Racing against the rain on a ridge walk.
Refuge de Pietra Piana to Refuge de l’Onda (Stage 8)
Distance 8km, 390m elevation gain, 800m elevation loss.
After a quick bit of lunch, we traversed to the long ridge line we saw yesterday and attacked with a vengeance, moving fast. The projected 4hr 15min hike was completed in only 2hrs.
The trail was almost soft compared to the rocky scramble of Ritondu. Thunder sounded way off to the right, and we could see rain over distant valleys. Clouds were crawling up the valley below us.
It started spotting rain as we descended the first ridge. We pulled on our rain gear and scrambled up a rocky, steep slope to the top of the second ridge. The trail up was rough, but on top it was quite gentle and flat. The cloud billowed over us, misty and spooky. We reached the end of the ridge and started descending a badly eroded, braided and rocky track, spotting the refuge through gaps in the mist.
The rain hit us hard and with thunder rumbling too close at hand, we abandoned the ridge line trail and bush whacked down the side of the ridge till we reached the refuge, sopping wet. We ordered omelettes and coffee and dried out as the thunderstorm struck, drenching the mountains for about an hour.
Once the storm cleared we set up our tent in a fenced field full of tents that looked like a horse paddock (except the horses were outside the fence, and the people were inside). The sky was nearly clear by the time we went to bed.
Draped our clothing where we could to dry everything, even our map was wet. The setting of the refuge was very pretty. The bathrooms where basic.