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Wednesday, July 18
To The High Country!
Ok! It was now time for a change of scenery. We hopped into our cars, and headed north, through rolling hills and low mountains, to the city of Trento, a major center situated in the valley of the Adige river. We crossed through Trento, stopping to locate a photo shop so that Pu and Daryl could both get replacement parts for their cameras (a lens cap for Daryl, and a new filter for Pu, who you may remember had smashed the filter on his lens on the Che Guevara route).

After Trento, we headed west, climbing up through beautifully paved and twisty roads into the central dolomites. Our objective was a famous (in Italian circles, anyway) sub-group called the 'Pale di San Martino'.
courtesy PChen
First view of mighty Pale
We drove, climbing, climbing and climbing some more, through the lower forests and then open meadows, heading to Passo Rolle, a high 2000m (6,000+ ft) pass where we got our first glimpse of 'the Pale'.

Pu was stunned. It was his first time seeing the magical sight of a group of high Dolomite peaks soaring out of green pastureland. The pale, whitish color of the rock made the towers almost seem too bright with respect to the rest of the landscape. The height, too, was most impressive, with the finger of the Cimon della Pala rising up vertically almost 5,000 feet above the meadows below.
First view of the mighty Pale
After soaking in this view for a bit, and telling everyone in our group that 'We'll be climbing up THERE tomorrow', we set off to find a campground in the little town nestled at the base of these peaks: San Martino di Castrozza.

San Martino di Castrozza is a typical modern dolomite town - rustic-looking in a clean sort of way, austrian/german influenced mountain-chalet style architecture, and lots of expensive hotels and shops in the town center. We scouted around and finally located the campground, tucked away on the back end of the town. It was called 'Sass Maor', and is a typical Italian Campground: packed mostly with permanent camper trailers, a few spots for tenters, extensive bathroom and service facilities, and a not-so-inexpensive price. It was still what we wanted though, which was a quick place to pitch our tents and get going early in the morning. We had a big day ahead of us tomorrow!
We hit the sack early, so that we could be up and at the lower station of the chairlift that would take us partway up to the start of our ferrata (The chairlift starts operating at 8:00am).
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