Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Swiss Tundra

Located in south-central Switzerland, the Greina Plateau is a pristine tundra that is home to countless marmots, some much larger than myself. It is completely road-free, and you can only get there on your own paws.

Early on a nippy Saturday morning, we took the hiker bus to Pian Geirett, at the very top of Ticino's Val Blenio. After eating breakfast in my hiking bowl at the trailhead (Mom didn’t want me to eat before riding the mountain bus), we hiked into Greina by way of Pass Crap, which means Stone Pass in the Romansh language.

The hike climbs 1,500 feet through what looks like a washed-out riverbed and up the side of a steep gorge. At the top of the gorge sits a Swiss mountain hut. Ahead of us, two people carried their mountain bikes up to Pass Crap. Once at Pass Crap, the contrast between the dusty alpine rocks and the green plateau is striking because of the other-worldly sense of place.

The Swiss Government has recently (re)considered the insane idea of flooding Greina to harness hydroelectric power. That same Government is also considering the inclusion of Greina in a new National Park. You can read the details here.

I was so busy sniffing marmots that I didn't even notice a herd of sheep grazing on the hillside. On the way down from Diesrut Pass, Dad picked me up to get me through a field full of cows with their babies.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...