The Dolomites are full of legend and fairy tales (see “The Legend and the Fairy Tale of Lago di Carezza“), and one is about King Laurin and his Rose Garden. In this day hike we visited Haniger Schwaige hut, located below the Torri del Vajolet (Vajoletttürme, 2813 m) and Croda di Re Laurino (König-Laurin-Wand, 2813 m).
If you ever wondered about the phenomenon known today as Alpenglow, here is the legend behind it for the Dolomites:
“King Laurin was the ruler of a thriving race of dwarves who lived up here and mined the mountains for precious jewels and valuable ores. He possessed a subterranean palace made of sparkling quartz. But his special pride and joy was the great garden located in front of the entranceway to his underground crystal castle. Countless wonderful roses blossomed in this garden, whose scent was enchanting. But woe unto those who might attempt to pluck even only one of these roses! Laurin would order that his left hand and right foot be chopped off! He exacted the same punishment from anyone who tore the silken thread which surrounded his entire rose garden instead of a fence.
Similde was the beautiful daughter of the “King on the River Etsch.” One day, he felt that the time had come to marry off the girl. So he invited all of the noblemen in the neighboring lands to join with him in a May Day ride – but he did not invite Laurin, the King of the Dwarves. Because of this, Laurin decided to wear his magic Invisibility Cap and attend without being detected. But as he caught sight of Similde, he immediately fell in love with her. So he grabbed her, leaped onto his horse, and galloped away.
The King on the River Etsch sent out his knights to find and rescue poor Similde. King Laurin, who believed that they would never discover him, pranced about in his Rose Garden. But the knights could see the roses swaying, and thus knew where Laurin was hiding. So they were able to trap him. Laurin was so angry at being discovered that he turned around and cursed the Rose Garden, which he believed had betrayed him: “Neither by day nor by night should anyone again glimpse this lovely sight.” But in saying that, Laurin had forgotten the time between day and night: The twilight. And so it is that the pink glow of the Rose Garden can still be seen at dawn and dusk.” (Source)
The plan is to start from St. Zyprian up to the Nigerpass with the bus, then hike to the Haniger Schwaige, Plafötsch Alm and back to St. Zyprian. For this we followed the Sagenwanderweg (Sent. delle Fiabe, Fairy Tail Trail, Trail No. 26):
With the public bus from St. Zyprian we arrived at the Nigerpass (1690 m).
The first part of the trail is on a forest road:
Soon, the King Laurin Wall (right) and the Tschaminspitze (center) is visible. The goal is to get up into that valley up behind the forest:
It is late in the year, but still alpine flowers are blooming:
Crossing the Niger spring, a mountain spring which is most likely the highest situated sprint in the Tiers valley. It is fed by the seeping waters of the Rosengarten Rocks.
Then the trail narrows and goes up rather steep:
No Fairy Tale trail without Fairy Tale characters:
We get higher and higher on a wonderful and mystic trail:
That way we get closer and closer to the King Laurin Wall:
During winter time, the area can be dangerous because of avalanches. And water alone can release big rocks too. With clear evidence that this can be a dangerous place.
The trail features many scenic resting places to sit down and enjoy the nature. Below one of the scenic resting points:
The Angel Wiesen is an open alpine meadow. And yes, there is a resting bench too:
Unicorns? Yes, why not:
After a short descend, the Haniger Schwaige shows up:
After a short descent, we are getting closer to the Alm:
The Haniger Schwaige is an excellent resting place. Take a seat, have one ‘Schnaps’ or two :-). Leave a tip, and you get one more Schnaps :-).
From here, the trail descents back to the valley, crossing different creeks.
The water seems to turn the stones into gold nuggets. Amazing what the water can do in contact with these stones.
The Gogglberg-Kuhboden Spring: a piece of art and same time a refreshing place.
Meadows are filled with the Herbstzeitlose flower:
On this tour there are no worries no to get enough break time. So time for yet another break: the Plafötsch Alm: A nice Alm to sit down, and I enjoyed a big glass of fresh cow milk.
From the Plafötsch Alm, we took the trail No. 7 (part of 27) down to the valley. A trail full of fairy tale feelings:
After one more hour, we arrived back to our starting point in St. Zyprian. The sky cleared up (it was mostly cloudy during the day) and we had a stunning view back to King Laurins garden:
Take the public transportation (bus) to Nigerpass (1688 m), then follow trail No. 26 (“Sagenwanderweg”) down to St. Zyprian (1135 m).
Duration: 7 hours including stops at Haniger Schwaige (1937 m) and Plafötsch Alm (1570m).
Difficulty: moderate, good hiking equipment recommended.
Happy Rosengardening 🙂
- Haniger Schwaige: http://www.hanigerschwaige.com