The Harder the Hike, The Better the Wine Tastes

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We set off in the bus to another awesome promonotory from which to view the Alps and this beautiful countryside. Winding our way through a mountain village, we took a turn and then began winding up steeper and steeper hills. The bus could barely make it around the hairpins, and one of our Italian tourism reps, Antonello, said he was afraid of heights, covering his eyes as the pebbles flew off the side down the cliffs beside this thin road. He asked to close the bus curtains.

Our destination was a gigantic dam in the Gran Paradis National Park, with huge cement letters across its broad face that said Citti di Torino. As we climbled up and over the dam, we saw an aquamarine lake that building this dam created. Up above the lake were dramatic snowy peaks, and a big set of mountains ringing the water. We were heading way, way up there, to that hut with the yellow roof. Wow it was far up!

An hour of hard hiking, using rocks as stairs and walking through soft forests and then, hiking above the tree line on broad flat rocks. “No one said it was going to be easy,” I laughed, and indeed, it was one of those hikes that makes you feel great because it was tough. Looking down on that steep path and this light blue water when we reached the Refugio Pontessi, it all felt just right. Inside, a feast cooked on the mountain awaited. Everything comes up to this remote hut via a cable car that’s strung all the way from the bottom. No way you can pack that much up here!

We enjoyed our lunch and I got a chance to catch a snooze in the sun while looking out at that magnificent lake and the towering Alps right behind. If you can imagine, these photos barely do this serence and incredible place justice.