Relaxing stage, quite short and smooth (only one climb, at the end), along the Sentiero dei Fiori, in front of the gigantic Monte Disgrazia (3,678 m).
The arrival at the wild plateau that houses Rifugio Ventina is beautiful: the glacial tongue of the Vedretta del Ventina breaks up in a thousand torrential streams that irrigate the plain - a landscape for gold seekers.
The part of the 305 path, between Alpe dell'Oro and Alpe Vezzada Inferiore, is invaded by very high and invasive vegetation where you have to make your way: keep an eye on the GPS.
MTB: to avoid the part of the path invaded by vegetation (impossible by bike), take the 304 (carriage road) to descend comfortably to Pian del Lupo.
The only water points are on Alpe dell'Oro and Alpe Forbesina.
We continue on the Alta Via della Valmalenco, going down (about 100 m drop) to the Piani di Fora. We continue to descend (about 250 m drop) and reach Alpe Fora, where we take the Sentiero dei Fiori, a long and pleasant cross path towards Alpe dell'Oro. We pass the intersection on a wide carriage path and, cutting the hairpin bend, we continue on our path. The vegetation thickens and the path almost disappears. You have to look hard to spot it.
At the Alpe Monterosso Inferiore we turn south and, along the Mallero stream, we pass the Alpe Vazzeda Inferiore and we reach the Alpe Forbesina. Those with a sweet tooth can make the detour to Rifugio Tartaglione-Crespo and try the famous pancakes.
We cross the Pian del Lupo and the Sissone torrent and we start to climb the Ventina Valley (approximately 300 m height difference) . After passing the crowded Rifugio Gerli-Porro we reach (immediately after) the beautiful Rifugio Ventina. The environment around the mountain lodge is splendid: the remains of the glacial tongue of Disgrazia break up in a thousand torrential streams that irrigate the plain - a landscape for gold seekers.
Contrary to what it seems to evoke, the name Monte Disgrazia (misfortune mount) comes from the Lombard term des'giascia, or "de-ice", for the thawing of the glacier: the mountain that melts.
Its difficult peak of 3,678 m was conquered for the first time by some English mountaineers in 1862.
Along Sentiero dei Fiori we occasionally spot one of the noblest of alpine flowers, the beautiful martagon lily, a discreet flower of rare elegance, one of the most popular of the entire mountain flora.
Sacred plant to the god of war Mars, to whom it owes its name, lilium martagon, accompanied the ancient Roman soldiers on the battlefield as it was considered a valid amulet.
Just above the Val Ventina you can admire an enormous millenary larch (the first ring is from the year 1007), easily reachable thanks to the Millennial Larch Path.
The area is full of very old trees (mainly larches, but there are also many centuries-old Swiss stone pines).
To conclude with joy a nice lunch, nothing is better than the panadel, a typical Valtellina apple (and egg) pie cooked in a pan, like an omelette.
Rifugio Tartaglione-Crispo, just above Pian del Lupo. Tel. +39 347 85 08 896 - +39 333 17 47 543
Rifugio Gerli-Porro, at the entrance to the upper plain of the Ventina Valley. Tel. +39 0342 451404
Rifugio Ventina, shortly after Rifugio Gerli-Porro. Tel. +39 0342 451458
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The nearest location reachable by car is Chiareggio.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The closest location reachable by bus is Chiesa in Valmalenco, starting from the city of Sondrio.
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.