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September 22nd 2018

Through the fog and over the “Energie-Spürweg” (“Feel the energy trail”)

Early this morning I looked out of my window to check on the weather and then I saw an historical locomotive in the railway station: it was the “Krokodil” (the “crocodile”) dating from 1929, a locomotive with “cult status”! This is the showpiece of the Rhaetian Railways. Every day during the summer season (May – October) a historical train combination with the Krokodil in front makes the trip from Davos to Filisur and back – and this to a standard fee. As a real train spotter I have seen through the binoculars that this was Nr. 415. Later that morning Nr. 414 came speeding through the railway station of Küblis.

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Küblis: to the right is the classic under the locomotives – the “Krokodil” (the Crocodile”) of 1929

Breakfast at Hotel Terminus was excellent, I especially liked the (according to the original recipe not quite correctly made) Birchermüesli; the combination with the cubes of melon worked well! I have explained to an American couple what “Müesli” meant and especially how healthy it is – they ventured to eat it and found it “great”… The pun is that you should really pronounce it as “müü-èsli”, the diminutive of “Mus”, meaning compote; “müüsli” is the diminutive in the Swiss German language of the word “Mäuschen”, meaning small mouse…! Strengthened by this breakfast I decided to go to Klosters en from there by the Madrisa cable car to the hiking area in the mountains. From the Saaser Alp many hiking trails go into all directions. In the valley the weather was rather sunny, but higher up the mountain slopes the visibility diminished because of the clouds. I took the bus, because it left Küblis earlier than the train. I arrived in Klosters-Dorf and went ot the cable car, which was free for me with my guest-cart from the hotel. It was quiet. The trip to the top started with a nice view on the Sunniberg Bridge, finished in 2005, which as part of the by-pass road of Klosters has already before its completion received a price for its exceptional design. The transit traffic goes over the bridge to Davos by the Gotschna tunnel. The village of Klosters soon disappeared from view.

The visibility also diminished fast: though the fog only contours were visible, of a barn, of trees and of the sun… There was silence.

On arrival at the top I quickly ate a salad in the recently renovated restaurant “Madrisa Alp” with many wood accents – also there it was quiet. Outside I noticed that the fog actually only floated around the mountain tops at the northern side of the valley and that every now and then the sun came through the clouds at the other side. It gave the landscape something mystic. That went well with the theme walk I was following: the “Energiespürweg”, the “Energy Trace Path”, a walk along several points where energy would be clearly felt. The main part of this walk overlaps with the “Prättigauer Höhenweg”, a long distance hike which also leads to St. Antönien, from where I would like to hike on a stage of the Via Alpina.

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Klosters: seen from the Saaser Alp the mountain tops are visible above the fog

I found the “Energiespürweg” intriguing and interesting. At the start, but also later on at the different information panels, instructions were given how you had to relax first by looking at a drawing with many colours and/or patterns and then stand on a spot where i.e. an old car tyre was positioned. The next question was what you had felt: whether your body had been swaying, whether you had felt restless or a tickling at your soles . At the first point I had been standing on an ancient road – I hadn’t felt much. Interesting was the connection that was made with wildlife trails: that on one hand energy is created because the animals use such a trail, but on the other hand that the animals especially use this trail, because the energy “feels right”. There is also made a relation to Feng Shui. I passed the boulder on which one as a tired person could sit down to enjoy the view and to clear one’s head: it was too foggy… The next panel showed a water molecule, because that stands for harmony and it helps to get into contact with oneself. So I took a look at the water molecule and stood inside the car tyre. I knew for sure that I didn’t have “week knees” or a “foggy head”, but I certainly felt my body swaying… It turned out that I had been standing on an underground system of water streams! Here it was a matter of a “site of power”(“Ort der Kraft”): it has something to do with the earth magnetic field. This was also the case at the Menhir above S-chanf, which I visited in September of last year and where a measurably higher radiation is than in the surrounding area. On the information panel was also pointed at the Oracle of Delphi, the pyramids of Egypt and the Circle at Stonehenge: these have been built on locations where earth radiations have a positive influence. Like in S-chanf here the Chartres Cathedral is mentioned: it is also built on such a crossroads of earth rays.

