OUR SUMMER HIKES

It’s already the middle of October and that means the trekking season high in the mountains is almost over. This past Sunday, October 12th was the last day for alpine bus service. I planed to take the opportunity to go to Lucomagno, but it rained cats and dogs through the whole weekend. Hopefully, we’ll be able to explore a few more trails before snow hits mountains of Ticino. Now, that the summer is over, it’s time to recap our trail adventures from the past months.

People following me on Facebook tend to think that we spend all our time in the mountains. This is most certainly not true, but even I have the impression that we’ve been out a lot this season. Back in June I had an ambitious plan to go to the mountains every single week, alternating between easy and more strenuous hikes, but it didn’t work out. By the middle of the summer we’ve been to the mountains only twice. Most of the time we stayed home because of the stormy weather but also because D. was busy with his research. Sticking to the original plan didn’t make sense anymore, and so later when weather permitted we explored trails from the top of my list, those that require more effort and time. In total since June we only hiked seven times including a day hike in Sweden. Well, seven doesn’t sound like much, but all of them have been so wonderful, that it feels like we’ve seen a lot.

Here is a list of our hikes since my last post. I will publish more details on them in the next few weeks.

1. Länna – Lötsjön – Fjälnora – Selknä (Uppland, Sweden)

Day hiking near Uppsala in Sweden

Ekdalen, north of Fjälnora

2. Pian Geiret – Capanna Michela Motterascio – Diga di Luzzone

Summer hike in Greina region

Walking along Rein da Sumvitg in Greina

3. Dalpe – Capanna Campo Tencia – Lago Leit – Lago Tremorgio

Hiking from Dalpe  to Lago Tremorgio

Lago Leit

4. Passo Sasselo

Hike from Airolo to Passo Sassello

View from Passo Sasselo above Val Sambuco

5. Passo di Lucomagno – Val Cadlimo – Lago Ritom

Long dayhike from Lukmanier  pass to lago ritom

Lago Scuro

From Alpe Casaccia to Lago Ritom via Passo delle Colombe

Yay, hike number eleven! This one was on my wish list for a long time. Although we have already been to Lago Ritom area a few times we have never reached the region from the east. This time our plan was to hike up to Passo delle Colombe from Alpe Casaccia and then head down to Lago Ritom. This T2 route is a little over 15 km long with about 850 m of total elevation gain.

Route: Alpe Casaccia 1809 m – Passo delle Colombe 2381 m – Lago Cadagno 1921 m – Lago Ritom 1860 m – Piora 1851 m – Stazione Piora 1794 m
Access to starting point: bus 131 from Biasca train station to Olivone, then bus 136 to Alpe Casaccia
Access to end point: funicular to Piotta, then bus 117 to Airolo train station or bus 191 to Faido train station.

pizzo delle colombe still partly snowed in the middle of summer

PIzzo delle Colombe, 2545 m also know as Campanitt

At first it seemed that getting to the place by public transportation could be tricky, but everything goes smooth and around 10:15 am we arrive at Alpe Casccia. The weather looks like it might play along and despite the low clouds summits at the west side of the valley seem fairly clear. The initial climb to the Passo delle Colombe is only 560 meters but at the moment it looks like it’s going to take ages to get up there.

The trail starts right across the road from the Alpe Casaccia bus stop at 1810m. We follow the path toward Lucomagno for a few meters and then turn off to the west and continue on a nearly flat dirt road that leads to a couple of old stone houses in Alpe Gana.

heading up to passo delle colombe from alpe gana

Looking back down on Alpe Gana

From here our first ascent starts. A steep trail goes first through the forest and then along a grassy hill before we reach the vast meadow – Piano dei Canali at about 2100 m. Here the two impressive mountains Pizzo del Sole and Pizzo Colombe are laid in front of us. It gets surprisingly chilly and blustery. We put our windbreakers on and take a few bites to restore the energy before continuing the climb. Leaving the Piano die Canali behind, we hike up another 200 meters of steep trail to Passo dell Colombe.

alpine meadow with wild flowers at the foot of mountain Campanitt

Piano dei Canali with Pizzo del Sole, 2773 m (on the left) and Pizzo Colombe, 2545 m (in the center)

alpine flowers blooming along hiking trail leading to passo colombe

Continuing on to the Passo delle Colombe

alpine flowers blooming in Ticino mountains

Looking back down on Piano dei Canali

exploring hiking trails of southern switzerland

Pizzo delle Colombe (on the left) and the hiking trail leading to the pass

We are at the pass by 12:45. Getting up here took a little longer than planned, but well, I did too many stops for making photos. At this vantage we can see the entire Val Piora and Lago Cadagno at it’s west end. What a great view!

view from passo delle colombe towards west

Looking west from Passo delle Colombe

Snow is present at passo delle colombe in the begining of july

Passo delle Colombe and Lago dei Capanitt

hiking trai runs through piora valley towards lago cadagno

Heading down to Val Piora from Passo delle Colombe

The sun comes in and we stop for a lunch break before taking off to the lakes on a very easy gradual downhill path. At about 2250 m elevation the trail splits into two sections contouring the opposite sides of Val Piora and both leading to Lago Cadagno. We turn off to the left thinking that this side of the valley will offer better opportunities for picture taking but after a few meters all of a sudden the trail turns into a gravel road. This upsets me a bit, but the views are great, so I have nothing to complain about.

