Distance: 19.3 km. Climb: 532m. Descent: 900m
A good night’s sleep, a simple breakfast of bread, cheese and coffee, and I managed to get underway by 9 am. First days are always a bit later to get going, but usually I try for 8 am.
I am using the Swiss Mobility app on my iPhone to assist in way finding. This is my first time with this particular app – which I recommend, by the way – but I was not accustomed to their marking system. So it took longer to get out of town than I hoped. By the time I passed the abbey at Au, the office was already closed for morning Mass, so I wasn’t able to get a stamp for my pilgrim credential. That will have to wait for tonight in Schwyz (pronounced Sch-veets).
However, my delay at the abbey meant I met up with another walker, a Swiss gentleman from Wädenswil, where I changed trains yesterday. We were able to make small talk about families and home towns for most of the big climb up the Heggenegg (1500 ft of climb and it is steep and stony). Distraction during such pain is very helpful! Also two other walking pairs passed us, lightly loaded local Swiss folks. Today’s route winds along a small river up the Alpthal valley for the first two hours, with glorious views of steep pasture and forested ridge crests. Then it heads up quite steeply. About a mile short of the pass, at a wayside shrine dating to 1795, we parted ways. He was ready to continue while I needed lunch. The descent was twice as long and just as steep, over a path that was mostly covered in loose gravel – very treacherous footing. I was having to take a break every half hour.
Coming down into Schwyz, I had a terrible time finding my lodging for the evening. The street number wasn’t where it should have been, which threw both me and Google off the scent for an hour. Scent would have helped, actually. As it turns out, I’m sleeping over the dairy barn. An aromatic location with no dinner or breakfast provided; restaurants are ten minutes’ walk towards town, and the bathroom is down a steep stair. Despite the clean room, inexpensive price, and central location, I’m not strongly recommending Bauernhof Steinstockli.
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