Nearby Austria, in northern Italy, are some of the most beautiful and unique mountains in the world. From lush forests and greenery to sheer cliff and rock formations, the Dolomites are a one the most diverse mountain ranges ever. I was lucky enough to spend seven days in an old town in the Dolomites called Cortina. If you haven’t heard of it , Cortina hosted the Olympics in 1956 and will again in 2028. Scouting’s motto is “Prepared for Life” and hiking is a huge part of my life so Scouting has prepared me in many ways for the hikes I do. Some of the ways they prepare me is by hosting animals and nature meetings where we discuss different animals and plants, some that are dangerous and others that you can eat! Also Scouting hosts backpacking and hiking preparation meetings where they talk about what to pack depending on how long the hike will be. Scouting has a huge influence on how my family, fellow Scouters, and I hike!
The main hike I did was a two-day, two-part “trek”. The first day we hiked up the base through a forest and over a river. We ended at a little restaurant cottage along a road. The hike that day took 4 hours 22 mins with a total distance of 8.27 miles and 1,945 ft elevation gain. We walked home and enjoyed some Italian cuisine and rest, ready for a much harder hike tomorrow. The next day we woke up, bought fresh food at the local bakery, packed it all into our backpacks, and drove along the road to the restaurant we left the day before and started hiking. This hike was very different from the one the day before. In this one it was very steep and we had a lot more elevation gain faster. The time was 5 hours 27 minutes with a total distance of 10.17 miles with an elevation gain of 2,441ft. We hiked back down and enjoyed the day, watched the trail running race that was in town and ate some great food.
We continued doing many more hikes on the trip, including Tre Cime and hiking Mount Etna in Sicily. Hiking in nature has been a huge part of my life especially in Scouts. I first truly loved backpacking on a winter hike up San Jacinto with fellow scouters. Nature is such an amazing thing and that is why scouting has the outdoor code, to protect wildlife so that every person, Scout, and animal can enjoy it.