Wolf watching in the Calanda: Day 2

Yesterday others talked about to walk to the top of the Calanda. Another 800 m or 2624 ft of height. I don’t care. My climb ability was excellent even after 20 miles so I think that I can go to this top in the morning.

Date: 11/06/2017 – Mileage: 26 – Height: 4530 ft

I can’t sleep anyways. I get up at five and leave the place asap. As it is five in the morning and we are in high altitude I am afraid of the temperature. It is warm. I wear the same strider pants from Patagonia as yesterday (in fact I also slept in them as I had no other pants). A capilene base layer also from Patagonia is warm enough. On the first water fountain (thought for the cows) I refill my water bottles. Although there is cow manure all over the place I believe that this water is from snow melting higher above. The cow residue looks like it is older and there is still no fencing so I expect the cows to be back later in the year. The water has a lot of pressure. Then I climb for an hour or so.

 

Good morning! The hut in the middle, the red dot is a sleeping bag from the cowboy campers.

The way is just boulders and sometimes I have to do actual rock climbing. The terrain is extremely steep. Later I would learn that for going from this mountain top to the other tops in this range you would need a rope. Somebody did it later in the year last year and they needed 10 hours for 5 miles. I just have some steps where I need to be careful because of the snow. I reach the top at 7. A couple was already there for the sun rising at 5:25.

One of many views from the top

My knees do not complain when I walk down pretty fast. Again I see all those from the hut. They wear incredibly monstrous backpacks. Seriously, do they want to spend all the summer in this mountain formation? It is huge but if I can go around it in two days? There is not much else where you can sleep, except some hotels down below or they may have their own holiday hut somewhere. I saw also a couple cowboy camping. Excellent idea, much better than this hut.

I didn’t have a coffee in the morning as I had to flee from this hut. I much on some Powerbar gums with caffeine instead and I refill my water bottles for the second time on the same fountain. Now I carry again 2,5 liters of water. I can’t decide if I should go down through the forest where the wolfs are or stay on the altitude of the hut. Again I see cheaters. They are extremely excited I am less so and I let them know by my way to salute them. I decide to stay on the altitude and to return to Alp Salaz above the timberline. Again I see hundreds of marmots and cows. Sometimes the marmots live on the not yet used cow pasture.

View from my way down towards Pfäfers – the Rhine goes to Liechtenstein

Last weekend my sister explained to me that some years ago there was a special cow bread in this part of Switzerland. They were light and better adapted to the mountain terrain. As a local pensioner explains to me they gave 16 liters of milk a day. Today’s cows give 30 liters a day and are from another bread. And they are like tanks. The cow pastures I pass during the day have deep holes all over. It’s because the cows have a certain length of step. It is a swamp.

Another view

As I load up some beer in a mountain restaurant I hear the mountain farmers talk. Their milk pipeline down to the valley is out of order, they don’t have money to rebuild it. But they have 152 cows on this alp alone. The pensioner says that he comes up to here between 3 or 4 times a week since 20 years. He has never seen a wolf. Another has huge binoculars and scans the rock face. I ask him if there is some wildlife there. He says that in order to see a chamois I would have to be here in the morning early. I think that he just doesn’t walk far enough, fast enough and that he is blind without his binoculars. I see chamois the entire day and marmots, a lot of marmots. I learn that yesterday I passed exactly where the wolves are. I didn’t see them.

Cheaters pass me on a single track trail. They are in panic and listen to their guide so they know how to drive their cheater bikes. They smell like they shitted their pants.

After a day in the sun I am happy to be back in the forest. Again the way is steep and I reach Pfäfers. They have an old monastery from the year 731. Now it is used as a psychiatric ward. And they have an old spa, they discovered the source in the 12 century. I take a prolonged way down to the Porta romana. It was a roman barrier unfortunately nothing stood the test of time.

In Bad Ragaz however the golf course stands the test of my nerves. As an ordinary mortal soul I have to follow the street while the golfers enjoy their nice parkway. It is over 30 degrees celsius now and the air in the town stinks. I am happy to take the train back to Zurich.

Over all I am very happy with this trip. I have yet to find my limit in climbing/doing height.