Saturday bought more sunshine so Karin, Elvis and I decided to do another hike. This time we headed for the Klausen Pass. Klausen Pass is a high mountain pass in the Swiss Alps connecting the cantons of Uri and Glarus. The pass road from Altdorf leads through the Schächen Valley, the pass and Urnerboden to Linthal in Glarus. As well as being a popular route for cyclists and motorcyclists, the Klausenpass also forms part of the Alpine Pass Route, a long-distance hiking trail across Switzerland.
Karin originates from Glarus which is on the other side of the Pass so we had driven over it before but unfortunately the weather had not been that nice so I was looking forward to seeing it in all it’s glory.
We drove to Unterschächen and parked the car. We then waited for the bus to take us to the top of the pass. Because it was a Saturday there were a lot of people wanting to go hiking on the Pass so they had to put a second bus on. We could only get a seat facing backwards so that was interesting from a travel sickness perspective going up a narrow windy road.
It still amazes me how the hiking scene works in Switzerland. There are so many options re catching trains and buses to the start of the hikes and then catching cable cars and gondolas back down the mountains. There are little restaurants set up in the Alps so you can stop for refreshments.
We got to Hotel Klausen Pass where the bus stopped for 25 minutes before going to the top of the Pass. We could have started walking from here but we really wanted to go to the top of the Pass so we had a coffee while waiting for the bus to leave. It only takes another 5 minutes in the bus but about 35 minutes to walk it. It was great to see down both sides of the Pass – it is very impressive and on such a clear day you could see for miles.
The top of the Klausen Pass is 1,952 metres high – this was our starting point. We got up to about 2,050 metres before descending down to Wannelen which is at 1,624 metres. Anything above 1,800 metres is considered alpine whereas anything less than that is pre alpine. The scenery was different to the walk we did to Barfallen and Musenalp where you were overlooking the lake the whole time. This walk was more mountainous and you were looking down valleys. Both walks were as spectacular as the other for different reasons.
There were a lot more alpine flowers on this walk which are quite stunning. The dark pink alpine roses were quite a sight – they are very hardy given they get covered in snow for a good part of the year.
We reached Alp Wannelen and decided to stop for a late lunch. Alp means farm and in the summer time the cows graze higher up the mountains so the farmers also live up there. Some of them set up little restaurants to ply the hiking trade. Karin & Elvis got talking to the woman at the restaurant and she said they were living on that part of the mountain for the next seven weeks and then they will move to another area for four weeks to graze the cows.
They were making their own cheese up there so she showed us the little operation they had set up. We had a nice lunch of cheese and bread and of course Swiss sausages. I think I have eaten more sausages in the last two weeks than in the last ten years : ) They are so good though. We also had a drink of Orangemoist which is a locally made orange lemonade. Dessert comprised the famous kaffe schnapps or coffee laced with schnapps – mmmmmm : )
I am fascinated by this Alp lifestyle and said to Karin that I need to learn German so I can come back and work on an Alp in the summer months – milk the cows, make the cheese, help in the restaurant – I think I have found my new vocation : ) Never say never I say.
We caught the little gondola back down to where the car was parked and set off for home to see what Steve had been doing all day!