Segnesböden – Stunning alluvial plain

We’re back in Switzerland. Sardinia not yet forgotten. The Segnesböden area seems to have the best possibility of sunshine for today. Even if it is covered in snow…

The days are getting shorter. So, we set off early-ish. Trying to maximize the sunlight. First stop off the bus is Ella – the charming little café near the chairlifts. Yes, we are taking the chairlift to Naraus. Then we’ll walk the remainder of the way from there…

On our previous visit we only got to a few hundred metres above Naraus before thick snow forced us into a retreat. Today, the path is clear. Well, most of the way. But, we’re also better prepared for playing in the snow. Gaiters to keep the slushy stuff out of our boots. And long pants for me. Even if the clocks haven’t changed as yet!

When we get to the Unter Segnesböden, we follow the path towards Segnespass. Past the magnificent waterfall gushing down a chute through the south-facing rock face.

At the furthest end of the plateau, we find ourselves standing on a snow-covered landscape. Once a valley. But now filled with rubble brought downstream by the rivers crossing the two plateaus. Apparently, the streams are constantly changing their course. So, that on one visit you may see a new lake, and next time the lake will be in a different place.

We head a little way uphill to get a better view across the vast plain. And to find a ‘dry’ spot to stop and make our lunch. Coffee and a freshly made sandwich. By the time I take the first bite of the sandwich, my fingers are frozen. Sore. The coffee-bag becomes a very welcome hand warmer. As soon as I’m finished with my sandwich, I put gloves on. It’s going to take a while for the aching to subside. Then we pack up, and we head off – intending to navigate back to Foppa via the opposite side of the plain.

Normally, this plain is easy to navigate. You just have to stay on the dry (or driest) ground. But today, with a relatively thin snow cover, over a relatively thin layer of ice, we have to take extra care to stay on the path. I say path, but really it’s just a few wooden stakes with red-white markings to indicate direction sticking out of the snow. We follow the ‘path’ by aiming for the next stake. Sticking to what appears to be the high ground. Progressing from one stake to the next. Once, I manage to step off the ‘path’ and find myself more than knee-deep in snow, and having to drag myself out without digging in any deeper…

At some point the stakes disappear, and we follow the red-white markers on the rocks. First veering gradually uphill, and then later on steeper ground on what may be an easy path in summer conditions, but, which feels treacherous covered in snow and the odd patch of ice. We soon realize that we’re not on the path we wanted to be, and that we’re heading towards the upper cable car station at Grauberg. When we look down towards the plain to see if we can get back on the path we wanted to be on, it becomes obvious that we would have had a few problems getting across the river where it widens. It turns out to be a fortuitous diversion after all.

When we reach the upper cable car station, we find the path leading back down to Segneshütte, where there are hot and cold drinks. Barbara orders while the local dog greets me as a friend. Dropping his stick at my feet. Darts off to fetch it when I throw it. Picks it up, bashes it on the ground. Then hitting either end of the stick on the ground, until the stick is completely dead… He brings it back for a second round. I throw it again. The same killing routine. This time when he brings it back, I apologize and tell him we’ve got to go. He seems to accept this without too much fuss. Walks off towards the restaurant. Drops his stick at the entrance and go inside without saying goodbye…

We set off for Naraus and Foppa from where we catch a lift with the chairlift to the base station and the bus stop that will take us back home… Barbara decides that she’s ‘tasted blood’ – a Swiss-German saying meaning she’s developed a liking for the place; wants to come back. This is fine with me. I’ve been wanting to get back here for a while. Back to Segnaspasshütte; and a visit to Piz Segnas. We may even be back before then. This area looks like great snowshoeing terrain…

Our trail and how to get to Segnesböden

The Unesco Sardona tourist website has a host of information about the alluvial plain and other fascinating sites in this Unesco World Heritage area.

Trail map

Download file: t191176529_2020-10-18 segnesboeden.gpx

2 Comments on “Segnesböden – Stunning alluvial plain”

    • Saw a few buzzards higher up. LBJs have probably retreated to lower feeding grounds. It’s the spiders that we encounter here that really fascinates me. It doesn’t seem to matter what the altitude is, or what the ground-condition is – be it ice, snow, or oven-hot sand – you’ll see a spider happily doing its thing…

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