Our heritage
Tectonic Arena Sardona

Ruedi Zuber

Hiking guide and GeoGuide Sardona

What is your role in this UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Practically on our doorstep there is a unique mountain backdrop with a seemingly upside-down world: old rocks above young ones - how is that possible? Scientists posed this question about 200 years ago and, after decades of controversy, have gradually solved the mystery. But even today there are still several open questions that can contribute to a better understanding of mountain education. The magic line, actually the rest of a surface in side view, cannot be observed anywhere else in the world as well as here. We GeoGuides Sardona have the privilege to guide guests and hikers to natural phenomena, to explain the facts based on current knowledge, to make them participate in an unforgettable experience. The phenomena of mountain formation are as amazing as the diversity of the Verrucano rocks, up to 280 million years old, or the landscapes shaped and shaped by glaciers and mountain streams. A particular challenge is the understanding of the different time horizons, which can be illustrated in millions of years, in hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of years and in a few years side by side.  

What is your relationship with the site?
Since my youth I have enjoyed hiking and discovering the small and big things of nature. While my father inspired me with enthusiasm for the world of plants, my interest in interrelationships has grown since my studies in forest engineering. After my training as a hiking guide, the GeoGuide course was added in 2012. Constant learning, whether through courses, hiking or literature, gives me the opportunity to look into the complex world of earth sciences and also to understand a little bit the Tectonic Arena of Sardona. Since 2017 I am GeoGuide coordinator and therefore even closer to the events around the Tectonic Arena Sardona, UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a formed GeoGuide community, we exchange ideas, develop new offers and occasionally enjoy small things that have so far been little noticed.

What's your favorite place? Can you tell us some secrets?
In the Tectonic Arena Sardona and its surroundings, the World Heritage region, there are many places that I like to visit several times. These include the Segnesböden above Flims and the Rhine Gorge, the Nummuliten cemetery on Cavorgia da Breil, the moraine landscape of Gavirola, the four Pizol lakes, the Schilsquelle, the Madseeli, the Geo-Galerie am Ziger, the Kärpfbrücke or the Firstboden.

I was particularly taken with the Untere Segnesboden. For me it is the embodiment of beauty, variety and perfection. The change of colors, contrasts and plays of light during the seasons and times of day, as well as during the different weather conditions, causes strange feelings of happiness. Unique of its kind is the mosaic of habitats in the moorland landscape and its contrast to the steep rock faces, waterfalls and ridges of the Tschingelhörner. Formed by glaciers and streams, sealed by the great Flims landslide, this Alpine floodplain has existed for thousands of years and is still continually being reshaped by the sinuous branches of the Flembach.

To reveal the secrets of the region would be inconsiderate for me as a GeoGuide. First of all, it is not nice to reveal these places because they could turn into crowded places. On the other hand, we keep the most beautiful places to lead our guests and to inspire them.

When is the best time for a visit and why?
The Tectonic Arena Sardona can be visited all year round. The prerequisites are adequate equipment, experience in the mountains, mountaineering skills and the ability to be enthusiastic about things that do not seem spectacular in everyday life. In winter, snowshoe hiking opens up the magnificent mountain world to us. In May-June, numerous orchids bloom, especially in the catchment area of the Rhine Gorge. In summer it is the main hiking season. This makes it possible to reach practically all hiking destinations. The Geoweg Mels or other attractions below are almost always accessible in snow-free times.

What activities do you recommend in particular?
The Tectonic Arena Sardona is first and foremost a hiking and adventure area. Several lifts lead to the heart of the region. There is also an extensive public transport network. Ideas can be found on the website www.unesco-sardona.ch under "experience". GeoGuides and their offers are also listed. The information centres and the visitor pavilion of the Segneshütte offer a good introduction. For rainy days there are also books on World Heritage and geology, but also on landscape and habitats. Those who want to learn more about World Heritage and its surroundings and benefit from special offers are welcome as a member of the Association for the Promotion of World Heritage and Geopark Sardona.

May 2020