Raasta Project ONE – Along the Rhine River by bicycle – Leg 1

Leg 1: Oberalppass – Lai di Tuma (Spring of the Rhine river) – Oberalppass

On August 1st, Switzerland celebrated its 723th birthday and we decided – together with our family – to go on a hike in the Alps. We soon realized that despite the unpredictable weather we were not the only ones who hit the road – on our way to the starting point of the hike on the Oberalppass we crossed countless bikers, cars, cyclists and hikers.


Once we parked the car at the summit of the mountain pass at an elevation of 2044 m.a.s.l., the sky cleared up and we headed towards the Pazolastock (2740 m.a.s.l.). On the 3.4 kilometers steep and rocky ascent we soon left behind the traffic noise and even though the route is famous in the Surselva region, we only met a handful other hikers. Thanks to a very wet July the flora welcomed us with a wide, colorful variety of wild alpine flowers such as gentians, Alpine roses, bellflowers and bog cotton.


It was not easy to take off your eyes from the beautiful flower carpets, but the stunning views over the Alps and into the Val Tujetsch (the valley to the east) and deep into the Urserental (the valley to the west) were breathtaking too – and mystic due to shreds of clouds and fog.


On the peak we gave the rock cairn a high-five, signed the summit book, took a family picture and enjoyed the panorama view before continuing on the Fil da Tuma – a crest that lead us towards the Badushütte. We stopped and enjoyed an epic picnic with a priceless view.


From our picnic spot we got a first glimpse on a turquoise mountain lake Lai di Tuma – the spring of the Rhine River, one of Europe’s longest and most significant streams. From here the Rhine travels 1230 kilometers through Europe, crosses four countries (Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands), passes countless villages and cities, nine Unesco sites before flowing into the North Sea.


The sun was out by now and strengthened by our rich picnic we continued our descent towards the glittering Lai di Tuma as the lake is called in Rhaeto-Romanic, the local language. We were lucky and spotted many marmots, watched them for a bit and then crossed the wild torrent – barefoot as it carried a lot of water – before reaching the shore of lake Toma. Quietly it spread out in front of us, smooth and clear as a mirror, the Piz Tuma and Piz Parlet reflecting in it.


In our guide book “Bergwanderungen by Peter A. Dettling” it reads: “If the water knew what the humans have in store for it on its long journey, well it would quite likely choose to stay here, hidden, protected by the high rock face. But the law of nature decides differently. At the Eastern end of the lake the water plunges down through a narrow valley and builds from now on the Anterior Rhine. 60 kilometers further East the river meets its by three kilometer shorter brother, the Posterior Rhine – and together they continue the journey as the Rhine.

We were stunned by the beauty of the nature and started wondering how long it takes for one drop to travel from this Alpine region to the North Sea – the guesses within the family ranged from nine days to a year.

Whilst chatting and guessing we had the idea that it would be cool to follow the Rhine River from its source here to the Northern Sea in the Netherlands by foot and bicycle. Just like that, Raasta Project ONE – Along the Rhine River by bicycle, was born.


On the way back from the lake to the Oberalppass our legs got a bit heavy, but we excitedly started planning our Rhine adventure which most likely will continue in September, so stay tuned!

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