Day 2 – Lagazoui to Citta di Fiume (20.5 Miles – 7,493 feet of descent – 4,790 feet of gain) With a successful day one in the books, the group was excited to see what the next day had in store for us. All of us felt extremely fortunate to have made it up to Lagazoui for the night. By making the last gondola up for the night, we were able to set ourselves up for a great day two. The plan was to start earlier (around 6:30) and try to push the pace a touch more to hopefully avoid another afternoon thunderstorm. The only problem with this was that day two was actually a longer day than the first. All of us were under the impression that day one was the longest, but we added up the route, we were clearly mistaken. Even with the early start, Matt and I decided to get up even earlier to hopefully get some good sunrise shots from Lagazoui and the nearby cliff area with a stunning cross/crucifix on it. I’m thankful we did, it was one of the highlights of the trip for me. The wind whipped across the top of the cliff and I shivered while still recovering mentally from the rainstorm endured the day before. But, it was all worth it. Once we downed some breakfast and packed some extra items for snacks along the trail, we were off. The descent down Lagazoui was beautiful and I found myself wanted to slow down to soak it all in. The day went by quickly as we attempted to click off some miles a little faster than day one. I’m not sure how successful we really were at that, but our intent was there. Day two was highlighted by two relatively minor wrong turns. We received some map help from a few hikers and recovered from this route uncertainty well. The sky threatened with rain towards the end of the day, but held off until the late evening hours at Citta di Fiume. After 7 hours and 45 minutes of travel through some of the most beautiful terrain I have ever seen, we arrived at Citta di Fiume. The evening spent at this Rifugio was definitely a highlight for me. We stayed up late and reveled in the events of the day. Many “pitchers” of wine were consumed as we settled into our newfound routine of bouncing from Rifugio to Rifugio. Day two was a resounding success.
Day 3 – Citta di Fiume to Vazzoler (13.9 Miles – 4,318 feet of descent – 3,737 feet of gain) Before we settled in to our celebratory mood the evening of day two, we did manage to determine that the following day would finally be a bit of a break. Our mileage was estimated to be around 12 miles and with the weather looking a bit sketchy this was a relief. It had rained fairly heavily that night and we awoke to an eerie haze covering the Rifugio. While the cool weather was welcome considering the heat we’d been running through the first two days, I was hopeful the rain would hold off. By some act of God it did. We enjoyed cool temperatures the entire day and seriously wonderful cloud cover. Highlights of this day include; a stop at Rifugio Staulanza for the best strudel of the trip, our first mountain cow sighting, a shit-ton of goats (and Breein being deathly afraid of them) and a long stop for lunch at a Rifugio while being waited on by a Romanian woman who seemingly spoke 12 languages. Sweet mountain lakes were passed, a few snow fields were crossed and we even tagged Rifugio Tissi for an insanely impressive overhang. We arrived at Rifugio Vazzoler after our shortest day on the trail yet (5:59) and enjoyed a much needed break. It was again a successful day and one that was just as bit as memorable as the first two. I finally broke down and showered for the first time during the run. Our Rifugio had us all in the same room which made prep for the next day much easier. We settled into our now familiar routine of red wine and trail talk. Day four was going to be our last long day, so we called it a night a bit earlier than our evening in Citta di Fiume to get some solid rest.