You don’t need to be extra tomboyish to fit in. You can paint your nails and come mountain biking.
– Mountain Girls Collective
Mountain Girls is an outdoor collective created by women all over the world aspiring to push the limits of what being a woman in nature truly is. Being a mountain girls is not about climbing the highest peaks or being stronger – it is simply having a genuine love of nature in the heart, getting together and celebrate the beauty in the world. We embraced Mountain Girls’ vision and invited Meg Kee, one of the founder of this cool collective and photographer Zach Allia to experience the wonders of Italian Dolomites, at Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Cortina d’Ampezzo. The result? “An experience that will always be close to my heart and a story I will tell forever”.
Follow the adventures of Mountain Girls in the Dolomites
Embark on a journey through mountain valleys, dense forests, fairy-tale lakes, crystal waterfalls and breathtaking landscapes.
Discover a wide range of Summer activities and unique experiences to bring out the most of your stay at Cristallo Resort.
A magical arrival, in the night
I arrived in Italy after hours of flight. The tall mountains expressed themselves significantly under the twinkling stars.
My destination was The Cristallo, a one of its kind luxury hotel and spa. It’s well positioned commanding a great view of the vast Cristallo Mountain and Cortina D’Ampezzo. I arrived at around 2 am.
I was received warmly, and it felt great seeing the joy on the people’s faces. The place looked artistic with the crystal chandelier, the well-tended flowers and the paintings on the wall.
A fairy tale view
I was elated to see the beauty that stood in front of my eyes. The golden morning sun rays shone on a delightful looking town on an evergreen landscape. Huge mountains sat in all their glory right behind the town. It was unbelievable, and I couldn’t wait to explore this beautiful place.
A stroll downtown Cortina
I couldn’t believe my eyes when we reached the town. It looked lovely. The landscape was well manicured and looked amazing with its different shades of vibrant colors. I was in the company of Zach and my host for the week. We laughed a lot over the varying lifestyles of America and Italy. I ate one whole pizza by myself. Italian pizza is way alluring than the Pizzas back home. It was delightful.
Hiking into the Forest
I woke up so happy the next morning. I had been longing for an adventure. I got out of bed and marveled at the splendid view freely offered by the enormous mountains in front of me. I went down to the lobby that was beautified with flowers and happy faces, to meet up with our guide who would take us to Crota De Lago. This is where we would go hiking in the mountains.
The mountains seemed far away, but I was surprised when we arrived fifteen minutes into driving up and down the slopes. Full of excitement I immediately joined Zach and began our hike into the forest.
An unexpected encounter
We met cows peacefully grazing in the lush field. I couldn’t hide my joy being a passionate animal lover.
The running streams and the waterfalls were refreshing. The wildflowers seemed so alive. The whole experience made me feel as if I was a character in a storybook. In no time, we eventually got to the top of our hike. I thought I had seen it all, but my imaginations were in for a surprise. At the top sat a gorgeous lake on the base of the dolomite limestone walls. The place was a haven and the adorable donkeys and friendly little creatures all seemed to agree. The top had an amazing 360 view of the mountains, and the town looked tiny below us. My expectations were already surpassed on the first day of touring Italy.
Surrounded by mountains
The 360 views at the top were one I would never forget. The rich green forests swayed uniformly as the cool wind breeze flew past them. The wildflowers followed, and they all looked like they were dancing to a tune.
Running through the green landscapes
Italy had proven to be full of pleasant surprises. On the second day, we headed to the town to pick our bikes. This would be my first time on an E-bike. I was thrilled with the adrenaline filled ride around the town and into a perfectly manicured trail into the woods. It was clear the people of this town cared for it. I enjoyed a panoramic view while in the woods. I had to bend my neck to see the high peaks.
A dip into a sweet blue juice
We ventured into rock and limestone tunnels that were along the trail. The tunnels took us to the base of the mountains leading to high dense forests. I was proud of the fact I had been to the top of the mountains and had the chance to explore the base. The cool breeze greeted us as we found our way hurriedly to Lago Di Landro; a beautiful teal-colored lake which lies at the base of the mountains. The journey to the lake wasn’t too long. I knew we were almost there once I saw rivers of clear waters flowing on both sides of the trail. The view of the lake was mind-blowing, one only you would have to see to experience. The lake looked like a pool of sweet blue juice and changed color when clouds passed over the sun. I couldn’t resist the dazzling waters, so I took my shoes off and stepped in it as I stared into the vast mountain ranges.
A relaxing Rifugio
It was unbelievable to see myself riding past the snowy mountaintops. The sunlight shone over the glacier forming reflections that looked like crystals. We raced our way back and stopped over for a sumptuous meal at Rifugio Ospitale, a fantastic restaurant halfway through the journey. We later returned to the hotel before darkness crept in.
Hiking off the deep forest
On my third day, it felt as if I had been here for quite some time since there had already been a lot of amazing experiences. We met our adventure guide who was a skilled rock climber and well versed with the mountains. We got to our trailhead in ten minutes and put on our protective gear. It was interesting how everything was close to the hotel unlike back home. The weather seemed great for a hike. We followed the guide into the thick forests. Almost a mile into the hike you could already feel the air become moist.
A massive waterfall fell on the rocks nearby. There was a splendid view in each direction. We found our way to the cable line trail that we would use to hike. We got to places most people don’t reach, and then made our way down the cables into the waterfall. I sat on a cliff right behind a 150-foot waterfall. Being a climber, I was really in the zone.
In the middle of dreamland
We explored further into the words witnessing more waterfalls. The flora that was present was enchanting. We hiked through more falls, crossed several large bridges and went deeper into the woods. Not a single sight of life was visible, but I could almost hear the nature’s voice. It was cleansing. After chatting with our guide, I found out that some local climbs surpassed Yosemite climbs. It was a surreal experience, and as we headed back, I wished we could camp for the night.
Breath the air of Dolomites
Discover the authenticity of a unique destination through Zach’s eyes
Discover the Cristallo Resort
Nestled within the soaring peaks of the dramatic Dolomites range, the resort offers a venerable array of pastimes through its seamless adaptation between winter and summer seasons.
Meet Mountain Girls
Discover more about Meg Kee and the Social Media Collective Mountain Girls
Founder of Mountain Girls Collective
After living in the mountains for over ten years I think I can call myself a mountain person. And ultimately, a mountain lover. Thirty four turns around the sun and life is full of good things (and let’s be real – a few not so good things) happening. The seasons within the mountains have created a space for me to feel safe and make a life for myself and my son, doing the things I love to do. In 2013, the year my son Keegan was born, I created a social media collective called @mountaingirls in an attempt to get more women into outdoor sports. Through Mountain Girls, I have had the opportunity to host a number of gatherings, introducing groups of women to sports like mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing and snowboarding. In my blog you will find highlights of my adventures, lifestyle, friendly gatherings, climbing and more.Discover More