At a next point I watched the “Flower of Life”, the motive of joy of life and creation. There as well I felt my body sway a little: I had been standing on an old fire place. That was quite possible, because close by had been an old lime kiln. It had been restored as good as possible: a part of the outer shell was still standing. Also here a drawing of the way the kiln had been functioning was shown. And there was a large supply of lime stone around! The fog in the distance provided some extra dimensions to the site.

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Klosters: on the Saaser Alp there is limestone on the ground and fog in the distance

The next point turned out to be a negative ritual place – fortunately I didn’t feel anything, no anger, unease, confusion, fear… Close by was a large, flat boulder. On the information sign it read that this was a “Heilstein”, Charm-stone – with healing powers. It is said that there exists right-turning energy and left-turning energy: if one is ill, the energy is left-turning. Because the boulder is strongly positive-energetic, this energy would assist the self-healing power of the body. On the top nearby a group of people was sitting, chatting and laughing, as I lied down on the boulder in the same way as the people on the picture shown on the panel. Normally I do not like at all to lie flat on my back on a hard surface, but here something strange happened: when I lied down on the boulder, I felt as it were how all the bones in my back popped into place and how the boulder wasn’t cold and hard at all… Somewhat confused by this experience I got back on my feet and continued my walk … with renewed energy! The fog however stayed.

Between the panels of the Energiespürweg runs a “Heilkräuterlehrpfad”, an educational trail on medicinal herbs: I was familiar with almost all wild Alpine flora mentioned; some of them are so poisonous that they can only be used in an homeopathic way, like the Monk’s hood and the February daphne! Of the many varieties of Gentians still in bloom I clearly recognised the Stemless Gentian with its large calyx in that special shade of summery blue. Beautiful to look at, but I think that the healing power of the gentian can especially be found in the “Schnaps”…!

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Klosters: a stemless Gentian (Gentiana acaulis)

Not far from the “Heilstein” I noticed on a rim of a steep lime stone slope a large billboard with an explanation on the avalanche barriers which have been constructed on the steep mountain slopes at the norther side of the Landquart Valley. In the severe winter of 1999, that by now is called the “Avalanche Winter 1999” due to the extensive snow fall and the may avalanches – in the whole of the Alpine region – also a large avalanche had come down close by Saas i.P. just on the by-pass road to Klosters. During four days the road was blocked and Klosters and Davos were cut off from the outside world. Something similar had already happened twice in the 1950s. Therefore in the years after 1999 advanced avalanche barriers have been built in the areas of the steep mountain slopes of the Geisshorn (2.217 m) which were exposed the most. Furthermore the by-pass road near Saas runs through a tunnel by now, so the transit traffic can safely flow through (and the village is free from the busy traffic). From the footpath I followed I had a closer look on the avalanche barriers: especially against the foggy background they looked frail, but they are astonishingly strong. According to the info panel they are able to transfer the forces of a snow load up to 20 tons per square metre into the ground. These avalanche barriers have also been designed to stop extremely powerful avalanches, occurring once in the 300 years, called a “300-jähriges Ereignis” (a 300-years’ event).

Continuing on the Prättigauer Höhenweg I saw that through the wisps of fog how the sun was shining in the valley. It wasn’t cold and the landscape was beautiful and diverse. I heard the sound of cow bells from below. It was possibly here that the legend about the beautiful girl Madrisa has been created. I read about it at the mountain station of the Madrisa cable car. According to this story the cows on this Alp were the most beautiful in the wide region and that was because the beautiful girl Madrisa helped the cattleman with the care of the cows. As one day the cattleman’s father came to visit, the shy girl fled into the mountains and was never seen again…

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Saas: down in the valley the sun is shining…!

