An easy hike facing the plain of Friuli Venezia Giulia
This time Stefano and I didn’t make it. We succumbed to the temptations of the Sunday late wake-up call and stayed in bed longer than we usually do before walking.
Monte Cuar… or Monte Festa?
The goal was already decided. We would have continued with the First World War trend with a walk on Monte Festa.
Monte Festa? you will ask yourself. The title says Monte Cuar Route. Yes, it does! We never got on Monte Festa, braked even before starting by the overflowing car park.
I know it may seem counterintuitive that someone with a blog that promotes mountain trekking gets upset by crowds, but that’s it.
After all, I would like to own a hut lost in the woods, I like the crowd but up to a certain point and not on top of the mountains. So we change the destination and for this autumn walk, we choose Monte Cuar to which I have never been.
How to reach Monte Cuar
The asphalted road that leads to the beginning of our tour is a thin and convoluted snake. It starts from the center of Avasinis (Udine, Friuli-Venezia Giulia) and winds through the woods up to the start of the CAI path 816. These kilometers, accompanied only by Bruce Springsteen, bode well for the change of destination.
Here too we meet many cars but by now it’s too late to change again; hence we start what I have defined as evergreen trekking.
On Mount Cuar we will undertake a circular route. We will climb to the summit with path 816 and then descend towards Malga Cuar with 815. The latter will lead us to the starting point.
Why and when you should hike on Monte Cuar
The reason for the many cars is quickly explained. The path pulls up well but has no other difficulties than the slope. Nothing exaggerated, the climb can be tackled by everyone with a little patience.
Few meters are enough to rise above the trees and see the landscape all around. It goes as far as the sea on one side and towards Carnia on the other.
I called the Monte Cuar Ring route an evergreen trek because it can be done at any time of the year and in almost any weather. I would avoid it only in July and August because a large part of the path is in full sunlight. If you decide to do it, I recommend that you follow the path as we did. Start your trekking with path 816 and return with 815. Climbing with the 815 is easier, but descending with 816 might be complicated, if not dangerous, especially when the ground is wet.
I recommend that you avoid it when the sun is shining, the shopping centers are closed and there is an ongoing pandemic.
Look for a moment to enjoy Cuar when it can only be yours. Chatting is everywhere, but the thrill of enjoying nature without distractions is unique.
How’s the trail on Monte Cuar
The path leading us to the top alternates open spaces with the undergrowth. The higher we get, the more breathtaking the view becomes. The mountains are shrouded in sunlight but a thin blanket of mist hovers over the Friuli Venezia Giulia plain. It’s almost like being in the famous painting by Caspar David Friedrich. The sun’s rays that filter beyond the blanket all converge on the Tagliamento, which from up here seems infinite.
We conquer the summit but it is so crowded that we can not even get close to the Madonnina or the bell. Except for a few photos we move in a hurry to find a space where to eat and enjoy the view alone. We leave the summit without wandering off the ridge. The green of the meadows is slowly giving way to winter. The fence of the hut follows the path and fades towards the Cuel dal Poz and the summit cross of Mount Flagjel. The landscape reminds me of my beloved Scotland and in particular of Arthur’s Seat, the hill of Edinburgh. Or the back of a sleeping dragon.
Well-fed and a bit cold, we approach the hut and from there we take path 815 to the car. The descent, much less steep than the climb, develops entirely in the undergrowth. Our feet sink into the sea of leaves and, like children, Stefano and I drag them to make sure that the sound of autumn covers everything else.
A hike that we did at the wrong time
That said, I would be lying if I told you I enjoyed this trekking.
The landscape and the path that Monte Cuar offers are exciting and I can’t wait to enjoy them again. But I will do it when the weather is not the most promising or during a midweek holiday.
I started this blog because I love going to the mountains. I like not only the landscapes but also the people you can meet along the paths or in the mountain huts. Mountains are a very democratic environment, the effort is the same for everyone and there are no shortcuts.
To devote your free time to an activity that at first makes you feel like shit and highlights all your weaknesses, either you’re crazy or you’re very tired of what’s “on the plain”. You’re so fed up that to avoid the crowd you would tackle even the steepest scree on your knees.
This is what my own Alpine, dad, taught me.
I believe that he first told me “Don’t scream in the mountains, save your breath” when he was still carrying me on his shoulder. For the rest, I have always been told to speak little and listen a lot. The creaking of trees, the rustle of leaves, the flow of a stream, or a storm approaching. I grew up knowing that confusion is “down” (or in the mountains hut) and peace is “up”. If you’ve seen my stories on Instagram, now you’ll understand why I was so annoyed.
I would like as many people as possible to approach the culture of the mountains, otherwise, I would not have started this blog. But not like this. The mountains are a way of life, a state of mind, a cure for the heart. They’re not an alternative to shopping centers or an escape from the Coronavirus restrictions. If you mean it that way, I’m sorry to tell you but it’s better you change hobby. In the mountains the keyword is respect. You must respect others but, above all, respect for mountains themselves.
The mountains hate stupid people and lightness comes at a high price. This is why I hate to see crowds on the peaks.
A dear friend told me that I should have not complained about people and that I would have done better to show the landscape only. I do not agree. I want to convey the mountains as I understand them. Not that I am any kind of authority but it’s what I’ve always been taught by all the mountain dwellers I know.
- Length: 6,5 km for the whole hike
- Elevation Gain: 650 mt
- Time: 2h30
- CAI trail: 816 and 815