Last Monday I had the day off as it was Whitmonday. This hike was on my list for a while, I pass is a lot of times when I go on hikes in Graubünden. On “Spring “was” here” I showed some friends Walenstadt and the lake Walensee it is a nice place if you enjoy good food and local wine.
The Photos don’t really show how bad the weather has been this month but this week the temperature is again around 3-5°C and the snow line has dropped below 800m.
Anyway this hike starts at the village Amden at the bus station Post, from there you turn to the right and start your walk down. I couldn’t hike a part of the planned route because in an intersection the path was closed off. Not sure why but the alternative route wasn’t that bad, but had more paved road then my first choice. If you start between 9-10 in the morning then you will arrive in Quinten around lunch time. There you can enjoy local wine and fish. Quiten has no roads and the only way to reach it is either to walk or by boat. After the lunch break you can enjoy the second half to Walenstadt.
There is one section after Quinten that is steep but apart from that it’s a nice hike with nice views of the Mürtschenstock on the other side of the lake.
How to get there by Public Transport:
from Zurich HB to Amden: 1 h 13min
from Walenstadt: 1h 23min
This Section can be done in two parts, from Tiefencastel to Filisur and then to Bergün. The first part is a nice easy hike in which you walk along the Albula river to Filisur. Just before you reach Filisur you walk right past one of the highlights of the Via Albula, the Landwasser Viaduct. A 65m high and 136m long bridge for the Rhaetian Railway. This Bridge was built between 1901 and 1902 and is one of the Albula Railway that goes from Chur to St. Moritz.
The second part from Filisur you continue your walk along the Albula River until you reach Bellaluna (a Restaurant), shortly after that you have a bit of an acent to reach the historic train station Stugl. In Bergün you can visit the Trainmuseum or just enjoy the village.
So the hike itself was fairly easy if you have a normal physical condition. That said, the part from Bellaluna to Bergüm, can be difficult. Some sections the path gets really narrow and to your side it goes a long way down. If you slip then well I didn’t like to think about to end as a number in the yearly statistics. It’s not the hole section just about 100m in total but apart from that great hiking trail.
How to get there by Public Transport:
from Zurich HB: 2 h 13min
From Thusis to Tiefencastel is the first section of the via Albula / Bernina. Just after Thusis you will walk past Burg Ehrenfels which is a youth hotel. You will leave the Domlegschg and enter the Schinschlucht gorge which gives you a spectacular view of the Albula river and valley. The highest point on this hike is the village Muldain a little historic place which great views of the valley ahead. After Alvachein you will pass the St. Peter Mistail church from the 8th century. I couldn’t get into the church or even get a good look at it. There was a farm-house just next to it and they had about 8 goose walking around. These goose didn’t really like me and I had to run past them because they felt threatened be me…
It’s a nice hike to start the via Albula, some sections can be steep but all in all its a really nice hike.
How to get there by Public Transport:
from Zurich HB: 1 h 51 min
2013 it’s an amazing year for me, first of all the company I work for allowed me to take 3 month of unpaid leave this year. It is still a bit weird because my flight out of the country is in exactly 3 month from today, and I am still in a bit of denial about the whole thing.
My plans for this 3 months?
The first thing on the agenda will be, my trip from San Francisco to Yosemite. In mid August I will join a guided tour and together we will be doing the John Muir Trail. It’s a guided tour, they organize all the food and such and you carry your pack and the shared food and other items.
After that I have another 2 month on my hands and my rough idea is to get a rental car and drive up to Yellowstone and spend some weeks there. From there hop to other parks (Grand Teton, Arches, Capitol Reed, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley) and at some point end up again in San Francisco, I like this city and I am sure I will spend some days there (if there is some money left on my bank account).
To some degree I do procrastinate a lot of planning, but with the experience I had with myself on previous road trips in the US, was that no matter what I plan, at the end something else happend altogether and all the planning was usually for nothing.
I will get the first month sorted out and the rental car and probably some destinations, but everything else will come as it comes.
My preparation for the John Muir Trail:
- In mid march I started seriously with jogging/running. I try to go 2-3 times a week for 30-40min. Right know I run about 5.6km but each time I encrease the distance. If you start out (like me) I can only recommend the Couch to 5k program / app. I have the tendency to do more then it’s good for me at the beginning, with this program it actually slowed me down and I didn’t really get frustrated.
My general condition has already improved with I just noticed the other day when I hiked the Pfannenstiel. The first time it took me 3h 45min and 2 weeks ago I did the same hike in 3h. I can only recommend people to do something for their fitness, it dosen’t have to be much, like I said I do 30-40min 2-3 times and that for now is enough.
- Twice a week I do weight training (just started a couple of weeks ago). There I focus on the leg muscles, back, shoulder and also on ankle stability.
I can’t say much yet about weight training as it is to early, but whatever happens it will be beneficial. Especially as I am a person who works in front of a PC all the time.
- I try to go on as many hikes as possible but it is not always possible. So my go to hike if everything fails is the Pfannenstiel. When the days get longer in the next few weeks I might squeeze it in during the week.
- My other big preparation should have been a big chunk of the via alpina but as there was a lot more snow this past winter then usually I had to look for another hike. A few month ago I stumbled upon this link here. It is in german but they have nice visuals. I have a week of holidays in 2 weeks and I hope the weather is nice and I can finish this route all the way to Italy. I will write more about this trip and some of the history about this trail.
Time wise, Nr. 1 + 2 take about 1 hour of my evening and if I hike the Pfannenstiel I count with 3h walkin so a morning or afternoon. If I go on a different hike it will be the whole day. And lets not forget stretching. At least 5 days a week, specially leg and hip muscles.
The training plan for me at the moment like something like this:
Sat: Hiking (if not Sunday)
Son: Hiking (if not Saturday)
Below the map from Thusis to Tirano (Italy). Hiking path in green and in read the Train route. You can hop on a train in Chur and take the Bernina express to Tirano.
The weather this year has been terrible, apart from a few nice days on a few weekends they where mostly terrible. I could look up the statistics but this winter has been longer then most and with a lot more snow then usual.
Last weekend we had best weather you can think of and temp. around 20-25°C. Today we had snow as seen here and temp. around 1-7°C. Some places in Switzerland they had snow up to 80cm.
Last weekend I meet up with two good friends from London who where in Switzerland for business and holiday. We did some sightseeing away from the typical touristy stuff (they did that on previous visits).