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The Cow Trail

A few weeks ago I crossed a pass north of Val Bregaglia and couldn't believe what I saw.

Here were massive steps built up a rocky section of hillside. They looked fit to carry Cesar's army. Then they dissolved into a cowpath. Surely anything made to such a scale would have a road on each end. It made no sense to me that a huge staircase would exist on its own.

I asked the first hiker I saw. He said: "Oh, that's a cow trail." It seems that when cows are migrated seasonally they crossed that pass, and the obstacle was just that short section.

Well, today I followed the cow trail of all cow trails, or at least the longest I've ever seen. A veritable cow road built of massive slabs of granite that a king would be proud to have leading to his castle.

It's hard to imagine the work that went into this trail, but the pasturage must have been worth it. I hope. All I saw were a few cows who I doubt even used this long route, though there were the occasional cowpies to step over.

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