walking from piora valley to lago ritom

View of Val Piora towards Capanna Cadagno

trekking lago ritom region

View of Val Piora towards Lago Cadagno

unpaved roard leads from lago ritom to capanna cadagno

Walkking on the gravel road leading to Lago Ritom

Just a few meters until you get to Capana Cadagno trail splits again with one section running to the right up towards Passo Forca and Lago Ritom and the another one goes straight to the Capanna and Lago Cadagno. We opt for the later and continue straight on the road. Eventually trail goes off the road and leads down to Lago Ritom. What a joy to be back on trail! After a much-delayed break and a few snacks we walk around the lake towards Piora and arrive at the Piora Funicular station right on time for 17:00 departure.

lago cadagno is the only meromictic lakes in Switzerland

Cows grazing on the shore of Lago Cadagno

classic day hike trip in ticino region

Finally we arrive at Lago Ritom

trekking in canton Ticino

Descending to Lago Ritom

easy day hike aroung Lago Ritom

Walking along the shore of Lago Ritom

This was a great hike, very beautiful and not difficult at all. I am really looking forward to exploring other trails in the area and planing at least one backpacking trip up there this summer.

24 Hikes of 2014 Challenge

view from summit of monte san salvatore in lugano

View of Lake Lugano from Monte San Salvatore summit


1. Motto della Croce 14,61km
2. Monte Boglia 9,22km
3. Snowshoeing in Savognin, Graubunden 11,92km
4. Monti della Gana 13,77km
5. Alto Malcantone 13,73km
6. Mt Bigorio 12.46km
7. Capanna Pairolo 13,88km
8. Sasso Gordona 13km
9. Valle di Moleno 14.25km
10. Sentiero dei monti in Alta Leventina 7.35 km

Where have we been

I am back with a short recap of the past weeks. It’s been a while since my last post and that means, that we didn’t go to the mountains as much as we’ve wanted to.

There have been only three hikes since the last post, here is the list:

#8 Cabbio – Rifugio Prabello – Sasso Gordona – Cabbio (13 km +845 m) – nice and easy hike on the border between Ticino and Lombardia, good views of mountains and small villages on both swiss and italian sides;

Saas Gordona summit seen from Rifugio Prabello

View of Sasso Gordona from rifugio Prabello

#9 Moleno – Alpe di Ripiano – Alpe di Lai – Alpe di Confienn – Alpe di Ripiano – Cher – Preonzo (14.25 km +1450 m) – beautiful, but exhausting hike along Moleno River, we were not able to go all the way up to Alpe di Confienn because of the snow at about 1220 m altitude and another negative surprise of this hike – the valley was full of ticks;

#10 Lurengo – Predelp – Molare (7.35 km +687m) – this was planned as an easy hike, but because of plenty of fallen trees across the trail we’ve completed just a half of the course, finishing at Predelp, and that took us about five hours, the area is beautiful and I have two more hikes planned there.

Looks like we are behind the schedule with my “24 hikes in 2014” challenge: it is already June and we have only completed 10 hikes. I don’t think there will be more hikes this month, but starting July we will get back on track.

April in Lugano

The real april weather has finally arrived to Lugano. Although there have not been any foehn winds so far, the heat of previous weeks is gone and it rains from time to time. As usual there are more chances of bad weather on a weekend than a weekday, but we’ve been lucky not to miss any hikes so far!

walking trail along lake lugano

In Castagnola after a rain

We’ve done two more hikes in Lugano area:
#6 Tesserete – Mt Bigorio – Tesserete
#7 Sonvico – Mt Roveraccio – Cap Pairolo – Villa Luganese

And since there still plenty of snow above 1600m, for tomorrow I’ve planned another easy hike at lower attitude. In the morning we are leaving for Cabbio in Valle di Muggio and from there will head up to Rifugio Prabello and then to Sasso Gordona. This will be our first hike from Ticino to Lombardia.

Hikes of 2014

In Lugano, spring is in full swing. This year’s weather is so different from what I’ve experienced in two previous years. I was expecting endless rains and terrible foehn winds, but so far the weather was good: dry, very warm and calm.

20140412-065521.jpg

My goal for 2014 is to make at least 24 hikes until the end of the year. So far I’ve completed five, including one snowshoeing hike in Graubunden:
1. Tesserette – Motto della Croce (Capriasca, Ticino)
2. Bre paese – Monte Boglia (Lugano, Ticino)
3. Tigignas – Cre digl Lai – Riom – Savognin (Graubunden)
4. Berzona – Monti della Scesa – Monti di Motti – Tenero (Valle Verzasca, Ticino)
5. Migleglia – Arosio (Alto Malcantone, Ticino)

For today I have planned another easy hike in Capriasca.

Snowshoeing in Graubünden

The past weekend we’ve travelled to Savognin in Canton of Graubünden. We’ve scheduled thе trip back in february and kept our fingers crossed for the good forecast. The pretty warm weather of the past week made me worried about the snow condition. The Saturday was pretty warm with enough snow above 1600 meters. It started raining in the evening, then turned into snow and by 10 am on Sunday there was almost half a meter of fresh snow. What a great surprise from nature for our last snow hike of the season!

20140325-154508.jpg

20140325-154530.jpg

20140325-154719.jpg

20140325-154826.jpg

20140325-154846.jpg

20140325-154733.jpg

20140325-155013.jpg

20140325-154805.jpg

20140325-154900.jpg