The “Mittelbünden Panoramaweg” trail leads from Lenzerheide via Arosa to Davos in two days, crossing the mountains to the West and East of Arosa, offering panoramic views of the central Grisons Alps. A panoramic trail of central Grisons, you might call it.
I didn’t really change much about this route other than including the eastern peak of Parpaner Rothorn, which seemed like an obvious thing to do, and changed the overnight stay from Arosa (hotel) to Älplisee (tent). Still, it’s not completely the original route, so it’s marked as modified.
Given the logistics around getting back to the car waiting in Lenzerheide and the risk of parking damages (or certainty of exorbitant parking fees), I opted to take the train for this one, which would take double as long and cost twice as much as driving, but seemed like the simpler and better choice. I was soon reminded of why I vastly prefer driving though (apart from the mentioned speed and cost elements.)
Due to my recent experience at Säntis and resulting (slight) ankle injury, I was not sure whether or not I would include the two separate trails to Weisshorn and Schiesshorn from Arosa as originally imagined, making it a three day trip with a quite intense second day, but just in case I packed for three days. The result: A 19kg backpack.
I’m going to have to go over the books next time and see where I can compromise and save weight. For example by leaving the tripod at home, but I’ll bet you dollars to donuts the day I don’t bring it, there’s going to be a gorgeous sunset, sunrise, or starry night I wish I could take a good picture of.
Debussing at Lenzerheide, parched from not drinking anything all morning so as to avoid having to use the train toilet, I found the local fountain to hydrate and to have my first protein shake of the day without using up any of the water I brought. I was determined to only use my water filter pump in an emergency, since its first use at Panoramaweg Aletsch revealed it makes the water taste like plastic.
A short, but brutal ascent through the forest later, I found another opportunity to refill my bottle. Of course, if I knew this fountain was here, I would have carried about two liters less to this point.
I made note of the fact that there is a substantial difference between carrying 17kg and 19kg and vowed to find ways to shave off a few hundred grams here or there before the next multi day hike. At least the new backpack is much more comfortable to carry and the weight feels distributed better. (The Airtrek Futura I got for the last hike kept poking me in the lower back and the weight was too far removed from the center of gravity so I traded it in for an Aircontact Core.)
Having lugged myself to the highest point of the trail by sheer force of will, I enjoyed the awesome view in every direction, before yet again refilling my bottle at the nearby cable car station in the hopes I would have enough water to last through breakfast tomorrow and until Arosa.
The way down to the lake and proposed camp site was refreshingly easy. A dirt path down a gentle slope in a friendly race against the setting sun while enjoying the pleasant views.
This night marked the second time I’ve slept in a tent (in the mountains). Having learned from the first time (at Aletsch) and having brought warmer night clothes and a pillow, it was less horrible, but still far from what you’d call a good night’s sleep.
The multiple vows of “never again” uttered during the night were soon forgotten, however, while having a breakfast of crunchy oat and chocolate cereal (dry) during sunrise all alone amongst the mountains (and sheep, and a baby lizard – see album below). A wonderful and rare experience that almost makes up for sleeping in a tiny, cold tent.
The biome having changed from alpine barrens to alpine meadows, I once again enjoyed the views during the rest of the gentle descent to Arosa.
Yesterday was hard though, and only 6.5 hours net (projected) as opposed to the 8.5 and 7.5 planned for the second and third day respectively. In light of how much this weight had slowed me down so far, of course not helped by the heavy hiking boots I was wearing to protect my ankle, I decided to just do the regular 54 tour, without the added peaks.
I briefly thought about doing them, but taking the cable car down to save time and energy, but then I would not be content with that either so it was preferable to skip those completely and save them for another time. Plus, I had already been on the highest peak of the (planned) route, and kind of seen the view that there is to be seen.
Arosa, like all Swiss (ski) resort towns has lost its beauty and charm a long time ago and traded them in for ugly hotel blocks and tourist centric avenues. Not much to see here, so I just walked through.
I didn’t find a fountain along the way and was down to half a liter, but I thought I saw a place with “Brunnen”(fountain) in its name on the edge of the village and didn’t feel like walking into any of the bursting restaurants to ask for a refill, so I optimistically carried on.
Well, if you’re ever in the same spot, maybe try the main road instead of the marked hiking route, or do ask in a restaurant, because there was no fountain from Arosa to Medergen, halfway up the second day’s ascent.
I was more than a bit thirsty once I arrived at Medergen, having denied the opportunity to use the Katadyn pump at any of the rivers along the way, confident that the restaurant here was open, and that there would probably be fountains.
Incidentally, I believe “Medergen” is Rumantsch for “Village that saves idiot who did not refill water bottles in Arosa because he didn’t want to ask in a restaurant”.
Rehydrated and refueled, the world was a beautiful place again and there were idyllic panoramas to take in all around. The second half of the ascent was then much easier, also due to the backpack having been relieved of almost two days worth of food by that time.
An adventurous stair climb with many dented and bent steps and railings later (rockfalls?), this day’s highest point was reached, crossed, and the descent began.
With Davos and the end in sight (a prospect I relished at this point), both my tired and beaten feet and I were happy to once again find the descent much gentler than the ascent and quickly made down the gravel-, then dirt paths, then gravel roads until I checked the train connections near Schatzalp, half an hour from Davos. Then I started running. I was surprised I could, with this backpack and these shoes, but I guess the threat of having to wait an hour at the train station does lend wings.
Trying to catch the 18:02 train, I gave it my best and made it to the station at… 18:04. Now if this were Germany, that would have given me three to thirty minutes for the train to arrive, but this being Switzerland, the train had been gone for at least two minutes. The next one would leave at 19:02, with a 50 minute layover in Zurich, my favorite city (and train station) in the world. /s
On the plus side, the four star restaurant next to the Davos Platz train station (Grischa) features a sun terrace (I did change into a fresh shirt I brought for the way home but I would have had reservations about sitting inside in my present condition), makes a very fine soy latte, nice fresh orange juice with a giant physalis berry for decoration and has excellent, super friendly service. So I actually enjoyed my wait for that next train.
By contrast, the tattooed, felt-haired waitress at the glass box café with the filthy floors at Zurich HB did her best to ignore me in my worn hiking pants and giant backpack, so I just sat there for half an hour waiting for my connection home, eventually making myself a caffeinated cocoa drink I brought with me and ignoring her glares in turn while sipping that from my shaker and munching on some cereal.
Would you like to share your own experiences with this hike? Do you have any questions? Something to add? Feel free to leave a comment below 🙂
Route Report / Gallery
Don’t miss a hike 🙂
|Date of Hike:
|2022-08-10 – 2022-08-11
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