It’s not always easy persuading 2 children that the hike we’re about to embark on will be ‘fun’!
They’ve heard it many times before. It helps though when you can strap on some head torches and begin the hike by entering the dark tunnels that open up to the Mauvoisin Dam.
A 40 minute drive from Chalet Spa Verbier, the Mauvoisin dam was built in the 1950’s, and is the highest arched dam in Europe at 250m! When you walk along the top of the dam wall, you realise how high that is, as its a long way down to the base. It is stomach-churning! But as you hike through the many tunnels, some short and steep, chisselled into the rock, others longer with viewing areas, the enormity of the reservoir is breathtaking. Its ethereal! The kids shouts echo through the tunnels as does the loud noise of water pouring off the mountains. It is no surprise that the dam is used for hydro-electric power quite apart from providing drinking water in this region of Switzerland.
At a point you leave the tunnels behind, and a clear well maintained path leads you around the dam. It is quiet and there are only a few hikers and bikers enjoying the steep mountain scenery and awesome views. The whole circuit of the dam can be walked in about 10 hours, but this is not on our agenda today. We walk for a few hours and finally stop to picnic and play cards and take a break!
The hike back goes quickly as the kids run along the now familiar path to get back in the tunnels and turn on the head torches again. The air is fresh and very pure and the water in the dam reflects the colour of the sky. There is snow on the tops of the high mountains all year round as well as two enormous glaciers way above us and despite the slight chill in the air, the glare of the sun is really strong.
We all really enjoyed this hike. It’s crucial to take enough food and drink, but you’ll love the beauty and nature of the mountains and marvel at the great example of Swiss mountain engineering.