A very long stage, with slow and tiring climbs. However, it can be easily broken by taking advantage of several stage points.
The views from the mountain are open and beautiful on Alpe Devero, Alpe Veglia, and Val Cairasca. The highlights are the view of Monte Leone (3,240 m: a gigantic pyramid of stone and ice) and the panoramic Sentiero Dei Fiori (Flower trail).
The stretch from Alpe Veglia to the Rifugio Crosta is a variation of the Sentiero Italia (which instead descends directly to San Domenico), which is preferred for panoramic reasons: the greater effort is rewarded by the beauty of the Sentiero Dei Fiori.
The stage is quite demanding: the most tired ones can break it at Alpe Veglia.
In the last part of the cross path, leading to the Valtendra pass, some parts are landslides: they have exposed passages, equipped with chains, and it is necessary to be careful and have a firm step.
Some equipped sections (almost superfluous) on the Sentiero Dei Fiori, up to Rifugio 2000.
We descend swiftly to Alpe Devero. After passing the wide plateau, we begin the long climb on a beaten track towards the Scatta d'Orogna pass (approx. 800 m height difference), guarded by the imposing Punta Della Rossa (or Rothorn, 2,887 m). An initial part takes us to Alpe Buscagna Inferiore, where the Vallone di Buscagna begins. We climb it on sloping ground, with a very scenic route, along the Rio bearing the same name. North, we admire the Monte Cervandone tower (3,210 m).
Out of the woods, the climb becomes once again steeper and we reach the Scatta d'Orogna (2,461 m). A quick descent (about 100 m) takes us to the narrow Orogna Lake, which looks like a river. A cross path begins towards the nearby Passo di Valtendra: some of the final parts of the path, on soil, are collapsed and exposed (we find some chains), and we must pay attention.
We begin the descent (approximately 750 m drop): after a first steep section, between large stones, we reach Pian Sass Mor and the path becomes sloping ground, up to the beautiful Alpe Veglia. In front of us, we admire the enormous Monte Leone (3,240 m), a sort of monumental pyramid of stone and ice. Those who feel exhausted can break the stage here.
Instead of continuing on the GTA, we take the track towards the pass under Punta Maror (approximately 200 m height difference), to take the Sentiero Dei Fiori. From the pass, the view opens onto the Val Cairasca - the view of the underlying gorge is impressive, carved by ice and water. The Sentiero Dei Fiori is a cross path in continuous ups and downs, very scenic and pleasant, wide and well maintained, with some short aided sections (only for safety reasons). We pass the Rifugio 2000 (where the chairlift arrives) and continue transversally, towards Moiero, after which we are on a comfortable roadway. You walk quickly, but the stage is long and tiring. Finally, we reach Rifugio Crosta, located in a panoramic position at the entrance to the narrow Vallone di Solcio, under Mount Cistella (2,880 m).
Rifugio Crosta is managed by Marina and Enrico, an amazing couple who left the plain to follow their great passion for the mountains (the "call" to manage the mountain lodge came while they were walking the Camino de Santiago).
They give their guests a warm welcome.
From Rifugio Crosta, looking towards Monte Cistella, it looks like we are spotting a sleeping giant, lying down.
These mountains are rich in legends: in particular, Monte Cistella seems to have been the magical place chosen by the witches for their rituals. They tell the story of a green trail that sometimes appeared above the mountain: it was a sign that at that moment witches were at work with their magic.
The most famous of the Walser cheeses is certainly the bettelmatt: it is produced in only 7 mountain pastures, in the Antigorio and Formazza valleys. Among the historical structures of local dairy production, we should mention the Latteria Sociale Antigoriana in Crodo, in the Antigorio Valley.
The term derives from battel, which means "the collecting of alms", and matt "pasture": since the 13th century, in fact, the Walser used this highly prized cheese as a trade good.
Rifugio Città di Arona, near Alpe Veglia. Tel. +39 0324 780837
Rifugio 2000, near Camporino. Tel. +39 0324 72466
Rifugio Pietro Crosta,at the entrance to the Vallone di Solcio. Tel. +39 0324 634183
Starting point reachable by car (the road arrives 10 minutes from Alpe Devero).
Starting point reachable by bus.
The nearest location reachable by bus is Alpe Devero, starting from the town of Domodossola and with a change Baceno (where you can take the shuttle service).
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.