Third edition 30th July 2017
Trail delle Orchidee: a high-mountain trail event in the High Lumiei Valley - Alta Val Lumiei - lying between Carnia and Cadore, a circular route designed over and around the spectacular basin of the Sauris lake. 46 Km and D+3000, with start and finish on the Pura Pass area.
A magic trail through the taintless scenery of the Alps of the North East - Alpi Carniche -,
running along ancient tracks dwellers trod to support the poor mountain economy based
on hay harvesting, forestry and summer mountain grazing, today mostly abandoned. Free
from high tension towers, cableway pylons and mass trippers, here's the Reign of Silence:
a charming and highly emotional landscape and a gold-mine as variety of flora is
As you move forward along the route, the lake's emerald waters keep showing to your right while, at every step you take, the waters display a new shade of green: a strong call to slow down and enjoy the experience.
The first part of the course runs through beech and fir-tree woodlands, stretching from the Pura Pass to the foot of the massive limestone structure of Mount Tinisa, to reach the joyful pasturelands of Casera Tintina, where they give way to larch woodlands. Slightly higher up, at 1800m of height, the grasslands of the high ridge dividing the Tagliamento Valley from the shell-shaped Sauris Valley unfold, where rhododendrons and orchids fashion stunning sceneries. Hence, an almost bird's eye view of the valley underneath and the sharp skyline of the Eastern Dolomites highlighting Mounts Pramaggiore, Monfalconi and Cridola, with Mounts Civetta, Pelmo, Antelao and Tofane towering in the background.
Past the pasturelands of Giaveada -or Niveada- dairy-farm (1684m), a continuous climb leads to the Plain of the Witches - Pian delle Streghe - an upland lunar plain of morainal origin at the foot of the south face of Mount Bivera, heading up to the saddle of Mount Bivera - Forca del Bivera - (2330m) and along the sharp crest reaching the summit of Mount Clap Savon (2462m), the highest point of the Trail of Orchids. The descent runs down relentless screes, dwarf-pine and larch woodlands followed by summer pastures and prairies, beautifully adorned by the rhododendrons' dominant fuchsia shades, until the enchanting district of Casera Razzo is gained.
Stepping to the orographic left of the Sauris lake's basin, the route takes along smooth grassy ridges, whence the highs just crossed come on stage, while the panorama unrolls in a comprehensive survey highlighting Mounts Brentoni to the North West side and the severe Dolomites of the Pesarina Valley to the North: Terze, Creta di Mimoias, Creton del Clap Grande, Mount Siera, Creta Forata and Mount Cimon; further away, Mount Cogliansthe highest summit in the Region- and Cjanevate and in the distance, the eternal white of Mounts Tauri towering above the snowline. The descent starts through an explosion of blooming rhododendrons, from the summer pastures of the dairies of Festons and Pieltinis down to the lake, through beech and fir-tree woodlands again, until the provincial road in the district of La Maina is gained after 900 metres of downhill running. A last glance at the lake's glittering waters while crossing the impressive dam on the lake and the route enters an illuminated tunnel, a 300 metres long “cool-down”, before engaging in the last ascent leading to the finish line, in the open space by the “Tita Piaz” hut.