From Innsbruck to Brixen and through the Dolomites to San Martino di Castrozza
Stage 7 - Brixnerhütte to Mühlbach

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Easy 4.5 hour stage with long downhill, the paved road between Fane Alm and Vals can be avoided on a new path to the side of the road. There is also a 'hut taxi' that travels several times an hour between Vals and the parking area near Fane Alm. Below Vals, a short section has to be walked on the road, then the new road goes to the right, while the old road (closed to traffic) goes steeply down to the left side.

Overcast skies with low clouds greeted us in the morning. During the night a storm had passed through (again!) and the grass was wet and lush. On our way towards Fane Alm along the Valser Creek, lots of dayhikers were coming up on their way to the Brixnerhütte and Wilder See. The rock outcrops along the trail were full of beautiful gneiss augen.

The Fane Alm is an example of so-called 'Schwaighöfe', independent farms who in earlier times were completely self-sufficient. Everything required for daily life was locally produced. Fane Alm is now a protected National Monument. Many of the farms have a little umbrella area and serve homemade products.

We followed the trail next to the Valser Creek, soon reaching the hamlet of Vals. Here, we followed a little road to the right of the creek, taking left turns whenever there was a junction to stay near the water. This path was not marked, the marked trail followed the paved road! Eventually, however, even the little path dead-ended into the road. For about 20 minutes we walked along the road and almost missed our turn onto the old road and away from the traffic as the markings were almost invisible! The old road steeply meandered toward the valley and we could see the elevated bridges of the new road above and on the other side of the creek.
In Mühlbach we walked towards the church (there is always a guesthouse near the church in alpine towns) and soon had met the proprietor of the 'Weisse Lilie' who led us to a beautiful room with a view of the church square. We walked around town and later took our dinner in the hotels restaurant: huge servings of wonderful food, but we could not finish our plates, possibly because we had filled our plates too generously at the salad bar!

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