19 February 2012

Trekking in Campra, Ticino CH

December 2011

Mid Feb-12 past already. It's been snowing today, the whole day. We'd get 20cm of fresh new snow.  Overall 2 feet limit should be exceeded. In other words, dream alike winter conditions in southern Finland.

These are circumstances outdoors and I'm at indoors. I've got a heel injury some weeks ago and still cannot do any activities. Speed of recovery is slow, extremely slow. Frustrating indeed.

As there's nothing new to write about, I'll record a one day hike I did in early December in Switzerland.  At that time there was practically no snow, at least not below 2500 meters.  As I forgot my tent to Finland, I was able to do only day hikes, you may know the feeling ...

I went to hike to Campra, to a cross country skiing center in Ticino. I'd never been there without snow, but was keen on seeing it 'naked' at winter.

By the way, in Campra, in about two weeks time there are Swiss National Championships of Cross Country Skiing. Go and have a look if you are near by (30.3.-1.4.). Location here.

Campra is located in Valle di Blenio, in northern part of Ticino (Tessin) Canton. Campra itself is a small, relatively flat valley, on about 1500m above sea level.  The sun melts snow quite quickly on these southern slopes of the Alps.  However, the sun does not directly hit the ski tracks in Campra during some weeks in Dec-Feb, ensuring perfect ski conditions for some weeks.

Although Campra is a very modest ski center, the place is famous for Italians, too. It is easier to reach than similar ski resorts in Lombardia Alps. At weekends there are several buses from Italy bringing ski enthusiasts. During last years, there's been national teams from various Eastern European countries having their high altitude ski camps there.

Ski tracks are colour coded, green, blue, red and black. I've usually spent most time on blue track, but when feeling sporty, red has been the choice. On black I've done only few times, as it raises my pulse too much.

I've been skiing there many times. Tracks are always maintained and are in perfect condition.  Unlike in Finland, in Ticino (CH) municipals do not maintain ski tracks. Thus e.g. in Campra, there is a business behind to keep things ship shape.  That's the reason that you have to pay in order to able to ski there, e.g. something like 6 Euros per day. When you enter the small room where to pay, look at photos hanging on the wall. Familiar? Yes, e.g. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Virpi Kuitunen etc.

One more thing about Campra. While reading local newspaper there I learnt that Campra will go under total renovation plan soon. Several millions of Swiss Francs will be invested there.

I walked through blue, red and black tracks, not fully circling them but zig zagging here and there. Treeless area in the valley are for animals and agriculture. You can smell it when there's no snow :)

There were several small creeks directing water down straight from circling mountains. Larger the waterfall, greater the sound in them. To me they were inspiring places to experience taking photos with slow shutter speed.

There's one river, which comes down through Blenio valley. At Campra it is still a small stream, crystal clear water though.

You could see animal waste here and there. I was really hoping to see some wild animals and capture some of them by a camera. I was too optimistic, as I quickly saw some wild deer in far distance but that was all.

Here's a hiked route, some 10km  (view larger map):

Here's some photos

A stream from Alpe Rideigra

A Shicane

Ice formation

Self Portrait

1 second of water flow



The main field without snow ...

... and the same field with snow

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