After half an hour I reached the highest point of my hike: Zastia at 1.922 metres. That is just above a large alpine farmhouse, where everybody was busy preparing the buildings for the winter. Here I left the Prättigauer Höhenweg that runs to St. Antönien (still 3 hours on foot) and decided to make the descent to Saas (still 2½ hours).

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Saas: at Zastia the highest point of the hike is reached: 1.922 m

The lower I went on the mountain slope, the better became the visibility, the greener the grass and the higher the temperature. I also got a better view on the surrounding mountains. Everywhere farmers were busy repairing fences and stow away things they did not need anymore. From uphill I saw a herd of Valais Blackneck goats running from one side of the meadow to the other. It was a funny scene, because they ran “in formation”, so it looked as if a chest board was moving fast over the field!

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Saas: view on the valley of the river Landquart with the village of Conters i.P. … with sunshine

After walking on a somewhat wider mountain road I could also descent by steep and narrow forest trails with large boulders. I had to go to the side to let pass mountain bikers who had decided that they would like to take just that trail as well… One of them, a young lady, turned over rather painfully, but as by miracle she was all right apart from a cut in her face. Thank goodness!

Steadily the village of Saas drew nearer: the church tower is visible from a distance.

In this area I had spotted already several times large bundles and rows of wooden stakes hanging from barns, but now I could have a closer look. These are hay-drying frames, that are called Dieme(n) in German and in the Alpine countries Heinzen. Such Heinzen consist of a long wooden pole (1½ metres high) that is driven into the ground and of two or three side stakes on which the grass is displayed to dry.

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Saas: on an old barn hay-drying frames are hanging, here called “Heinzen”

Meanwhile I had left the fog behind. Every now and then I looked up to the mountain tops from where I came: the clouds were still there. At the opposite side of the valley I could see the Gotschnagrat mountain with the building of the Gotschna cable car. The name of this mountain shows that this region originally was Rhaeto-Romanic: “Gotschna” or “cotschna/cotschen” means “red”!

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Saas: view on the Gotschnagrat, with the mountain station of the Gotschna cable car (just above the tree tops)

When I after – indeed – 2½ hours walking arrived at the outskirts of the village I saw besides the Walser buildings, something quite funny; work form the same artist as who had made the wooden statues placed in Malans along the railway tracks. This time a goat buck is quietly sitting on a bench in front of the house, reading, but the Big Bad Wolf is peeping around the corner of the house…

When I arrived at the village square of Saas I looked at the bronze statuette standing at the fountain: “dr Purabuab” is written on the plinth – this will mean something like “the farmers’ boy”. It has been created by Freddy Air Röthlisberger, a well-known Swiss “bronze sculptor”, born in 1930. Meanwhile the 17.00 hrs. Postal car into the direction of Küblis had passed by behind me. That gave me the opportunity to have dinner at the “Gasthaus zum Rathaus”. I chose “Spinatpizzokels“, kind of pasta made of a mixture of flour, eggs and milk, and in this case spinach put in it, boiled in water and grated with alpine cheese. It tasted nice after the hike! The wine was a RieslingxSylvaner again. That also completed the meal.

Waiting for the Postal car I read some information panels at the bus stop. They mentioned a. o. the story of the large fire in 1735: then a mayor part of Saas burned down – a tiny spark from a baking oven sufficed. The Rathaus (town hall) was more or less spared because of it thick walls. The church was on fire as well – the tower burned down ‘though and is later rebuilt in a somewhat Italian style. The year 1864 is mentioned on the tower. Most houses that nowadays appear “old”, date from the period after the fire. Newer houses are still built in the same style, like the school with its cheerful decorations.

At 18.00 hrs. the Postal car arrived and brought me to Küblis in due time. Again it has been a wonderful hiking day with many new points of view.