So, it was August, we were in the Zoldo Dolomites and we were looking for an easy hike to spend the day without moving to far from our camp site. Our expectations weren’t high and we would have been happy with just relaxing in nature, but the outcome of our adventure turned out to be one of our best memories!
Lech dei Giai-Negher Lake
Leave the car in Sottoguda, at about 2 km before Malga Ciapela, before a bridge that leads into a tunnel. This place is known for the trail that takes you to the Serrai to visit the canyon. There is a parking on the right and a few meters ahead on the left, a dirt road that takes you into the forest, there you can find directions to the trail n. 688. Another way to reach the lake is from the Biois valley, on the side of Agordo. As a matter of fact, the double denomination is a local dispute: in the Biois valley the lake is known as Negher, in the Pettorina Valley (from which we took off from), it is known as Lech dei Giai.
The first part is modestly steep zig-zag through forest, crossing the road on some turns, and then leaving it to immerse completely into the forest, when reaching a certain altitude. We didn’t know what to expect and we were eager for finding out what would come. At some point while crossing the forest we finally spotted some view on the Marmolada group. The view gave us enormous comfort: we were getting somewhere. After some more walking the Franzei tableau finally opened up in front of us. It was like stepping into a fairy tail.
Marmots screaming and running around, little wooden lodges and cows lazying in the grass. We stop to eat our lunch meal, carried by the smooth sound of a romantic water stream. On the other side of the grassland a friendly group of horses approached. We probably could have stayed there for the entire day, but the curiosity to explore what held underneath the Auta mountain was to strong.
We were back on our feet and into the forest again, gaining altitude and coasting the Val de la Miniéra on our left. The landscape opened up, this time to fields of tall golden grass.
We still had some road ahead of us, and we were uncertain, we could tell that it was about to sunset. But we weren’t quite there. And this is what we would have missed out on.
Legends tell that the eivane, beautiful young women, would bathe here, and once, a man who interrupted this magical happening had been punished and transformed into a spring. It is easy to understand how this place can inspire wounder and magical tales. While crossing the spiral rock path that leads into the heart of the lake, it felt like stepping into a forbidden place. We naturally slowed down and tried to leave as little trace as possible. It was silent, intense.