Time: 3.75h. Up: 310m. Down: 370m.
Distance: 12.5km. Difficulty: easy.

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Stage 17: Buchboden (910m) to St. Gerold (848m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

After several grueling stages, this hike is a relief: just an easy wander down the Lutz River to the village of St. Gerold. Short (it is interesting how quickly perceptions change – this is a "short" 3.75h hike!), and with little change in elevation... frankly, it is almost a rest day.

And as such it is clearly not typical of the H2H. By now the reader will have realized that the H2H is a little more strenuous than your average walk in the park. It is in fact a marathon of marathons, and the psychological challenge is likely to be greater than the physical one.

In almost every report I have read of a long-distance hike, sooner or later the narrator confesses that s/he isn't having fun and just wants it to be over. I'd like to believe that it doesn't have to be this way... but it almost certainly will be unless you do something to avoid it.

So ask yourself the following question: what can I do before the H2H that will help me to enjoy hiking each and every one of the 92 stages? Physical preparation is fairly straightforward: recommendations as to how to go about it are here. Mental preparation is more difficult, but I have some suggestions here.

In St. Gerold, of course, preparations will be moot. You'll have 75 stages to go, and, if you were fit enough to get this far, then the question will probably no longer be if your body can do the hike, but "only" if you have the mental toughness.

Today's hike is identical with the Via Alpina (which in turn is identical with the Walserweg, so signs for either are to be understood as signs for the H2H). From Buchboden head west down to the Lutz River and then follow the Walserweg / Via Alpina downstream, now on one side, now on the other, to the bridge at Garsella. There take the path on the north side of the river (includes short stretches along quiet roads) to St. Gerold.
Alternatives: none needed.
Map: K-32 Bludenz.

The House to House blog... stage 17.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: there is a restaurant half-way at Garsella (Café Jenny) or you could make this a half-day hike and either have lunch before you start in Buchboden, or after you finish in St. Gerold.
Dinner and overnight: there are several places at which to stay in St. Gerold (for a complete list, see here). If they are all full you might be able to find something an hour or so further west in the village of Thüringerberg (see here).

Getting There and Back
Buchboden: from Nenzing, the closest railway station, you can catch one of the fairly infrequent buses to Sonntag, from which you'll have to walk a couple of kilometers up the road to Buchboden (for bus and train schedule information, see the ÖBB).
St. Gerold: a fairly infrequent bus runs from here to Nenzing.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Buchboden, centered on St. Gerold.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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