Today I would like to visit a place different from the ordinary! I think about it, but unfortunately this weekend I don’t have the time to go to Mongolia. Maybe there are some closer places which are similar. I talk with Efrem, my adventure mate. “I know a place perfect for us! And it is really close to home”. I already have the boots on.
We go through the Val di Non, homeland of the apples, the Trentigrana cheese and the small towns with bizarre names such as Brez, Cloz, Sfruz. In Cles we go ahead offroad, the trail becomes tighter at each hairpin turn and it ascends in the forest. We leave behind us the rural civilization; now there are only the blue sky, the grazings and some animals browsing the grass.
We park at the Dorigat Lake, which looks just a puddle of water in the shade of the Peller Mount. From here we go ahead on walk. Since the first steps, the path looks pleasant and never too hard: suitable to every kind of training. It is the perfect activity to relax our body and mind after the frenzy of the week. After a short flat walk, we flank the mountain and we reach Malga Clesera. It’s early morning and all inhabitants of this places are already intent in their daily activities. What a coincidence: we are hungry and we decide to have a tasty snack with a Casolet, a “caciotta” cheese typical of these places.
Now we are finally well-fed and we go on through the larches, reaching the Salare Lake and the Passo della Nana. Here we can finally admire the amazing landscape that we were waiting for: The Pian della Nana. Suddenly we are catapulted in the Scottish grassy moors or on the Mongolian uplands: but actually, this is Trentino, and it offers us an unexpected show. We are surrounded by kilometers of pristine meadows; the only obstacles that we can see are the mountains on the horizon. Peller, Palon, Cesta, Nana, Sasso Rosso, Cima Uomo, Cima dell’Omet, Pale della Valina and Castellazzo are the names of the nine mountains that surround and safeguard this Eden from the indiscreet gaze of the world. Below us, cows, sheeps, goats, horses and donkeys are browsing the grass.
The Pian della Nana represents the northern part of the Brenta Group of Dolomites and it is one of the less-known places of this mountain chain. Here there aren’t overhanging cliffs, steep gullies or dizzying ferratas. The ground is made with a very white karst limestone, contrasting with the surrounding red sandstone peaks. Anyway, this place instills peace, a kind of reconciliation with the elements and ourselves, that you can't find in more arduous places.
From the pass we descend among a myriad of blossomed dandelions and the groundhogs whistle as we passed. At the Tassulla hut we take a break on a wooden bench at the sun and we smell the air. They are cooking “polenta”: an irresistible smell of baked corn and sauces is coming out from the door.
But it’s late and we can’t stop. Luckily, once we completely circumvented the Peller Mount, we run into the square shape of a mountain hut.
“Let’s come in”, says the manager Rinaldo when we are at the door-sill. Inside, the location is completely made with wood, with a big stove in the middle of the living room.
Rinaldo has only five minutes to sit down at the table with us: “The Peller mountain hut is owned by the SAT (an alpine association in Trentino) but I take care of it like if it’s mine. I offer to hungry people coming all products that I produce and eat too, during the winter, in my cellar in Cles: speck, lard, bacon, sausages, sauerkrauts and Teroldego wine. These are all high-quality products” - he says with a smirk.
“I’ve been managing this mountain hut since nine years and it works perfectly. Before the retire I was an electrician and I can fend for myself in every profession. Here, if you can’t fend for yourself you can’t last for long.
I give you an example - still says Rinaldo - I had an old engine of a Fiat 127. Well, I fixed it and right now I use it like a current generator and, by passing cold water in the radiator, I also heats the water for the showers and the kitchen. That means fend for themselves.”
After a plentiful lunch, heated up by wine and relaxed by walk, we have a rest on the garden in front of the mountain hut.
“That was a great trip” I say to Efrem, which is lying down close to me, smoking a cigarette with his eyes close.
“Did you like it?” , he answered to me. “Where would you like to go next week?”
“Maybe the Ande?”
“I know a perfect place…”