Continuing on, we have walked pretty much every day we have been here in the Toggenburg Valley. Even on rest days we will have done an easy walk. For example, today we did 13 kms in 4 hours in the valley beside the fast flowing, falling river, then steeply uphill on the other side of the valley for 300 m then returning down to Nesslau, our local town and the car. It was even hotter than normal – 35C and we sank a couple of lagers very fast at the first Gasthaus we encountered. The hardest walk we have done was earlier this week. Walking from the house at 700m up to the nearest high point at 1110 – Wolxenalp. Then steep down through forest to the Steintaler River at about 800m, then very steeply up again through forests to the peak Tanxboden at 1443m which just happens to have a restaurant. Returning the same route, the overall walk was 5.5 hours excluding lunch stop and approx. height gain of 1000m.
The high point, in all respects was the summit Chaserrugg at 2262m. However, we admit we cheated and took the funicular and cable car. While there are perfectly good options to ride say half way and then walk, we decided that we wanted more time at the top because there are amazing walks right from the summit. There are three summit walks, 1) the Blumenweg a flower walk, 2) the rundweg, an extension of the flower walk that goes right out to high points and 3) the summit walk going up to the highest point of the peak. In all we spent several hours at the summit and had the energy to do justice to the high walks, particularly the blumenweg, which I will cover in a separate post.
Another highlight for us was meeting the lady from the local ski club, who was acting volunteer chef for the ski lift operator. We met as we returned from one of our very long, high walks and she invited us to join her on the deck area for a cold drink, and then proceeded to invite us to stay for dinner. We had great fun and returned the following day, by request for morning coffee and to provide an entry for the ski clubs journal, which amazingly has been running since 1975. Needless to say she has been invited to Cork!
I mentioned the highly organized approach to walking there is in the Alps generally which makes it very easy to plan appropriate routes and find your way. Here in the Toggenburg we are located at the western end of the popular walking area and we found it easy to locate walks of the right grade with minimum travel to and from the start and finish. In general we selected lower level walks starting in the valley or from the house between 650 and 750m and as focused on routes with a maximum of around 1400m. There are numerous cable cars a little further up the valley and it would have been very easy to drive, take a cable car up to say 1200m and then walk a contour path and return via another cable car. And indeed we have done this previously in Austria, where we used the bus to return to our startpoint. But this visit we found more than enough walks often without using the car, and with the exception of Chaserrugg always without using a lift. The advantage is that you get to “climb” the mountains with lower cost. And this is not an incidental – cable cars and the like are not cheap!
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