Time: 8.25h. Up: 1140m. Down: 1340m.
Distance: 21km. Difficulty: medium.

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Stage 23: Vorsiez (1176m) to Elm (977m)

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

This is the Swiss Alpine Passroute, so no prizes for guessing what's on the menu today. You take an at times steep but otherwise unchallenging path up to cross the Foopass, a grassy saddle at 2223m under the 3011m Surenstock peak, a.k.a. Piz Sardona. The double name indicates that we are near one of Switzerland's many internal language borders, in this case between German and Italian.

I have always been impressed by how well Switzerland's multi-lingual society works... unlike almost everywhere else where there are large minorities speaking different languages. Of course, it hasn't always been like this -- the current system is the result of several hundred years of struggle and compromise -- but in general the Swiss found ways to resolve their disagreements without much bloodshed.

The various cantons (equivalent to US states, but with much more autonomy) seem to have recognized very early that they were much more likely to retain their independence by compromising with one another than by going it alone, surrounded as they were by much larger and more powerful states that would not have hesitated to gobble them up if given a chance. A very pragmatic people, the Swiss... yet another reason to like the country!

The descent into the lovely village of Elm takes you under the rocky flanks of Surenstock/Sardona and if the day has been pleasantly warm (or unpleasantly wet) you should see many waterfalls cascading down the cliffs bearing snowmelt from above.

Today's hike again follows the same trails as the Via Alpina. Follow the trail up-valley from Vorsiez, at first heading west and then turning south to climb at times steeply to the Foo Alp (1875m). From there turn west again to go over the Foopass (2223m). Afterwards it is all downhill through the Raminerwald and along the Raminerbach into Elm.

Alternatives: none. If the weather is bad, take a rest day. Although there are no really exposed places, given the length of the hike doing it when it is raining is inadvisable (since it will make the day even longer).
Map: ST-247T Sardona.

The House to House blog... stage 23.

<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: picnic -- and at least one hefty snack in addition!
Dinner and overnight: there are several places at which to stay and eat in Elm (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Vorsiez: from Sargans, where there is a railway station, you can take an infrequent bus to Weisstannen and sometimes (in the morning and the late afternoon -- schedule here) a special bus all the way to Vorsiez. At other times, you'll have to walk the rest of the way from Weisstannen (1h). For regular bus and train schedule information, see the SBB.
Elm: regular buses run to Schwanden where there is a railway station.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Vorsiez, centered on Elm.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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