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Sunday, July 29 and Monday, July 30
This was it - our last day in the Dolomites! All we needed to do was head down the easy trail back down to the parking lot, and our foot- powered travel on this trip was over. It had been a pretty successful venture, all things considered, although I thought I detected a little bit of grumbling over the ratio of work-to-relaxation.

Daryl's 'caving craving' had been stoked by the previous evening's walk past all sorts of interesting-looking cracks and crevices. He convinced me to go for a short caving expedition, before we headed back down to the cars.
courtesy DBoyd
courtesy DBoyd
Off to explore caves
Andrew Spelunking
Cave Entrance
With only cameras, headlamps and helmets, we headed a little ways back up the trail we'd come down the evening before. Daryl immediately located one cave very close to the trail. It turned out to be a downsloping crescent-shaped cave. Inside, once our eyes adjusted to the light, we could see how meltwater and joints were influencing it's shape and growth.
courtesy DBoyd
Cave Entrance
Old Snow
Cracks and fissures
Buoyed by this quick find, we spent the better part of an hour scouring the nearby dolomitic terraces. There were several crack-like holes, some of which did lead into caves. There was even a fair bit of snow in several of them. Daryl found some that had some promise, but we really didn't have time to explore them properly. It was time to head back.
Junction at Graffer
Our last day in the Dolomites was again a beautiful one. All in all, we had excellent weather on our trip, with really only one day of rain (actually, only a couple of hours during that day of rain), and with a few exceptions, most days were wall-to-wall sunshine.
Our hike down from the rifugio was quite delightful - it was along a trail that wound through scenic rolling meadows, and then down through beautiful forest. Very relaxing, and a fitting finale. Back at the Vallesinella parking lot, we caught the bus back to our cars.
courtesy DBoyd
Rifugio Graffer
Morning in the Brenta
Hiking below Corna Rossa
Pleasant forest trail
Interactive Trackmap & Photo Points - Hike back to Vallesinella - Click map to expand
Our flight back home left from Zurich the next day. Daryl was very concerned about positioning ourselves with a short trip to the airport, and so he advocated a longer drive on this day, putting us within a couple of hours' drive of the airport. Having no particular reason to object, that's exactly what we did, driving for several scenic hours through the alps, and arriving at the swiss city of Chur in the evening. We checked ourselves into the European equivalent of the Holiday Inn - a chain called 'Pyramid', and had a quick dinner at the ridiculously overpriced McDonalds down in the lobby.

The weather, seemingly having realized that we were done with climbing and hiking, began an extended period of rain, continuing well into the next day. Thank you, Mr. Weather-man!

It was now time to head home to Canada. Hope you enjoyed the presentation, and bye-bye until next time!
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