Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Swiss Alpine Walk

Swiss Alpine walk, it is something that I read in travel magazines, watch on TV, admire in photography exhibitions, but I have never ever thought that one day, I will do it myself, but I just did that last weekend! Very tiring, very challenging, sometimes even dangerous, but YES, I DID IT! It might not be one of the 1000 things that you should do before you die, but it is something nice to include in your personal record :D I will slowly upload some of the pictures of the trip, so stay tuned. At the moment, I am still 'recovering' from the trip.

Day One:
I traveled by train from Milan to Bellinzona on Sat morning, reaching there at 8.44am. Met my long time friend Tom, drove up to Mesocco which is 800m above sea level (ASL). There, we parked the car, packed our stuff into the backpack, and started our ascend. We walked all the way up to 1500m ASL at Giasum. The slope is steep, some part of the path is not well marked. As it gets higher and higher, the temperature also goes lower. From Giasum, we then walked down to Cebbia, then back to Mesocco.

Haha, this is the highest point we reached on Day One. Obviously too much breath had been taken out of me, I didn't have the strength to take the breath-taking scenary :D Can you see the white-red-white strips on the pole? That is the marker for Swiss Alpine paths.

Over night, we drove down to Lugano and stayed at the Youth Hostel at Figino.

Day Two:
We drove up to Fontana, which is at 1335m ASL. Then we walked all the way up to the tree line, at 2021m at Rif Biasagn (have to check the name from my photos). The time indicated at the trail is 1 hours 40 minutes from Fontana to Rif Biasagn, but it took us 2 hours. Of course, we did stop for our lunch. :D

It was a tiring two days. I have been a city boy for too long to take up such challenges. My whole body is protesting, heart, shoulder, legs, everywhere is aching. The reward? The breath-taking views of the Swiss Alps in Summer, views that you can only see in movies, TV documentaries.

This is where we walked past on the 2nd day. Scary! My legs were trembling when I took this photo. A valley full of granite stones, probably washed down during an avalanche in the winter. Those granite stones provide the locals good construction material for their stone houses. They make the stones into 'slide' and use them to build the walls and roof of their house, like the one shown below.

Ok, that's what you can see at 2021m. It is summer but there is still a bit of snow left on the opposite mountain, a view you will probably never see again, thanks to global warming.

Alright, don't slam me. I didn't bring my wide angle lens with me, which is both a mistake and a correct decision. A mistake because I couldn't make great wide angle shots; a correct decision is because I didn't have to carry extra weight to make my life difficult :) For an uninitiated, it is lucky enough to survive the whole journey, without any mishaps.

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