Up one level
Sils-Maria
June 2013
Top of page
During the first day on the trail, our merry band (minus one) stops for a rest on the bridge just outside Borgonovo, in the Val Bregaglia.
On the trail between Borgonovo and Soglio. The itinerary didn't mention getting wet.
Day three took us to the Unter Engadine, and on a trail from Lavin to Guarda, perched above the valley.
Decorated houses in Guarda.
A doorway in Guarda.
More elaborate decoration in Guarda.
Decorated houses in Guarda.
Window detail in Guarda.
Decorated house in Guarda.
Window detail in Guarda.
Decorated house in Guarda.
Approaching Bos-Cha on the trail between Guarda and Ardez.
On the descent from Bos-Cha to Ardez, the trail took us through fields of wildflowers, a constant theme for the entire trip.
Wildflowers.
Wildflowers.
On the trail to Ardez.
Wildflowers.
Approaching Ardez, in the Unter Engadine.
On a cold, windy day, we climbed from Sils-Maria to the Marmorè, with a view up the Fex Valley.
From the Marmorè, a view of Sils-Maria, at lower left, and Lake Silvaplana to the right.
In the other direction, Lake Sils, with the Chasté peninsula, and the Waldhaus, our hotel, looming above Sils-Maria.
Wildflowers everywhere, with species changing with elevation and sun exposure.
Wildflowers.
A picnic lunch on a chilly day in the Fex Valley. It may be early summer, but the Engadine is very high (roughly 1800 meters on the valley floor), so the warm season is very short.
Wildflowers.
Wildflowers.
Wildflowers.
In better weather, we headed down the Maloja Pass to Casaccia in the Val Bregaglia (about 800 meters lower than the Engadine, and therefore noticeably warmer), and hiked about 400 meters up into the Val Maroz.
The Val Maroz, which still has patches of snow.
Wildflower.
Wildflowers.
Wildflowers.
Wildflowers.
Maroz Dent, a lonely farmhouse high in the Val Maroz, where the farmer and his two herding dogs were watching over a small herd of cows.
Maroz Dent.
Heading back down the Val Maroz.
Wildflower.
On the way up, we all got wet boots crossing this stream. On the way down, some new hazards to navigation were added to the mix.
Leaving the Val Maroz.
A view from Sils, looking southwest to Lake Sils, towards Maloja.
A view from Sils, looking southwest to Lake Sils, towards Maloja.
On a wonderful blue-sky day, we took the funicular from the outskirts of Pontresina to Muottas Muragl, and were greeted by this view of the entire upper Engadine Valley.
Pushing the telephoto lens to its limit, Sils-Maria on the isthmus between Lakes Silvaplana and Sils, seen from Muottas Muragl. The Waldhaus Hotel is ever-present in views of the valley.
From Muottas Muragl, the outskirts of Pontresina and the Val Roseg, left of center.
We did a long traverse from Muottas Muragl to Alp Languard, where we encountered Scottish Highland cattle in a meadow with a view.
These shaggy beasts have proven to be well-adapted to the sometimes harsh conditions in the Alps.
It's not known whether the cattle appreciate the view.
The meadow.
The distinctive straight horns of the breed.
Continuing from Alp Languard towards Chamanna Paradis, it paid to look back occasionally.
A lone hiker silhouetted against the Bernina Range, seen from near Chamanna Paradis.
Piz Bernina, with the Morteratsch Glacier spilling down below it.
Time to start the 800-meter descent from Chamanna Paradis to Pontresina.
Wildflowers.
Wildflowers.
With snow melting at all the higher elevations, there were chilly, rushing streams and waterfalls everywhere.
Looking from the Chasté across Lake Sils.
Climbing from Sils-Maria, we picked up a stretch of the Via Engiadina, a long trail that leads from the Austrian/Swiss border to Maloja.
Wildflowers.
A view from the Via Engiadina.
Wildflowers.
The little settlement of Grevasalvas, used for filming the 1978 version of Heidi.
Wildflowers.
Wildflower.
Wildflowers.
Grevasalvas.
Not wildflowers, but pretty nonetheless.
Another example of non-wildflowers.
Grevasalvas.
Wildflower.
Wildflowers.
Wildflowers.
