Starting height (m): 1.350
Top height (m): 2.280
Total heightdrop (m): 930
From the village of Mondrone follow towards Balme, passing by the houses in Molette. Just after a bend, you can spot a bridge and an iron building on the left, while on the right there is a steep gravel road which leads to Molera (1.478 mt). Drive the road or leave the car on the street and go on to Molera walking, adding another 30 minutes to the walk. When you reach a bend on a gravel road, just before a little village, there is a big wood showcase with directiond for the Molino Shelter and the Uja of Mondrone peak.
This time we don’t throw ourselves into the fray, and it already is great news!
Our friends are coming no less than from Hawaii and Isreal: from Hawaii four girls who are actually studying in Florence and from Israel a guy on his European tour.
I was saying we got organized, yes, because our last expierence with ballroom shoes, when we got to the Mount Robinet with our not so well organized friends from New York, Trekking Alps decided also to rent mountain boots, as a plus service for his customers, such a great service!
Unfortunately, the weather is not nice this time and low clouds obliged us to cover in plastic from the beginning. And in some steps time, the sauna effect comes in, as unavoidable as always one get the rain jacket on, more than ever when the humidity rate is this high and the backpacks are so full.
We begin to go up and the path is quite easy, just long and muddy, but we immediately have to stop to streap from all the layers that are making us feel so hot, we are already completely sweated. We know it will be a long day!
We go on and on, inside the low clouds and some meters are enough to not see one another anymore.
On the other hand, the landscape is really nice and particular, it doesn’t matter the sun is missing and we are not able to see kilometers down in the valley and up to the peaks, the rare moment we can glimpse the figure of the mountain in the distance, plunged in a sea of fog, are breathtaking.
“The real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth”
Li Lin Chi
At once, it seems we are on the set of some horror movie, with the killer hiding in the woods, shelterd by the fog, a chainsaw in his hands, is an unsettling feeling. But the athmosphere lighten up by the unstoppable chit-chat of our hawaiian friends who, incredibly, doesn’t feel the fatigue and keep talking and talking.
It is really nice, they are enjoying the path, they like our woods despite of the horrible weather which could have put off a lot of people. They really got in the spirit of our trekking so.
It is really a nice path, more or less well signaled and easily followable, it is never too steep or uneven, good for everybody. And I also believe it is really scenic – when clouds let one to see – and so colourful, these trees should have all the shades on green in spring time.
And then the snow comes. Before leaving, we decided not to take our snowshoes, a too heavy burden to bring and the weather forecast were saying there would not be snow anymore, after the last really hot days.
Well, we can continue to walk obviously, but I’m quite sure we would have liked not the have a constant flow of frozen snow going down along our ankles and feet. Anyway, I hate snowshoes and I’m grateful not to have to walk in those.
Maybe we could have spared us soaked feet, but here it is!
We are almost arrived, the shelter is up there, above our heads, somewhere.
The signs which lead us in the fog are becoming less and less frequent while we go on, maybe hidden in the fog or too far away for us to see them, who knows. Anyway, we are going on try after try and it is impossible even for Roberto, who knows so well this path, to recognize it, all lost in this thick fog which will make whoever lost.
A sudden ray of light pierce the clouds and let us see a little bit around us. Just some instants and Roberto point towards the right path, suddenly his orientation has come back.
A last hill and we are there, from below we hear the yells coming from who is there already, but we still don’t see it – and we won’t see it until we are just meters from it – we finally reach the shelter.
So happy to be here, we sprint the last steps, but a surprise is waiting for us at the door…
Yep, we have not thought about it before, just a little thing. The snow in front of the door, well frozen, don’t want to let us in and it is unuseful to try to shovel it away, it could take us hours and hours – maybe it is the similar name, but we have a dejà-vù feeling, at Molline shelter, buried under the snow.
We decide for an alternative solution: Roberto pull the door open just enough to let me slip inside, then finally in, I open one of the windows which will become our door.
Our luck is that the snow has not covered the windows too, and in minutes we are all inside, so happy to finally be there!
We get in, backpacks first and people after, make room for everybody and everything, leave all the soaked clothes in one corner and we are all barefoot on the other side. Everyone’s boots are totally wet and since there is not heater – humidity a lot, instead – tomorrow we will go down with wet feet, we are well aware of that.
First thing first, we light up the stove and put some water to boil for our well known ravioli; this time we decide not to bring a sauce and use some bouillon cube instead. Since we have not a lot of water, we melt some snow and make it boil, the buoillon cube will serve for the taste.
As soon as the water boil, we put in the ravioli, a first turn, than a second, and a third…and a lot more to follow, along with some good wine to let the smile up – a wine loved by our hawaiian friends, though it just is a carton wine – and some Martini, kindly offered by our israeli friend, which take the place of the after dinner liquor!
“Truly it may be said that the outside of a mountain is good for the inside of a man.”
We get to the end of our dinner, clean and rearrange all the stuff and the beds for the night, while our friends from Vertivalife arrive, following our tracks which had lead them out of the path. As soon as they get in, an amazing show has been set outside. We peer through the fogged little wind and we can see that clouds and fog are going down, leaning on the bottom of the valley and an incredible super bright moon had risen.
The show is just amazing, it seems midday while it is nine or ten in the night. There are a few stars in the sky, they are always there obviously, but their dim light is darkened by the brightness of this totally full moon and only the camera is able to catch some of them, right above the Uja of Mondrone, the peak behind the shelter.
We stay outside or at the window, alternating, and try to fill our eyes with this incredible sight, then the long night begin to weight on us and after the last sip of a hot tea, the voices grow dim and in minutes it’s total silence, everybody fully asleep.
See you tomorrow!
This article is available : Italian