Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Calancatal Day 3: Cab. Buffalora -> Sta. Maria

Another well-timed (shortly before 8) start under cloudless blue skies. From the cabana we head up, up through the blueberries and trees to the blocks and further up to the saddle over the cabana. From here along a short exposed bit to the Pass de Buffalora with nice views to both sides. Around the side of Mt. Nomnom and up a bit to the Westgrat. More nice views up and down and into the Calancatal.

Down a steep bit into the next valley (stoneman at the other side already visible), descend some ladders and then do a very steep down along a grass slope. We did this pretty slowly. On the valley floor around to the end, over the top of the Ria de la Ravisc. Nice break on a flat rock at the end of valley and then down the steps of the valley a bit to the other side. Walk along the other wall on a nice path (though with a bit too much wet grass for our shoes and pants) partially under tree cover to the end of the valley. At the tip we head off the path to the very end to enjoy another set of very nice views.

Down to the other side, down down, initially quite steeply, through the woods to a "bottom" where we start steeply back up again to come into the next valley (exit stoneman visible, of course). In this valley we can see the path on the other side coming down from fiarly high up the wall. Goats on the other side as well. Ah well, you have to go up to go down. Up to the end of the valley and then very steeply down into the Aurigliaschlucht (with ladders!). Back up out of the gorge and then another steep scrambly bit down on rocks with chains. Through the goats, who are of course camped out on the path, and then up through the woods on the other side looking for a lunch spot in the sun. Around into the next valley (stoneman visible, but we knew that already) and to the end (it was a short valley). Lunch on a flat rock towards the end. There's not sufficient sun to warm Andrea's cold feet, but a post-lunch chocolate does some good. :-)

On across the blocks to the stoneman. Around the corner through sparse forest and avalanche guards then down, down, down through the woods. Back up a bit to the Rif. Alp di Fora (looks very nice) and then up a bit more to the Pian de Renten. This very nice grassy area marks the last climb of the day (and the trip). From here it's steeply down, down, down, through the woods.

Initially dark woods, then some sunny clearings, then mystic fairy forest with moss-covered rocks. Always down, down, down. Eventually hit a gravel road and then a short bit of real road and then we're in Sta. Maria. We refresh ourselves with cold beverages and then take the bus down to the valley floor and the second bus to Bellinzona.

Another long, tiring, but fantastic day of hiking.

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