View from trail 507 back toward Bergamo with Città Alta visible
Left: View south toward Monte Bastia.
Center: View from trail 507 north toward Zogno in Val Brembana.
Right: View from trail 507 back toward Bergamo with Città Alta visible.

View from Prati Parini - looking north Prati Parini pasture The last stretch up to Canto Alto on Trail 507 
Left: View from Prati Parini - looking north.
Center: Pasture of Prati Parini.
Right: The last stretch on trail 507 up to Canto Alto.

Starting the hike in Mediglio Starting the hike - first few turns and then up Sign explaining the Borgo of Mediglio (Botta)
Left: Starting the hike in Borgo Mediglio.
Center: Don't forget to turn the corner in Borgo Mediglio to find the trail up.
Right: A sign explaining this history of Borgo Mediglio.

On Trail 507 - two figures silhouetted against the sky Larva of a salamander Above the Borgo of Mediglio path through grass A treem blooming with Canto Alto cross in background
Left: On Trail 507 - two figures silhouetted against the sky.
Center left: Larva of a salamander found in a pool of water along the trail.
Center right: Above the Borgo Mediglio, the path through grass.
Right: A tree leafing out with Canto Alto's cross in the background.

Highland cattle at prati Parini in late afternoon Getting close to a tree to investigage Descending Canto Alto with view west toward Valle Imagna
Left: Highland cattle at prati Parini in the late afternoon.
Center: A hiker gets close to a tree to examine it.
Right: Descending Canto Alto with view west toward Valle Imagna,

Above the Borgo of Mediglio
Above Borgo Mediglio - view west.