Updated: Jun 19
Suonen adventure in the Valais
Escaping the grey cold skies of Grindelwald, I decided to take the short train ride to the sun drenched Kanton Valais, or 'Wallis' as it is called in German. It always amazes me that just a 20 minutes journey through the Lötschberg tunnel can have such an impact on the weather conditions at the other side of the mountain range.
Now before I carry on, you may ask what a 'Suone' oder 'Bisse' (in french) is.
These are ancient water canals and channels to carry water from the mountains to the dry and hot lower farm lands. For the farmers and of course the habitants of the county, these were often life and existance saving constructions. Nowadays, the newer systems carry water in underground pipes and through tunnels.
But the value of the Suonen has been rediscovered as a tourist attraction for hikers and us trail runners. Often, these Suonen carry water over long distances along spectacular cliffs and through unspoilt country side. For the maintenance, there are trails along most of these water channels.
Back to my adventure run. The planned route was to run along the no. 61 Walliser Sonnenweg. But somehow, coming from the railway station at Visp, I managed to miss the turn off completely and ended up higher at the pretty village of Eggen.
So I decided to 'follow my nose', as one unfriendly second home owner later remarked to me as I was asking him for the way. But let me not jump ahead.
So, that's how I ended up on the 'Gorperi' Suon trail. I started to enjoy the twisting path along the water channels and canals almost straight away. Round every bend...and there are many of those, the views change constantly. It is a very runnable trail almost for almost the whole distance. But the eyes and senses tell your brain to slow down and soak up the impressions.
Just as well it is to slow down. There are many small short tunnels blasted into the mountain. In quite a few of them, it is necessary to duck down as the height does not allow to stand upright.
And then I arrive at the 'Chänilzug Mehrheji'! Just the name is a mouthful for anyone. The word 'Chänilzug' means 'length of channel', made of wood fixed to the outside of a cliff to channel the water around it. The blanked tree at the