On Saturday, we had a chore day at camp. Route planning, emails and fixing my slow puncture.
For Sunday, Ruedi had recommended that we cycle along the valley to the next town, then hike a trail up a 3,400m peak (although not all the way to the top!) for amazing views and possible ibex sightings. We debated doing the recommended route, we debated going up a different mountain and then I said I decided that I wasn’t up to going up any mountains at all. Dave really wanted to go but didn’t want to part ways for the day, so settled for a valley walk with me. And kept reminding me of that fact! But we had a nice day in the end.
We headed out along a trail, leaving Zernez along the river. We saw lots of trees covered in spooky webbing and saw thousands of little caterpillars weaving and munching. Apparently they’re tent caterpillars, commonly called web worms. They can eat whole trees bare (the ones we saw had no leaves at all), but the trees should survive one bad year if they are left alone the following season.
We could hear the pumping drum and bass of the festival and were worried we were in for a noisy walk. It did get louder, but the festival was only 1km or so from the town, so we were soon watching them from across the river, bouncing to the beat in the sun. Then we carried on past with just the sound of the rushing river and racing motorbikes.
Along we went past wildflowers and forests towards the town of Susch, when we spotted a fort on a little hill next to the town. There was a path off to the right that wasn’t signed, but looked like it might go there… so off we went. We’d been walking barefoot for a bit but the trail here was rocky and I put my sandals back on, but Dave persevered and we wound our way slowly uphill along the track. We passed some donkeys, including this little guy with his bowl cut! Then the track went to the front door of a house and we were suddenly without a trail. The sheep were looking at us from the shade of the trees and we could see the fort on the top of the hill but no path to get there but sheep tracks. We zig zagged our way along sheep trails, across the field and over the fence to find another track that took us to the fort.
Fortezza Rohan was built in 1635 during a 30-year war with the Austrians and the Spanish. At the end of the war, it was abandoned. The walls are still standing and the tower has been restored with a viewing gallery.
We sat on top of the fort and debated what we might do once our rewilding cycle tour comes to an end! Winter ski season, maybe?
On the way back, we followed the proper trail through the pretty village of Susch and back to Zernez along the river. It was a beautiful day and a lovely evening and we enjoyed ticking some jobs of the list after dinner. I even got an hour of yoga in before bed, finishing as the sky turned purple and an aeroplane made an orange vapour trail flying into the setting sun.