Getting ready for the Trek was quite a challenge: bringing the right amount of gear and clothing for 10 days in the mountains, making sure you have enough clothes for any kind of weather you may encounter, and keeping the weight of the pack low enough to have an enjoyable adventure. No matter what I tried, the pack ultimately weighed close to 30 lbs, which was about 10 lbs more than was recommended by the Tour Organizer. Very early Friday, July 11, 2014, Teresa drove me to the airport, where I took the flight to New York. At JFK I took the plane to Milan, Italy where I would meet Sander the following day.

The plane landed a little early in Milan, so I had some extra time after picking up my duffel bag and going through customs to rearrange my gear into my backpack. After about 30 minutes Sander's plane landed and a bit later we got on the train that took us to downtown Milan. At the main train terminal we found a restaurant, where we had coffee and some pastries. I called Teresa to let her know the plane ride was uneventful and that I had met up with Sander. After a while it was time to start the train ride to Verona, where we had to take a second train to Fortezza. From there, we had to take a local train to Dobbiaco. To our surprise, each of the trains left exactly on schedule and we arrived in Dobbiaco around 5 in the afternoon. All trains were also very clean, except for the bathrooms. From the strain station in Dobbiaco we walked to the center of town where we found our hotel, After checking in and dropping our gear in the room, we decided to check out the town which did not take very long, and after a short while we returned to our hotel for dinner. To celebrate the start of our adventure we both ordered some large beers and pizza. Right after dinner we went back to our room and a short while later we both went to bed.

The following morning we got up early and after getting dressed went to the restaurant for a wonderful breakfast with various breads, croissants, cheeses, meats, sweets, juice and coffee. After breakfast we walked to the bus station where we took the bus to Rifugio Aronzo for the start of a short hike around the Tres Crime, a beautiful rock formation. Unfortunately, the tops of rocks were shrouded in the clouds so we were not able to see them in all their glory. The weather did change for the worse and by the time we reached the back side of the formation, we were introduced to the first rain of our trek. After about an hour of walking through the rain we were back at the Rifugio, where we had a nice lunch with coffee and apple pie. After lunch we took the bus back to Dobbiaco where we went shopping for a new pair of sun glasses. Mine had broken after only the first mile of hiking this morning!

We had dinner at our hotel again that evening, and afterwards went back to our room where I watched the first half of the World cup final between Germany and Argentina. Not being able able to keep my eyes open however, I went to bed.