Sometimes the trail doesn’t lead you quite the way you were hoping to go. In this case, while pedaling and skiing our way through Switzerland’s Engadine Valley this past April, and after a nice morning on the snow, we turned a corner on a bike trail only to discover several downed trees across our path along the river. The local trail crews had not yet been out for the spring yet, so we should not have been too surprised. However, given that the nearest access to a parallel road across the river would require some hefty backtracking to a bridge upstream, we remained determined to push on.
Tempted to haul the bikes over the downed trees, we set off on foot to see how many trees we were talking about. Four trees…not so bad. Another 200 meters ahead, however, the trail was gone – wiped out by a recent snow and rock avalanche – and only a very precipitous swath of slippery earth remained. And beyond that, we could spot even more downed trees…and snow. So much for that idea.
Our thoughts turned to the river. If we could find an easy place to cross, we could link into a network of farm paths and pedal back up to the main road along the valley. No backtracking. Onward motion. But the widest stretches of river were waist to belly deep, with slippery footing and a swift current of snow melt flowing. With another snow squall breathing down our backs, we opted to stay dry.
So back up to the bridge we pedaled. We embraced the extra 300 meters of climbing necessary to reach the high road across the valley, pedaled through a brief snow and rain squall (our first rain drops of the trip!), spotted a faint rainbow and still made it to a cozy camp spot on the Austrian border by dark – warm, dry and excited for another big day in the mountains.
(Click the image preview below to view enlargement. View more posts about the trip HERE.)
-Brian and Emily
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