Apr 18

2 Wheels, 2 Planks: Heftiger Schneefall

Relaxing back at camp in Switzerland’s Engadine Valley – Credit: EmberPhoto

We’re pretty sure that’s German for “heavy snowfall”, and although we’ve managed to score some beautiful sunshine-filled days in the alpine over the last ten days in eastern Switzerland’s Engadine Valley, heftige Schneefall has been the norm here (stay tuned for some more photos when we score normal computer access).

Luckily, with spring in effect, we’re able to comfortably camp at snowline, where the snow only sticks at night and through the morning hours, before the warmth of the valleys burns it back by day. The snow also refuses to accumulate on well-traveled surfaces, like bike trails!, so we have easy bike access from our camp to town, to other skiing access points or to the train station (rail-powered skiing anyone?) In fact, the bike trails lead just above everywhere here, and it’s truly a cycling paradise.

Thanks to Emily’s sniffer, we’re currently enjoying a fine camp on a flat, dry and grassy spot at snowline, under a thick cluster of conifer trees surrounded by 1-2′ deep patches of snow…and with ski in, ski out access to some VERY big mountains above us. We broke from our camping routine recenty after being invited for an incredible feast and to stay the night in a 400 year old farmhouse with a friendly couple from the region. What a feast…what a house!.. more on that later. (Thanks Urs and Sigi!) And we mixed things up today with a train ride over to Tirano, Italy and back, in order to scout a few spots we hope to pedal through and ski near in approx. ten days, and to stock up on Italian ravioli and ragu for the next few nights.

Still, we’re keeping up a steady rhythm of skiing lots, biking a good bit and sleeping plenty in the fresh mountain air. Yesterday was another highlight. Clearing skies allowed us to summit a couple of peaks above our camp near Morterasch, peek at a few glaciers and towering summits along the Italian border, and enjoy thigh deep powder under the setting sun. We finished the day with a new line back to camp through the trees at dusk and a stop at our trusty mountain spring to fill up the jugs. After more than 2000m of climbing and skiing, even the first train whistle of the morning couldn’t wake us! Rather, we stirred naturally to the melodies of countless songbirds this morning.

Anyhow, we hope all is well from wherever you read this.

Ciao from Morterasch, Switzerland
-Brian and Emily

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