A balancing act around the Catinaccio

Manuel Demetz
Family , Nature , Hiking

A balancing act around the Catinaccio

Walking with a pushchair in Carezza

Fresh air, exercise, nature, landscape - a dose of the great outdoors can at times be a great energy booster. Almost like children, who give strength and meaning to the lives of their parents with their curiosity, laughter and carefree attitudes. Anyone intending to spend a day with both – Mother Nature and children – should however be warned: preparation is everything!

Before our week in the mountains this year - the first time as a foursome - we did indeed make sure we were well prepared. There were to be no via ferrata or mountain-biking adventures, as the idea was to spend each and every day with our children - especially as the older one would soon be starting school. With paternal pride I can say that the lad is anything but a couch potato and he is always up for a challenging walk! Our eight-month-old baby can on the other hand comfortably enjoy a ride in her pushchair, all with full suspension. The plan is clear: we will be having active week’s walking! And, according to the forecast, the weather in the Dolomites also looks set fair.

Pushchairs: more than just for sitting in

As a responsible mother, my wife has gathered some ideas for hiking with a pushchair and asked the visitor information office in the Carezza hiking area whether the routes she has chosen are as promised. For the first four days of our stay, we cope very well – we visit the huts at the Stadlalm, the Moseralm, the Heinzen Alm and walk the Panoramic Trail, all with no problem - our “off-road buggy” is just the job. We wander over hill and dale, with many a small detour perhaps, but always on the move. The little one seems perfectly comfortable, sometimes looking round inquisitively at the Alpine greenery, sometimes sleeping deeply and relaxed as we walk along. While it might not be the most demanding Alpine tour for my wife and myself, hiking with children turns out to be real experience! At the very latest on the fifth day…

Stop on a viewpoint in Carezza
Catinaccio  in its full splendor
Hiking trail also with the smallest in Carezza

Let’s try something new!

On the fourth night we sit on the balcony of our family room and look up at the steep face of the Catinaccio massif. “I wouldn’t mind trying the via ferrata on the Roda di Vaèl, the Red Wall”, my wife whispers, as I pour her another drop of the Cabernet-Sauvignon Campaner. I smile benignly and think…

At the breakfast buffet the next day I suggest a change of plan: “Today we could do a walk right under the Roda di Vaèl!” and, as expected, I earn a sceptical look from my wife. It takes a while, until after the fruit salad has been consumed, before she is convinced of my proposal. After breakfast we set off: my wife suggests that we might perhaps ask at the tourist office whether our excursion is actually possible. Full of confidence, however, I answer: “Don’t worry, we’ll find a route - I’ve got a topographic map on my phone!”

Trip with a stunning panorama in Carezza
Relax a little bit in the sun
Stunning nature in Carezza

Up to the Red Wall

The starting point for our epic trip is the Costalunga Pass. Our little boy is highly motivated - my mountaineering stories at breakfast have certainly worked. The weather is also OK, and wife and baby too are in good spirits. We first walk east along a forest trail towards the Catinaccio massif. I keep my smartphone ready to hand. “The path seems perfect so far!”, I say - and secretly hope that it will stay that way. But (as might have been expected) after nearly an hour’s walking comes a problem: a path with a not inconsiderable gradient.

Creativity is the keyword!

We are determined to succeed and I trust (for want of anything else ;-)) that we can do it. There is no thought of turning back! I go ahead, my wife comes after me - and between us we carry the pushchair like a royal sedan, carrying our little queen - well, princess - up to the top of the slope. Our not-so-little boy walks alongside or ahead of us and tells us the way. We end up sweating furiously, of course - but hey, the journey is the reward!

Once we reach the top the Red Wall is - just as I had imagined - almost close enough to touch. Despite the complications (or perhaps because of them), this outing with children and pushchair provided us with exactly what we wanted: an adventure! The via ferrata on the Roda di Vaèl could certainly have been no more exhilarating - and would probably not have offered as much exercise either.

Wonderful panorama with Catinaccio
Direction hiking trail in Carezza
The Catinaccio part of the Unesco World Heritage

The moral of the story…

Just as this walk was surprising and adventurous, all the others we did during our holiday were free of difficulties and problems. The natural world of the Dolomites around the Val d’Ega is (almost) a walk in the park with a pushchair! We really love this valley because, whether with children or as a couple as in the past, the forests and mountains of the Dolomites are perfect for indulging our passion for the outdoors to the full. There is always something new and exciting to discover. An all-round nature adventure – this is what makes the Val d’Ega so worthwhile for us!

Hiking trail for all familymembers in Carezza
Comfortable in the stroller in Carezza
Walk a little bit in Carezza

Manuel Demetz

Planning new routes, testing new bikes, discovering new valleys and mountain trails – these are Manuel’s true passions! His bike is almost always on his mind – not just when he works as a Content Scout at clicktext, the South Tyrolean agency for corporate content...