Black salamanders and alphorns
1st part: Carschina Hut – Schweizertor – Verajöchli – Douglass Hut (Lünersee)
Distance: 14,4 km
Time: 4 hours 5 minutes (plus 20 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance: 450 m uphill; 690 m downhill
2nd part: Douglass Hut – Lünerkrinne – bus stop Leidl (near Vandans)
Distance: 12,6 km
Time: 2 hours 40 minutes (plus 10 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance: 230 m uphill; 1400 m downhill
We left the hut at 7.10 a.m. It had rained during the night and it was still very gloomy, with a lot of cloud hiding all the summits. The path was still wet and there were black salamanders almost everywhere, walking on the path, standing on small stones, sometimes mating. After 2 hours we reach Schweizertor and continue up to Verajöchli towards the Lünersee. The weather is gradually improving and we met the first hikers.
At Lünersee there a little sun. We hear alphorns on the other side of the lake, we go round it to the west (good road, almost flat). At the small restaurant of Lünerseealpe there is quite a crowd – two Swiss are giving an alphorn performance. Along the way, we meet other groups of players. We learn that there is an alphorn festival, perhaps sixty different groups from Switzerland and Austria, each group having 3 to 6 players. These groups would stop along the way and play for a few minutes before going on further, and alphorn music could be heard from all around the lake. Incredible party atmosphere!
At the Douglass Hut, where the Lünerseebahn cable car ends, more crowds eating, drinking and taking photos of the players – we do the same!
I have arranged to meet Sally and my (half) brother Walter in Schruns this evening. We walk down almost to Vandans at the bottom of the valley, where it is very hot. We take a break at a bus stop and Christoph discovers that one will arrive within 5 minutes, the service only starting today! And already the small bus is there, we find room in it for the last kilometre down to the station. 40 minutes wait for the next train to Schruns, 4-5 km away, where we are met by Sally. With her, I take a bus to Gargellen to collect our car. Finally, we settle into a hotel (shower, swimming pool and sauna for some) and have a good meal and Christoph and Walter.