Hiking Arena Sardona

Anna and Bernd were staying with us for an extended weekend. Unfortunately Anita and I had to work, so the two of them spent Thursday and Friday exploring the area and the lake on their own. Friday late afternoon we drove up to Flumserberg to go on a three day hike of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sardona. Since it was already late in the day we only hiked a small distance and made camp at the Heusee. Beautiful evening only spoiled by too many mosquitoes.

Bernd carried 5 tonnes of field guide up the mountain.
Mosquito Gangsta! Yo!

We had a severe weather warning for Saturday with thunderstorms, hail and hurricane winds. The morning looked nice though, so we climbed the Gross Güsslen (1833m) and continued along the ridge to the Munzchopf (2174m). All the while our two botanists, Anna and Bernd, were completely over the moon with all the plant discoveries they made. Bernd in particular was running back and forth like a young puppy, delightedly pointing out his latest finds, challenging Anna with all the Latin plant names. Fun ;-)

Rappa loved the snow.
Daredevil Bernd testing a fragile snow bridge.
Keep cool!

Since slopes with Northern exposure were still heavily loaded with snow we decided to deviate from our original plan of heading straight for the Murgsee and take a detour via the Murg valley instead. Considering the uncertain weather forecast this seemed like the safer bet than being trapped high on the mountain in severe weather. We made camp at Guflen (1700m). Just when my pasta was almost ready Anita turned around and pointed out some dark clouds moving in quickly. Five minutes later the sky was falling.

Fresh from the tap.
Rappa dragging and rolling through the snow.
Anything to cool down ;-)
She couldn't be convinced to carry the backpack. We tried!
Freshly dug apartment.

We had our tents pitched just in time. However that didn't help much, as within minutes the meadow turned into a lake. So we fled into the close cowshed which at this altitude and this time of year was not yet in use. Anita and I actually spent the night in the hay. The others waited out the worst of the rain and moved their tent onto a small hill.

Don't slip!
After a refreshing bath in the creek.
Anita instructed everyone to look depressed. I'm actually quite proud that we managed to wear out the dog this time.

The next morning greeted us with clear blue skies and hot weather as if nothing ever happened. Leftover hailstones the size of my thumbnail and shredded vegetation betrayed this idyll somewhat. We later learned that they counted more than 4500 lightning strikes within half an hour in Zürich and a mother and daughter drowned in their underground parking garage.

The morning after.
Someone's got to do the dishes.

Anita separated from the rest of the group and headed back for the car. Her path down was blocked by a fresh land slide. People were already working to clean it up though and she made it down fine. We others continued over two more passes around the Mürtschenstock. An impressive fortress of rock that is rarely climbed and a tentalizing prize to me. Some day... A quick swim in lake Talalp and we meet up with Anita in Filzbach. Back in the comfort of our home with pizza and beer another thunderstorm rages outside.

Mighty Mürtschenstock face.

Perfectly timed trip in beautiful surroundings and fun company. Do visit more often! ;-)

~37km, ~+3000m, ~-3700m

Hailstones... 15 hours after the fact with quite a bit of sun...
Surrounded by cold water. Damn!

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