At 2:30 this morning, I woke and went to the window. The sky was clear, and the full moon shed her soft light over the snow covered mountains. In the valley below us, a white mist like a cloud lay over the lake. It was a beautiful sight, and I could not help it, I had to awake Alfred in order that he might enjoy it with me. He’s so very fond of the mountains and never tires of looking at them.
We both regretted our inability of staying up to look at this wonderful spectacle, but we knew that we had a big day’s work before us, so we crept into bed again.
Arose at 7:30, took the train for Celerina at 9:05 and arrived there at 9:15. We walked through the village, which has some old and pretty houses. We crossed the Inn and passed the picturesque chapel of San Gian with one tower partly in ruins. A half hour’s walk to the foot of the Muattus Muraigl, from the summit of which we were promised to have a delightful view of the surrounding mountains.
It meant a three hours climb for us, but we tackled the job in good spirits and with a goodwill. Alfred marched sedately ahead, I followed in his footsteps, and the girls brought up the rear, Maja picking plants and flowers as she went along. Alfred was looking about and enjoying the scenery as he walked onward and upward, but I had all I could do to keep my eyes on my feet, especially for about 3/4 hours when the road was very rocky. We started at a height of 5685 feet, and I was astonished to see the heather grow up at this site, Erika, they call it here.
Oh yes! I forgot to tell you that on the road from Celerina, a farmer had left his cow and loaded wagon (the cows pull the wagons here) on the road to have a chat, and the cow took a notion to eat some grass on the near by pasture and, as the road was higher than the meadow, the wagon upset and threw the cow. You ought to have seen the man’s face. He thought that we had scared the cow and it ran off the road.
As we climbed higher, the larch and the Swiss Stone Pine, which is sometimes called the “Cedar of the Alps,” became scarcer, and the view of the snow covered mountains grander and clearer. The sun shone down upon us from a clear sky, and I was soon perspiring freely. We had a fine view of the Piz Palu, 12835 feet, and its glacier, conspicuous for the beauty of its form and the purity of it snow.
After an hour’s climb, we reached an Alpine hut, occupied in Summer by the Senner (herder) while the cows are kept around him in the open. The doors were closed, but we found a seat, and Alfred took a picture of us with the mountains as a background. He also ran down to the rushing mountain stream to get us some fresh snow water and slipped on a stone and got a wetting.
We had climbed about half the way by this time, some 1200 feet, and, passing along a stretch of stones (what we call Geroll), we heard the piping of the “Murmeltier” (?English?) [ground hog] giving warning to his companions of the approaching of danger in the shape of man.
By 12:15, after 2 1/2 hours climb, we reached another Alpine hut built in an open square consisting of three buildings with a bench in front of one of them from where we could enjoy the grand scenery and eat our lunch at the same time.
We had brought bread etc., yesterday and the remains tasted fine up here. Fifteen minutes more and, presto, here is a restaurant. They had Pea Soup hot and I guess it was prepared of the celebrated “Erbswurst” (condensed ingredients for Pea Soup) but it tasted fine. No bread, they said, for the cable road had not made a run today, so we fished out of the inexhaustible Rucksack the remaining part of a loaf and, after a short rest, we started on our way home down.
I cannot possibly describe the sight which we enjoyed from this height of 8100 feet above the sea level and 2400 feet above the Maraigl Valley. At our feet, the green Upper Engadin with St. Moritz and the beautiful lakes, also the Rose Valley with the Piz Morteratsch (where we were yesterday) and the Piz Bernina, and, in front of us, the mountain chain from the Piz Lunghuns near the Maloja to the Pitz Vertsch north of the Albula pass.Oh, it was grand and worth the climb. We made the descent in a skip and a jump in two hours, not because we wanted to be in a hurry, but because we had to be owing to the steepness of the declining road. Talk about the road, it zigzags up the mountain and is at least 3 or 4 feet wide, but as you walk along and look down the bare rocky sides, you involuntarily take to hugging the inside of the road, and I must confess that it gave me a sort of peculiar creepy feeling whenever I looked down to where we had come from.
The sun had meanwhile disappeared, and it was blowing rather fresh so that I kept my overcoat buttoned tight up to the throat in spite of the exertion of trotting downward for two solid hours. But, oh, my shins and knees!! Still I would do it again tomorrow. It is grand. The joke of it is that Tante Lenchen said you need not take your canes along. There will not be any climbing or walking on this trip.
Well more tomorrow.
Good night, Dad.