Switzerland is sinking in the snow. Not so the Gridone (2188m), highest summit over the Lago Maggiore (198m) in the Ticino.
We spend the night in windy conditions near Ascona and take the first (or second) bus to Brissago at 7am. Picturesque it is on the coast of Lake Maggiore along, the places crowd up the steep forest slopes. In Brissago we shoulder the light backpacks and make our way through the district Piodina it goes up. We follow the signs to Mergugno.
Climb over the Lago
The weather in Switzerland is horrible today, to say the least. Everywhere it rains, in more than 1000 m altitude, this already turns into snow. In some places only 40-70 centimeters of snow should fall today! Only for Lake Maggiore and the surrounding area is reasonably sunny weather without precipitation predicted. The clouds move southward over us, obscuring the blue sky from time to time, but it remains dry. Down here, where the kaki trees bear ripe fruit, it is also pleasantly warm. Through the forest, the trail goes steeply through the autumn forest and with tons of chestnut on the way. However, we want to collect only on the way down ... After a good one and a half hours, we come to Mattarella (901m), and the road continues to the (holiday?) - place Cortaccio (1067m), Here, construction workers are still busily closing the last gaps before winter comes.
The forest is now clearing, and we hardly trust our eyes when, in bright sunshine, the cloud in the sky drives white flakes around our heads. The wind is quite cold, but the spectacle makes fun of its surrealism. The orange-brown vegetation gets a fine white plumage. The next half hour is snowing. At the Alpe Voièe (1648m) But we have arrived again blue sky. Up here it is already quite fresh, we pack up and look that we can Rif. Al Legn (1785m) to reach. Here is paused first, filled with water and enjoyed the morning over the big lake.
From here it is not far now, in twenty minutes we are at the Bocchetta di Valle (1948m)where the wind whistles around the ears and the view opens to the north on the snowy peaks. The path now leads along the steep eastern flank, and once again shows the generous interpretation of the Swiss for their red and white marked mountain hiking trails. In some places, it can be quite slippery in the wet, and also the hands can be used at some stages. On top of the ridge, the view opens onto the large southwestern grass slope of the mountain, and before you know it, the last 100 hm are to Summit (2188m) made.
From Brissago to here we took about 5 hours with extensive breaks.
The Gridone is the highest mountain located directly on Lake Maggiore. The view is magnificent, to the south the sunlit Po Valley with its factory puffs, to the north the Swiss soup and a little bit to see the snowy peaks. The summit cross is a stable and tall construction, with garden torch at the top. There is almost no wind blowing up here, and only after three bars of chocolate is it going downhill again. We descend quickly to the Bocchetta and turn from there to the north, towards Centovalli. Between Gridone and Fumadiga it goes down the valley steeply. The trail is quite archaic in places, and with each meter further down the wall of the Gridone rises to the left on. There is no one else on the road, we pass the hut behind P. 1433 and dive into the autumn forest. The foliage crackles underfoot and demands a certain amount of concentration, because stones and holes are constantly waiting under the leaves. It goes deeper and deeper Val di Bordei along, until the intersection at P. 789. Here, a board informs about the huge boulders lying around and their earlier use as summer refrigerators. In fact, one can explore one of the grottoes / rock holes through a steel staircase. A small, dark room whose temperature is no more than 4 ° C even in summer ...
We decide on the descent via Palagnedra, so we keep left, cross a river and have first again 100 Hm ascent in front of us. Oh great! Panting, the serpentines go up and we are glad when the path leads downhill again on a pleasant slope. After a good twenty minutes we reach the foothills of Palagnedra (657m), the oldest town in Centovalli. Very well located, and the sun still shines in this east-west oriented valley. Now only the serpentines of the road, which lead down to the reservoir, over the bridge and about 50 meters up and we are already in front of the small Bahnhofshausschen (500m).
Incidentally, during the descent, of course, we have no more chestnuts found. Have we annoyed ...