We chartered the hotel van to take us up and over the Bernina Pass to Sfazu, where a little postal bus took us up a side valley to Alpe Campo, the start of our hike up the Val Viola. Here, Lago di Val Viola, a suitable spot for a rest.
Wildflower.
Keep your friends close, and your anemones closer.
Anemone.
Continuing up, we left the trees behind, and found ourselves skirting snow fields near the Pass da Val Viola.
Wildflowers.
Near the Pass da Val Viola.
A brief pause before crossing the pass into Italy.
Just beyond the pass, only a boggy field separated us from the Rifugio Viola, better known as "The Polenta Hut," and a fine wine-soaked lunch of polenta, veal, sausage, cheese, espresso dosed with grappa, and vin brulé. It's a wonder any of us got out alive.
Wildflowers.
Wildflowers.
Drunken hikers stumbling back into Switzerland.
The descent through the Val Viola.
Another mountain stream.
Bustling Greater Metropolitan Sils-Maria.
On a non-hiking day, I opted for a stroll along Lake Sils to Maloja. Here, the view from Sils.
Lake Sils.
The little settlement of Isola, between Sils and Maloja.
The perfect spot for some refreshment.
A church in Maloja.
Maloja sits at the head of the Maloja Pass, where the main road goes down a dizzying series of switchback turns, particularly exciting in a bus. Only the uppermost section of the road is visible as it snakes through the forest.
The road drops several hundred meters to the Val Bregaglia.
Looking back across Lake Sils from Maloja. As always, the Waldhaus Hotel is an unmistakable landmark.
Hiking up a side valley from Maloja, we stopped at Lägh da Cavloc for a snack before a long, difficult climb.
Looking back down the Engadine from Motta Salacina, perched on a ridge between the Engadine and the Val Bregaglia.
In the other direction, the Val Bregaglia.
Lunch spot!
A spectacular view, no matter which way you look.
Heading back to Maloja, we took a few minutes at the Lägh da Bitabergh.
A flood control dam outside Maloja with some unique decor, part art installation, part classroom. Each pole had accompanying text - about what, we weren't sure.
Someone's misguided early-20th Century folly, near Maloja.
The next day, we took a cable car to the Corvatsch Mittelstation, and from there, this second cable car to the Corvatsch Bergstation.
The cable car from the Corvatsch Mittelstation to the Corvatsch Bergstation.
The Corvatsch Bergstation, at 3303 meters.
Sils-Maria, seen from the Corvatsch Bergstation.
Silvaplana, seen from the Corvatsch Bergstation. St. Moritz is lurking behind the puffy cloud, right of center.
From the Corvatsch Bergstation.
Sils-Maria, with the help of a telephoto.
At the limit of the lens, the Waldhaus Hotel, 1500 meters below (about a vertical mile).
Piz Corvatsch, 3451 meters.
A picture of a climber taking a picture of a climber. Very meta.
Continuing the climb.
From the Corvatsch Bergstation.
Climbers heading for Piz Corvatsch.
Summit.
From the Corvatsch Bergstation.
The Upper Engadine from the Corvatsch Mittelstation, 2702 meters, the start of our day's hike.
But first, soaking up the sun at the Corvatsch Mittelstation.
Some refreshment.
Our traverse from the Corvatsch Mittelstation to Fuorcla Surlej was more snow-covered than anticipated, and proved to be tricky.
The traverse.
Looking back towards the Corvatsch Mittelstation.
Looking back towards the Corvatsch Mittelstation.
Looking back towards the Corvatsch Mittelstation.
Fuorcla Surlej, a refugio on the ridge between the Engadine and Val Roseg. Two of my companions taking pictures of me taking pictures of them. M.C. Escher.
From Fuorcla Surlej, Piz Bernina and its companion peaks.
Starting down into Val Roseg, we quickly left the snow behind.
The long 800-meter descent to the floor of Val Roseg. The loose stones on this trail proved to be trickier than the snow on the other side. I managed to confine myself to landing on my butt only once.
Piz Bernina and the Tschierva Glacier.
Val Roseg.
A last shot from my hotel window, with the Corvatsch Mittelstation at left, 900 meters above me, and the Corvatsch Bergstation right of center, 1500 meters above me.