The Dolomites are unique and majestic explosions of nature, they mesmerise me every time. Leaning out of the car window as we climb up and up into the curves of the road, carving into the deep woods, I’m hoping the sun will hold out a little longer.
The forests hug the mountains and are dense and magical; perhaps all kinds of creatures reside in the receding grid of trees, it’s what we don’t know that is slightly disarming. I feel eleven again playing man-hunt with my siblings. Luxuriously, there is no phone signal to stalk us, only sky and mountains and sun-bronzed clouds. No one to reach out to or call; an anxiety-inducing concept perhaps or a momentary detox.
The hum of the town has disappeared, and we’re lifted out up and over the valley. The air is crisp, the sky limpido, the silent streams translucent – flora and fauna shifting for the flourishing season ahead.
Mount Serva is finally snowcapped to the joy of all local Bellunesi who’ve been dying all January to pop up for a Saturday morning ski before lunch in the piazza. (It’s been a long winter of complaining that there’s been “no snow!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it.)
Dramatic piles of abandoned logs; an abandoned rural church perched on a hilltop; trees bare, stripped and in need of spring-love.
Here on Mount Serva, which is apparently the ‘the mountain of the Belluno natives,’ my mum will be thrilled to discover that Geranium Argentum can be found – that is silver geranium to us. It’s an extremely rare flower that survived the Ice Age – no grazing is allowed in case the delicacies are gobbled up by ignorant sheep. I didn’t find one though, either I wasn’t lucky this time or did not look hard enough – I won’t lie I was probably just distracted by the view.
In terms of wildlife, the majestic Golden Eagle is a regular visitor to these parts, swooping over his snow-kissed kingdom, along with the Honey Buzzard and Rock Partridge. No these aren’t characters from Winnie the Pooh!
A couple of early evening hikers and joggers wind their way solitarily up the gruelling road that eventually spills out over a devastating view of the entire province.
I was told that the fading sunlight turns the Dolomites a dusky pink.
Next time, of course we’ll run it, (ahem.) I just need the right shoes and a guarantee that I won’t miss the fiery sunset.