Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 6 July 2024

Saturday 6 July 2024 - Pont-à-Mousson

Sadly we bade farewell to the Engadine and to Hotel Maria in Sils, with its friendly staff and guests.

I realised that we have no pictures of any of the people we have met over the course of the past two weeks (apart from our old friends Markus, and Andrea and Thomas), so as we said goodbye I got a picture of Sue with Taea, one of Collett's brilliant hosts. Bella was probably out checking a route, whilst Taea was at the hotel checking that everyone was happy with their plans for the day, to which she could often add some useful advice.

We got going by 9:15 and changed over drivers after some exciting Alpine passes. It got to about 28°C on the sunny morning. 

The gradients eased as we approached Zurich, but the mountain views remained with us, together with tunnels and lakes.

Then it rained.

The weather cleared towards the end of our 330 mile journey to Hotel Bagatelle in Pont-à-Mousson, reached around 5pm.

A five minute stroll took us to a bridge over the wide River Moselle.

Beyond that, a pleasant town that is looking forward to the forthcoming nearby Olympics. 

A stage had been erected in the large town square. It was occupied by various band members and an assortment of vocalists.

We went in search of a restaurant, but everyone seemed to be either on holiday or opening later.

We passed a campervan site. There must have been about 50 vans. All near to a vast, empty restaurant. I took a picture for Mick and Gayle - if you zoom in you'll see 'COMPLET' written on the barrier.

Nearby, a rather arty roundabout.

Given the shortage of open restaurants, we opened a private eating house in room 109, stocked with goodies from a Carrefour shop. Not quite up to Hotel Maria standard, but very enjoyable as we watched the English footballers thrash Switzerland on penalties! The first TV we have watched since leaving home over two weeks ago.

Friday 5 July 2024

Friday 5 July 2024 - Boval Hutte

To start today's 'there and back' route we caught the 8:24 number 4 bus to St Moritz, where the picture above was taken. Then the Tirano train took us to Morteratsch, where the next picture was taken.

There are lots of routes from here. We chose Collett's 'M5' suggestion, a there and back path from 1860 metres to the Boval Hutte at over 2500 metres.

A good path led up the valley, with the cascading river full of snow melt on one side, and rock gardens on the other side.

We were looking up to some significant glaciers in the Piz Bernina area, one of the highest in Switzerland. 

There were also good views back down the valley on another blue sky day. Not visible in the next picture is an eagle that seemed to be enjoying the thermals.

Braided cascades from our right had to be negotiated with the assistance of a planked walkway for the biggest.

Occasional crashes and bangs confirmed that the glaciers are on the move.

...And there were good views back down the valley.

On reaching the Boval Hutte we were soon joined by Phil and Suzy, who had started an hour after us. Schiewasser and tart for us; rosti for them.

Below the hut in a meadow, Sue and I enjoyed the rest of our lunch.

There's a  race taking place soon. Here, just below the hut, is the 10km marker. A tough climb, with overtaking not very easy.

It was a lovely, easy walk back down by nearly the same route. We met Charlie, a soft alsatian, on his first walk in the Alps. He was getting tired! Arriving back at the start by 3:30, we saw the Bernina Express pass through before catching our own local train back to St Moritz, from where the number 4 bus took us, plus Phil and Suzy, as well as Bella - returning from a tough recce of one of the Collett's routes that still has snow conditions  - back home.

We had walked about 12km, with maybe 800 metres ascent (Collett's say 650 metres, my Garmin says 900 metres), taking around 6 hours.

Just a couple of flowers today:

Some sort of Thistle, maybe Alpine Thistle

Mountain Houseleek 

Thursday 4 July 2024

Thursday 4 July 2024 - Piz Chuern

On a beautiful blue sky day we set off on foot from the hotel to the Furtschella cable car that took us up to 2312 metres from our 1800 metre base. Here's a view from the cable car.

Once up there, we enjoyed a glorious walk to Piz Chuern, 2684 metres. Fabulous Engiadina views.

The Australians, Matt and Jenny, spent most of the day a bit ahead of us, appreciating that this was a walk to remember. 

I'm short of time, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Here we are on the summit of  Piz Chuern, courtesy of a Swiss trio.

Crossing one of the torrents was a bit tricky. The Swiss took off their shoes and socks, Matt very bravely jumped, Jenny waded in her new boots, and Sue and I donned gaiters, brought specially in anticipation of this obstacle. We all stayed dry, apart from the Swiss. 

Lower down, a couple of planks almost made it feel like cheating!

Having spotted lots of King of the Alps flowers, we had been tipped off as to some Edelweiss soon after the plank bridge. And yes, not many, but they were there.

Eventually, accompanied by the whistles of the local marmots, we reached the comfort of the verdant Fex valley, emerging finally down some steep steps beside the Edelweiss Hotel. 

Beers etc outside Hotel Maria with Matt and Jenny were most welcome. 

Today's outing was about 13km, with 500 metres ascent, taking a leisurely 6.5 hours.

Entire-leaved Primrose 
King of the Alps 
Viscid Primrose 
Purple Saxifrage 
Trumpet Gentians  

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Wednesday 3 July 2024 - Lagh Da Cavloc

With the weather forecast not so good today we decided to stay low and visit Lagh Da Cavloc by a roundabout route.

This involved a 14 minute bus ride to Maloja, with Australian couple Matt and Jenny. We left them to do the Via Engiadina walk that we enjoyed on Monday. Our route crossed fields, from where a view back to the village is shown above. 

We soon reached a bridge over the frothy Orlegna river, from which the views downstream and upstream are shown below. 

Apparently this is an old smugglers' route. We found ourselves following the Smugglers Trail, a route defined by smugglers' hats screwed onto rocks. It's also a snowsoe trail.

A steep climb through the forest brought us to a small lake, Lagh Da Bitabergh, where we lingered for an elevenses break.

About 2.5 km of forest paths then led to Lagh Da Cavloc, where we enjoyed lunch on a bench. We had started the walk with David and Jill, so it was a surprise to meet them coming the other way. They had decided to reverse Collett's recommended route. Suzy and Phil, who we hadn't met before, were just behind them.

A cuckoo serenaded us, as did one yesterday outside our apfelstrudel hut.

We opted to walk up to Plan Canin, on the way to which a large and very clean herd of goats was encountered. Sue went into 'goat whisperer' mode.

A gently undulating path led to Plan Canin and a locked private bothy. The view up to a high pass confirmed that proper snow and ice equipment was needed up there. A suitably equipped group passed us on their way up. The next three pictures were taken at Plan Canin, from where we retraced our steps to Lagh Da Cavloc. 

A huge boulder field was passed on the way back to the goats.

Given recent rain, it wasn't a surprise to see waterfalls streaming down from high above.

We made our way back down past Restaurant Cavloccio, deciding not to visit. On our way down the good track we found Tony and Caroline admiring the flowers, and back at the bus stop we found Chris and the other Caroline. So the only Collett's guests we didn't see today were David and Avril.

The next picture was taken near Maloja. I was puzzled as to the purpose of the dam.

The bus back to Sils was crowded.  Standing room only.

The Ride with GPS app seems to have worked today, and roughly tallies with my Garmin watch that suggests we walked 14.5km with 450 metres ascent, taking around 5.5 hours.

Here are a few flowers from today.

Round-headed Rampion

Common Kidney-Vetch

Large Bittercress

Rock Cranesbill

Yellow Wood Violet 

Alpine Birdsfoot Trefoil