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Switzerland - Alpine Tour

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Tour de Alps - Switzerland

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St. Moritz, Switzerland

St. Moritz Friday, September 16, 2005
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Friday in St. Moritz

Coop Receipt

Trying to adjust to the time difference takes a few days. I awoke at 3:00 a.m. from the jetlag, then overslept. Hotel Nolda includes (like most Swiss Inns) a Euro-buffet. The smaller hotels have limited selection - but expect rolls, cereal, a variety of cheeses and beverages such as coffee, tea, milk and fruit juices.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 02 - Starting Hike from Piz Nair

Hike Preparation

Map of St. Moritz in .pdf Format

After breakfast, we packed our daypacks and headed out. We caught the bus ($2.30 CHF) and headed downtown. First stop was the local outfitters store downtown. We bought two adjustable trekking poles, a Swiss Army knife and stopped by the local Coop store for last minute lunch items.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 02 - View of Clouds from Mid Mountain

Corviglia Hiking

Hiking the Alps

After we were shopping, we took the cogwheel and funicular up to the upper trails. There were some mountain bikers up here. They have a pretty cool system - take you bike or scooter up the cable car, and zoom down on the trails. The trails at the midlevel alpine region here were not too steep, however I would not like to try to bike up them.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 02 - Swiss Cow on Hike

Hiking

Hiking Trails Are Well Marked

After we got off at the Corviglia stop, we started hiking down (actually more lateral) to Marguns. After only the first few photos, my digital camera signaled a low battery, and of course, I forgot to bring a spare. Luckily, the battery lasted the entire day. The trails here are rocky, more like modified cow paths, which they probably are. The terrain in the higher altitudes is more tundra and grass. The treeline was far below us.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 02 - Swiss Cow

Trails

Swiss Cow

After we hiked down to the cable lift station at Marguns, we stopped in to use the facilities, top off on our water, then we hiked up the ski access road and had lunch near a mountain stream. Lunch consisted of freshly baked bread, Swiss cheese, Coke, Beer and some fine Swiss chocolate. It was a bright sunny day and we could see a glider off in the distance across the valley catching some upslope winds.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 02 - Hiking - Brook

Hiking

Pepe In Front of Swiss Cows

It was a crisp and slightly windy day - around 15-20 mph which felt good because the temperature was cool, but the hiking made you hot. After lunch we ascended past the Sesselbahn Gluna at 2,456 meters (around 8,000 feet) into some beautiful upper alpine pastures. This is ski region, and it's clear that the entire area is made for ski enthusiasts. St. Moritz is one of the sunniest areas in Europe - which explains the solar panels on the sides of the lift stations.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 02 - Pan of Trotti Bike in Motion

Upper Alpine Region

Lift Station

Before we headed down, we climbed to a beautiful alpine lake. This is above the lift station.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 02 - Cable Car

Upper Alpine

Upper Alpine Region Near Piz Nair

The landscape up at this altitude is tundra. There are no trees.

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Hiking Trail Markers

Hiking Trail Signs

The temperature on this sunny day was about 50 degrees (8-10 deg. C). The trails are well marked in this area. Walking times are approximate. We found that we were much slower than the times posted. There we very few people on the trails when we were there. Trail etiquette is to greet fellow hikers.

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Hiking Equipment

Jane on Downhill Trotti Bike

While you could use a small backpack, I just loved my Mountainsmith lumbar pack with strapettes. It was positioned so that it rode without straining the shoulders or back. Lumbar packs keep the center of gravity lower on the back, which is great. My pack was large enough to hold a jacket, lunch, beverages, compact binoculars and other small pack items (such as a Swiss Army knife for cutting cheese, etc.). The trekking poles turned out to be a great investment. There were about $94 CHF for the pair at Scheuing Sport AG in downtown St. Moritz. You only really need one, and it is a tremendous help when going down and up climbs. The poles are light, collapsable, and have shock absorbers built-in. A rubber cover can be put over the bottom of the pole for dirt or hard surface trekking.

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Mountain Scooters - Trotti Bikes

Pepe on Downhill Trotti Bike

After our lunch and climb up and back to Marguns, we had the option to take the cable car down to Celerina. Just before we were to board, I saw these cool yellow scooters which you can rent for $15 CHF each. We rented two of them and scooted down the ski access road which was dirt/gravel mix and snaked its way down into the treeline along a beautiful mountain stream and valley. This was the highlight of the day. These are heavy duty scooters with disc brakes (they get really hot since you're breaking most the way down). The road has some hairy switchbacks and huge drop-offs, so be careful. The best part is the scenery - from the tundra at the station through the pine forest, and finally to the town of Celerina.

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Celerina

Village of Celerina

We dropped off the scooters at the cable car station in Celerina - they just take the scooters and put them up the cable car to the upper station. A great system. We walked a short distance to the train station, and caught the next train (15 minute wait) covering the short distance to St. Moritz. Even though they didn't check for tickets, our SwissPass could be used on this train as well.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 02 - Arriving Train

Evening in St. Moritz

Aerial Cable Car

After the five minute train ride from Celerina to St. Moritz, we walked by the lake back to the Nolda. For dinner, we had Italian food at a hotel restaurant just across from the Nolda. We had a long day and got ready for our exciting Glacier Express train ride the next day to Zermatt.

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Brought in Lumbar Pack
Nordic Walking Tips
Needed to Bring
Long Sleeve Jacket
Trekking Pole
Swiss Army Knife
Camera, Sunglasses, Suntan Lotion
Lunch, Blanket, Bottle Opener
Binoculars
Acclimate to the Altitude
Buy or Rent Trekking Poles
Be prepared for inclement weather
Food Served at Mountain Lifts
Hat or Ear Warmers
Extra Batteries for Camera
More Water
Pants (I had shorts)

Additional Photographs: St. Moritz

(click on photos to enlarge)
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