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DAY 3 Monday 7.8.00  

After receiving advice from the locals about the Richetlipass (too much snow and mudslides making it dangerous to cross), and hearing the news about three walkers being killed in a mudslide near Grindelwald, we decided to abandon the crossing of the pass. We met a Swiss man later in the week who crossed the Richetlipass on Tuesday and said it was tricky with lots of snow and some difficult sections.

Instead we walked down the Senfertal to Schwanden and took the train on to Linthal. The paths were broad and generally downhill through meadows and forest. Even here we saw numerous small mudslides, two of which were being cleared by bulldozers. The weather was more pleasant with sun and clouds.

Linthal is a rather dreary place, with textile factories and a feeling of having “seen better days”. The Hotel Adler (where we had booked) was having a Ruhetag and despite ringing the bell we got no reply. Therefore we took ourselves off to another hotel and checked in there. It had no en suite room but it was cheap and quiet, and the food was good. It would probably have been better to have used the funicular (which runs half-hourly) and stayed up at Braunwald where the views are stunning.

We reserved our seats for Wednesday on the bus from Klausenpass Hotel to Fluelen just by giving our names at the local post office. No request for payment was made-a typically trusting Swiss attitude.

DAY 4 Tuesday 8.8.00

We left Linthal via the funicular to Braunwald, a mountain sports resort high above the valley. We followed the path to the Klausenpass road near Urnerboden. Most of the way was easily graded with excellent views across the Linth valley. Again it was a lovely sunny day. The final section down to the road was along a rather vague path which turned off a clear farm track, and one of the few occasions that we found way marking poor. However, we made it down to the road and then followed it for about 2 or 3 miles. It’s a boring and rather dangerous road to walk on in places as traffic travels quite fast. Most of the way, however, we were able to use the verges. The valley is the largest grazed Alp in Switzerland. We had a drink at the Gasthof  Sonne and graded the toilets 4 star; something that we often noticed on our walk was the quality of the facilities at restaurants.

Klausenpass from the east 

From the Klausenpass looking east 

The path up to the pass avoiding the zigzags of the road was rather rough and, in places, indistinct and had clearly been damaged in the recent bad weather. Reaching the Klausenpass (1948m) we had tea at the café and then dropped down along paths and the road to the Klausenpass Hotel. It’s an amazing old wooden building with no running water in the rooms (just a jug and bowl). There are good showers and toilets down the corridor, however. The bedrooms have thin wooden walls and the whole hotel has a sloping floor. This is because every winter the pressure of the snow mass behind the hotel causes it to lean forward a few centimetres. The fire escape was a knotted length of rope secured to a big hook in the ceiling! The evening turned out misty and cool so sadly no views of stars.  

Rest Day Wednesday 9.8.00

The day dawned beautifully sunny, the precursor of many more such d ays. This was to be our first rest day. We had thought about walking to Unterschachen and taking a bus from there to Fluelen, but decided that a Post bus ride down the Klausenpass road would be interesting and so it proved. The road is very narrow in places, with numerous hairpin bends and sheer drops. The driver has numerous opportunities to sound the distinctive multi-note horn. Any walker of the APR will soon grow to recognise and love the sound of the Post buses.  

Looking west towards Altdorf from Klausenpass

At Fluelen we took the paddle steamer to Brunnen and after a leisurely lunch by the lake returned to Fluelen and caught the bus, changing at the Altdorf  Telldenkmal (William Tell statue). Once again the dreaded Ruhetag struck at our hotel. Fortunately, the proprietoress was looking out for her guests and we were soon ensconced in our rooms. There was no food that evening but she recommended a local restaurant where the somewhat larger than life owner insisted that we tried the restaurant’s speciality – poulet- chicken eaten with ones fingers. Delicious!  

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