Alpago: Santa Croce Lake
A Paradise on Earth for canoeing, surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and sail
On your way to the Alpago area, you’ll first come across the Lake of Santa Croce (aka Saint Cross Lake). The lake is beautiful and it is actually a recreation area for sportspeople all year long. In Winter the lake sometimes freezes over, but during the other months it is the favorite destination for those who can canoe, surf, kite-surf, wind-surf and sail. Some kind of outdoor gym, where the wind blows regularly (approximately 10-15 knots) from Midday on, the ultimate condition for people who want to train. You know, outboard motors and water motors are not allowed in the lake. Only rowing boats or electric motor boats! I got into a small wooden boat, completely handmade, with an electric eco-friendly motor.
Extreme sports in Santa Croce Lake
Looking at the sky just over Santa Croce Lake, I notice a lot of strange birds: people going hang gliding and, most of all, paragliding! Mr Felice is a sportsman and world traveler, born here in the Alpago area. We decide to climb the wide valley and reach the top of the Dolada Mountain, where these weird human birds are going to fly… Those who are going paragliding are putting on a sort of backpack that also functions as a seat. They look like enormous coleoptera! Then they open these extremely light parachutes, start running backward and at the very last moment turn around and take flight over the precipice. Just like the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. They take flight suddenly by pushing themselves against the frame of the hang glider.
This small natural shelf is crowded with people who are used to fly. I can’t even think about trying it, I would be afraid. Who wants to fly must take a course first, then an exam to get a sort of license to fly. First of all, to get familiar with this sport you have to try it on plains. When you will start flying it won’t be from a great height. You will take some 10 mt high flights. Only at the end you will experience the great jump, flying over the mountaintops, at a height of 1500/2000 mt, taking advantage of the upward movement of air. It must be an amazing experience!
I’ll never stop saying that you would enjoy more every location if you visited it with a local guide. Especially in the mountains, guides are essential. There are way too many paths, tracks, ski chalets in the mountains surrounding the Alpago area. They tell me it is a tricky area, that seems easy to explore but it is not. It is exposed to the north wind, so weather conditions can change very quickly, even in summer. In Winter this area is a heaven on earth for those who is fond of ski mountaineering. But they really have to be careful in choosing the best routes to avoid avalanches. Anyway the guides are always at disposal, offering their technical knowledge and telling them the stories and the anecdotes of these mountains.