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simon3: Track 4151 in area near Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige ()
Circling a turquoise gem: Lago de Braies in the Dolomites.
Length: 10.0km, Creator time taken: 4h51m, Ascent: 682m,
Descent: 626m

Places: Start at Lon 12.0853, Lat 46.6993, end at Start
Logged as completed by 1
This walk starts from the historic hotel Pragser Wildsee on the north side of the Pragser Wildsee (Lago de Braies) where there is a substantial car park with bus stop.
The walk initially goes along the east and south sides of the lake following the Seeweg before branching out to the west to climb over a spectacular col to the west reached via the well marked tracks 19, 22A and 20.
The Seekofel 2810m viewed across Pragser Wildsee.

The first part of the walk has large numbers of tourists however as you move along the route, their numbers drop. In 2019 as with all steep valleys in this region of the Dolomites there has been huge damage from a storm that occurred in late October 2018. On this particular route this damage was particularly visible at the SW of the lake with large areas stripped of vegetation and trees uprooted or badly damaged often by the multi-tonne boulders that were crashing along.
The few remaining trees had their bark removed by the onslaught.

About 1.2km after leaving the lake you will come to Grünwaldhalm which functions as a cafe in the summer however it was shut when we were there in mid June.
Ridge end of the shapely La Seneser, viewed from the Grundwaldtal
Forested ascent.
Shortly after it the 22A track starts sharply uphill through a forest and the route becomes interesting and spectacular with a steadily better view until finally you reach a fabulous col at 2040m
When we were there two other groups arrived, like us panting from the exertion and happy because of the sudden release from the steep ascent. The route then includes some ups and downs but is mostly a huge balcony walk going past two sets of huts one at Kasserhütte, the second at Kühwiesen before descending to the start.
The Pragser Hotel's connection with history
The hotel has been built in 1899 and had prospered through the railway connections it had for example to Vienna from which the trip took 12 hours. It became significant in the final desperate days of World War 2. The SS had assembled a small group of prominent citizens of some seventeen different countries that they had been keeping as bargaining chips. Most of these had been held in special areas within the various notorious concentration camps. In order to trade these prominent citizens the SS had recognised that said hostages had to have the semblance of normality so they were fed. There was supposed to have been a final stand by the nazis in the southern Tyrol so the hostages were gathered up from various places to Buchenwald and Dachau. The SS decided to move them to the Pragser Hotel (though murdering a few on the way). However the German army and then the Americans rescued the hostages from the SS who were finally liberated on May 4th 1945. The story of the hostages is a matter of interest in the area. It was a somewhat happy escape for a few from places where millions perished.
One commentator, Isa Vermehren included with the hostages as a relative of a political enemy of National Socialism described the situation as such:
After 1945 and the total, unconditional defeat of our nation, besmirched with unspeakable guilt by the Nazis, the new beginning took place in deep seclusion, at first in subjugation and in the darknes of the unknown fate our nation had brought upon itself, at whose mercy it now was. I still remember the fright with we reacted to the angry shouts and accusations that the Italians rained down on us on our way to the airport in Naples, once they found out that we were Germans.
Grim thoughts occasioned by the detention in this beautiful place.
The Pragersee or Lago de Braies

Uploaded on: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 (04:48:37)
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Note: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, a rough and often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 3h 8m + time stopped for breaks
Note: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.

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Some mapping:
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(Various variations used.)
British summit data courtesy:
Database of British & Irish Hills
(Creative Commons Licence), a Hill-walking Website for the island of Ireland. 1100+ Visitors per day, 2100 Summiteers, 1300 Contributors.