Where the wild waters rush: Segnesboden, Flims

Meander the elevated plain of Segnesboden, a pearl in a shell created by the dazzling rock formations of the UNESCO World Heritage Tectonic Arena. Here, water glides and gushes and roars, and wildflowers twinkle. 

The streams glide across the Segnesboden plain with ease, glittering in the sun and gentle enough to ford, then tumble down the mountainside, thrashing and beating and forcing between the rocks as if trying to create more space, spitting out spray in ferocious rage. But so delicate is our path between the wildflowers - speckles of purple, yellow, pale pink, china blue, indigo, magenta and rich rose pink. Rising behind us now are the spectacular rock formations of the Tschingelhörner, a chain of jagged mountains in the UNESCO World Heritage Tectonic Arena Sardona. 

A straight line as if drawn by a ruler splices the chain in half. It was created when the two tectonic plates from Africa and Europe collided and the older layer of rock was pushed above the younger one. Somewhere up there is Martinsloch, a 15-metre wide hole in the Tschingelhörner created by erosion, but it's hidden from view here. 

After taking the cable car up to Segneshütte and crossing the cauldron-like plateau, we are meandering back down to the lively resort of Flims in the canton of Graubünden. It's a 13km descent beside the gushing river, which viewpoints intermittently open onto, so we can feel the spray against our faces as the water crashes past. We pass through wildflower meadows and woodland so tightly woven that the air within feels cool on our legs. You'd have no idea that mankind was around for, apart from lift infrastructure in places, you can't see any signs. Even as we hear Flims, the world is still hidden by layers of dense woodland. The air smells clean, the water looks cleaner still - pure meltwater, translucent blue. I can still feel the refreshing bite of it around my ankles as we forded the stream higher up on the plateau then tumbled over the pebbly ground as the knobbly stones massaged our feet, 

Further down, it's like descending through Rivendell, the gorge criss-crossed with arching bridges. Then deep green foliage fluttering sunlight across the ground like the designs of a kaleidoscope. On the cable car up, the lift attendant had pointed out chamois grazing in high meadows. Down here we can hear birdsong and our path is crossed by tiny butterflies. Even low down we feel high up and enjoy huge panoramas over the surrounding mountainscapes through the trees. 

Let's just do an easy walk, we had said. Just a descent. But it's never just a descent, especially not when it's accompanied by scenery like this.

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