As we left Belluno it was overcast and cold. We crossed the Piave River at Belluno and started climbing uphill for the rest of the day! We had lunch at Nevegal Ski Resort which was on the trail. We then walked straight up the ski runs. Eventually the path dropped into a deep, dark forest. The heavy clouds hanging in the trees gave off an ethereal aura.
We wound our way around a beautiful, deep gorge. Bridges were built to navigate our way along the cliffs.
The last hour was an endless, very steep climb that ascended into the clouds.
By this time it was raining and the wind was fierce. We had no way of knowing where the refuge was. The GPS showed that we had arrived, but we could not find it and, as it turned out, had even passed it. On a whim, we walked up another path; and a building loomed out of the dense cloud. There were no lights and no sign of life. It looked as though the refuge was closed….a horrifying thought! I was beginning to think that we were going to have to huddle under the building and wait out the storm. However, I tried the door and it opened, we then went through another door and to our amazement there were people, food and warmth inside!! The place was a little rough (kind of dirty, cold rooms, no shower), but the non English speaking hut master was very pleasant and helpful. It was obvious that we were unexpected. We had to hang our wet clothing in the host’s room as our rooms had no heat. Our host, Alberto, told us that on a clear day there were views of Venice in the distance. We did have a very welcome, delicious dinner before adjourning into our very cold room for the night.