September 8, 2019.
It rained all night. I didn’t sleep well. My mind was spinning listening to the rain. (How could I hike in the rain and snow day after day? – oh my!) I was glad my roommates wanted the window open. Cramped quarters but at least there was fresh mountain air.
In the morning I completely reorganized my backpack for heavy weather so everything would stay dry in a trash compactor bag inside the backpack. I brought a Costo trash compactor bag from home because it is the strongest lightweight water tight large bag that I have ever found.
I collapsed the internal shelf in my backpack that helps keep heavy items close to my back in order to use the waterproof trash compactor bag. It was now more time consuming to pack my backpack because I have to load the backpack in a way the heavy items are high and close to my back. If heavy items sink to the back of the pack as I walk, the pack trys to pull me backwards causing me to lean forward causing muscle strain. There is an art to it. I was the last one out of the refugio that morning. I’m slow.
About a mile out I enountered a large flock of sheep and the sheep herder. He was in his 50s decked out in wool clothing wearing a rain poncho that was being blown in the wind causing his trousers to be soaked. He was smoking a cigar that I smelled 100 yds away. His dogs ran up to me, sniffed, and then ran back to the herd. We exchanged “Guten tags,” as I passed him. More german is spoken here than italian. I pondered how different our lives were. In that moment we did share the commonality of that wet, cold, miserable storm.
It was a 2 hour hike to Refugio Sennes in rain/snow slush. My plan was to do some side hikes and photography before proceeding to Refugio Sennes. I hiked up to a ridge near the refugio and couldn’t see anything because the big peaks were socked in with clouds again. It was fully snowing and my hands were getting numb. Back to the safety of the refugio.
I was glad to get out of the storm at Refugio Sennes. The smell of coffee and baked bread was wonderful. My rain gear worked beyond my expectations. I wasn’t over heated and hiking in a sauna. I was dry and so was my gear and that made me very happy. My hands were very cold but I worked the buckles ok this time. Hot coffee and strudel on a snowy cold day is a wonderful thing. Simple pleasures.
I was disappointed that the weather was too rough to use my camera. I could only take quick snapshots with the phone. I was also very concerned about finding the trails under the snow over the next few days. This is how city folk like me get lost or turn their ankles on rocks under 3 or 4 inches of snow.
The refugio served a very delicious goulash soup (beef cut into 1/4 inch cubes in a broth) and a fresh linguine with a venison ragu and a simple tomato pasta dish with fresh basil. This meal was very good. The house wine was inexpensive, dry, and flavorful.