Friday, December 30, 2011

All Things Vacca

Albergo Rifugio Bazena is a mountain hotel nestled in the Adamello mountains of Lombardy less than two miles west of Croce Domini Pass. We stayed there last October after our hike to Punta Setteventi.

In the parking lot I had to negotiate the overtures of a trio of Italian alpine male doggies who form the official Bazena welcoming committee: a Chow Chow named Kali, a Boxer named Bobbie, and Fulmine, a fluffy grey dog with big ears, a bigger nose, and all the fur in the world.

Bobbie and Fulmine were so effusive that Mom decided to carry me in my transcontinental house. She worried they would lift me off the ground with their noses and turn me into a doggie seesaw. I was bummed. I wanted to be a doggie seesaw--for a moment.

Fulmine spends his days escorting hikers up and down the trail. Early the next morning, he guided us for a quarter mile before dashing back down once it became clear to him that we knew what we were doing. (“Fulmine” is the Italian word for “lightning”.)

The hike was fairly easy until we came round a corner to 8,000 ft Passo della Vacca (Cow Pass). The wind practically knocked me over, and I had to hide in Mom's jacket.

My snuggle position made it very difficult to see Lago della Vacca (Cow Lake).

Because of the wind at the pass, we completely missed the boulder that supposedly looks like a cow. A woman pointed it out to us when we were farther down the trail and called it Sasso della Vacca (Cow Boulder). I’m with Mom. I just couldn’t see the likeness.

With our blessing, Dad scampered off to summit Mount Frerone. He sometimes has his SMMC moments: See Mountain Must Climb. I understand because I often have my SSME moments: See Something Must Eat.

On the way down the mountain with Mom, we met a German shepherd held close by a man who smiled at us and asked Mom, “E' un cucciolo?”

“Si,” Mom said, confidently.

“No,” I yipped, “I’m not a puppy!”

Good old Fulmine met us on the trail and escorted us for the last quarter mile down to the parking lot where he and Bobbie and Kali all sent us off in style.

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