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June 12th 2017
The first stage: R67
“Allegra! Eu sun rivada a Scuol…” means “Hello! I have arrived in Scuol …” in Vallader, the Rhaetian language spoken in Scuol and the whole area of the Lower Engadin. My arrival was yesterday. This morning around a quarter to nine I left my hotel, Hotel Altana, in which I have regularly stay for the last ten years and much to my delight, I started my first stage of the Via Alpina: Stage R67 from Scuol to S-charl over a distance of more of about 12½ km. It was a spectacular hike, that started with the crossing of the river Inn over a footbridge more than a century old allowing a great view on the Church of Scuol.
Next I climbed through the narrow and rather dark ravine through which the mountain stream Clemgia boisterously runs downhill over a distance of 2 km with a drop of 200 meters.
I was not only surrounded by impressive rock formations but also pleasantly surprised by spotting beautiful orchids: the first little group of Lady’s Slippers (Cypripedium calceolus) were in full bloom in a quiet spot, very near the wildly running stream. It was a first acquaintance: later on during my hike I spotted many more of them, even growing in large patches.
Later on the ravine gave way to a wider valley; the type of rock also changed considerably: during ages the rocks have crumbled by erosion to form enormeous mounds of scree at the bottom. It is a very dry environment with little vegetation.
After about three hours after leaving Scuol and still half an hour to go the scenery changed again: near S-charl rich alpine meadows and lush green pine woods made their appearance. The Museum Schmelzra (dedicated to bears and mining) was closed today.
Arriving in S-charl I spoiled myself with an large glass of “Apfleschorle” (Apple Spritzer) and a light lunch sitting in the sun on the renewed wooden deck at Hotel Mayor. I sat front row for a wonderful event: it was apparently the Big Day for the young cattle to be guided towards the higher pastures in the S-charl Valley: the whole herd walked through the main street of S-charl. What an exciting finish of my first stage of the Via Alpina!