Crossing the small town of Egna/Neumarkt, I see kids going to school. They are buried in their anoraks; must be pretty cold out there. I pass Fontanefredde/Kaltenbrunnen (Cold Springs); the name seems particularly suited to the climate. I stop my car in Redagno di Sotto/Unterradein, 1090m high. The sun has not shone yet here this morning, and when I get out of my car it's freezing. I get ready to start quickly. I try not to get too heavily dressed, so that in the beginning it's really cold. The forestry road I take starts climbing gently. I can see Aldino/Aldein higher up, already bathing in the sun. There's a nice spot when the road cuts through the steep mountain side made of loose rocks. Some not overly technical ramps are too much, too early for my cold muscles.
A slight descent leads me to crossing a couple of streams, then up a steep single track. The rain of the past few days has made the road-bed muddy, so I have to walk for some hundred meters, but in a while I get to a small sunny plateau. I stop to warm myself in the sun. Small farms are scattered around in the meadows. The grass is shining of a wonderful shade of green, must be a combination of the liberal rain of the past few days, the terse air, and the sun.
A steep ascent, partially eased by asphalt, leads me through a sparse wood to Schmiederalm. There are several hikers around, German, Austrian, Swiss, but none of them Italian. The season is too late for Italians, so the place is all for hikers from across the Alps, mainly retirees. On an empty parking lot behind the Schmiederalm eating place, I approach from behind a small group of hikers walking in the middle of the road. There's so much room that I do not believe necessary to let myself noticed, I simply move to the far right, trying not to disturb them. I pass them with a good 5m clearance; still when they hear the sound of my wheels on the gravel, they jump on one side. "It's alright", I tell them. I always do my best to avoid any bad propaganda for mountain bikers, but one should never underestimate hikers' reaction to bikers.
I pass the Schoenrastalm ("Nice Rest Hut"). Really a pleasant place, at the border of a large meadow. I've been here once before with my family; good alpine cooking, and a great place to unwind for children and grown ups alike. An easy forestry road leads me to a crossroad. Here I start going around the Corno Bianco/Weisshorn ("White Horn"). The road I take is used for cross-country skiing in winter, so that it's not overly steep. I can proceed quite fast. Going around the mountain, I get views in several directions toward the valley of the Adige river. The air is so thin, one has an unimpeded view for miles.
At 1872m I find ice on the road, no problem though in negotiating it. I then get to the alpine pass Passo degli Oclini/Jochgrimm, at 1989m. It's full of hikers up here, and with good reason. The view on the twin peaks of Corno Bianco and Corno Nero/Schwarzhorn (Black Horn) is great, and looking to the South you think you could touch Latemar and Catinaccio. The Italian/German dual naming system you find here has sometime surprises. Catinaccio means "Ugly Chain" in Italian; the German name for the same mountain is Rosengarten (Rose Garden), because of the pink colour it takes at sunset. The two names could not possibly differ more!
The next road has heavy hiker traffic, so I slow down. After a fast descent I pass the eating place at Malga Corradini/Gurndinalm, really beautiful. Several dozens hikers are eating outside in the sun, despite the chill wind. The noise I make descending fast has them turning toward me; I am a bit ashamed of spoiling the peace of the mountains. I resist the temptation to join them, and proceed downhill, having fun riding on just slightly technical single tracks. Perhaps I'm distracted by the nice views that open up now and then, but I have to admit that at this stage I get lost, probably just because of a single wrong turn. After an hour of searching I finally get back to my car from what I would consider as a most surprising direction.