Val Bedretto – a Ticino Valley with Alpine charm
A few turns south of Nufen Pass, on Ticino territory, the ibex have their fun with us. They cheekily demand that the open-top PostBus and the motorcyclists give way to them, allowing the kids to cross the road and join their mother. However, before they do so, they gaze in astonishment at our new vehicle. The 19-seater Mercedes Sprinter 4WD is indeed the first of its kind, and so we look at each other in admiration. In front of the mountainsides near the pass, parts of which are still covered in snow, the stylish yellow PostBus looks superb.
Mountain hike Alpe di Cruina – Lago delle Pigne – Capanna Piansecco – All’Acqua
At the Alpe di Cruina we get off, it’s time for a hike again. Our hiking guide, Werner Forrer, takes us onto a ridgeway along the south side, high above the Val Bedretto, with its young Ticino River and the road. Alpine roses and the first deep blue gentian line our path. Winter has only just made way for spring and the grass is still gaining strength for a lush green. Here and there, meltwater in a hollow reflects all manner of things… clouds, flowers tourists, or the commanding masts for the high-voltage power lines. We walk along the ridgeway – which is a part of the Four Springs Trail in the Gotthard region – out of the valley. Soon the first conifers stand their ground in this harsh landscape, reaching their proud tops towards the sky. After an hour’s march or so, Werner Forrer announces a worthwhile deviation from the ridgeway, the half-hour climb to the Lago delle Pigne lake. We head for the beautiful, rugged, light grey rock faces, which capture our eyes between the green and sky-blue around us. The rushing glacier water is roaring louder and louder, making us curious about its source. Finally we stand on the edge of a small plateau, streaked with meandering rivers, some of which are covered with snow. Here and there, red Saharan dust twinkles on the residual snow, it’s a magical sight! We cross to the lake, where the underwater snow masses glow a glacier blue. We have reached our picnic site and sit down, grateful for this superior and other-worldly beauty of nature!
We look up and a glance at our map tells us the names of the peaks above us – Poncione di Manio, Poncione di Cassina Baggio, Chüebodenhorn and, further back, Pizzo Rotondo. Directly opposite, steep snow-covered slopes fall away to the lakeshore. The tracks show a number of game paths, making us wonder whether the chamois repeatedly climb the mountains in order to slide down on their hind legs… And does the eagle, circling high up in the air, watching and waiting, hope for an accident due to all this exuberance? It certainly is possible. We know very little and are merely temporary guests in this realm.
The rough boulders are covered by bright yellow and green lichens, here and there the rocks are streaked with a crystalline lustre and dianthus emerge from cracks. We descend again towards the Val Bedretto ridgeway. It takes us through exceedingly idyllic territory, across roaring waters, and soon we encounter pines and larches, entire baulks abundant with Alpine roses and blueberry shrubs, and yellow anemones dotted here and there. There is a scent of tangy, wholesome herbs in the air. What an enchanting place! After a two and a half hour-hike, we reach the Capanna Piansecco SAC mountain lodge (1988 m). With its bright yellow shutters, the Swiss flag fluttering cheerfully above the inviting large wooden table and the panoramic views, it is impossible to ignore. We stop for a bite to eat, truly delighted with this wonderful mountain adventure, which none of us have experienced before. A cultivated path zigzags through the forest and into valley. At the sight of the many larches, we should consider returning in autumn…
Just over half an hour later we reach the valley floor, where our beloved PostBus awaits us at Ospizio in All’Acqua in order to take us a few kilometres further, to our next accommodation in the village of Ronco. The Chalet Stella Alpina is delightful, with plenty of Alpine chic and distinct, lovely rooms. Stags, hearts, old wooden skis, and Swiss military look woollen blankets adorn the different rooms. We settle in and enjoy the rest of our day and evening.
Ronco, 25th June 2018 – Susi Schildknecht