Mountains. What is it about mountains that make them so compelling, so attractive and exhilarating? Is it the fresh air? Is it the (usually) cooler climate? Is it the vistas? Or, is it a combination of factors?
It seems May is the month everyone living in the Dolomites goes on holidays. Which is fine, except if you love shopping and a wide choice of restaurants to eat in. For us, there was the feeling of abandonment, which we were strangely okay with. It meant we didn’t have to constantly make choices about where to eat, where to shop, which town to visit, which activity to do to avoid the crowds… Our decisions were simple, which direction to start hiking, which trail to bike? May is the perfect time of year to visit the Dolomites if you like being active, but don’t like the crowds and mayhem that ensues.
Our decisions about which trails to explore were made even easier by the large snow banks still left behind by a long winter season. Flowers were poking their heads out where the snow had receded and thawed, ready to welcome the occasional promise of a spring.
There is a real solace in having the trails to yourself. You feel like an explorer, because these trails are fresh from winters blanket. The majestic towering grey and red cliffs of the Dolomites seemed more spectacular with few people around.
For me, the Dolomites and mountains in general, make me feel I have had a sense of accomplishment. I got some exercise in fresh, cool air (even though I am panting like a steam train and have peeled most of my layers off by now). I have made it to the top and have been rewarded with incredible views. Oh, those views, what a reward.