Another trip with the SAC on Saturday. After a very early start, leaving my house at 5:15 in the morning, I meet with the rest of the group at Zürich HB. Something is weird, as I'm the only one carrying snow shoes. Typical for me I must have missed a memo ;-)
Instead of heading for Mergoscia to climb Madone (2039m), described as a "challenging snow shoe hike", we are instead headed for Ponte Tresa on the border with Italy to climb Monte Marzio (880m) and Monte Piambello (1129m). A less ambitious tour that's easily doable without snow shoes. Oh well.
The trail is mostly following well maintained paths lined by cute walls of natural rock. While there's some snow it's easily negotiable with regular hiking boots. A single steep section through the forest is a little slippery and requires careful foot placement, but the rest is easy cruising. The summits offer 360 degree views over the Italian country side and the Lago di Lugano. Unfortunately it's a bit hazy so we only get glimpses of the majestic Monte Rosa range to the North.
Lots of walking along minor roads and through small Italian villages gets us back down to the lake where we spend 40 minutes in a cafe, waiting for the bus. The long train ride back home offers a lot of opportunity for conversation and getting to know the group. Cool bunch. Especially our leader, Ernst, has been around with the SAC, and in particular UTO, for a long time and has been instrumental in a lot of its development.
~1000m up and down, ~22km distance