So last year I spent two weeks with my explorer group (and another) in Kandersteg, Switzerland. It was probably the most exhilarating fortnight of my life and although there were times when i was close to collapsing through exhaustion and one time i actually thought i was drowning it was probably the best two weeks of my life so far. Hiking was our most frequent activity during our trip, something I am inexplicably bad at, on the verge of tears the whole way up struggling, til I get to the top, look down and think ‘na, that wasn’t so bad.’ I would definitely say my hiking abilities improved during our time away, physically and mentality. I learnt that saying ‘I can’t do this’ changes nothing, I always made it to the top eventually. So here’s a brief description of the hiking we endured during these two weeks.
Our first day could be summarised in one word…. ACCLIMATISATION. The first hike we completed was not so long but ridiculously steep, I mean we could barely sit down to enjoy lunch without gravity forcing you to slide downwards. It was also completed on one of the hottest days we spent in Switzerland. In honesty I hadn’t tackled a mountain hike for atleast a year and was completely unprepared for the effect the altitude change would have on me. I felt like i was going to cry, vomit, collapse, have an asthma attack all at once. I completed the hike about 20 minutes behind everyone else feeling so annoyed at myself that I couldn’t keep up with them. Once I reached the top every bad feeling and thought I had experienced within the last 3 hours melted away under the warm sun. Lake Oeschinen consisted of a magnificent snowcapped mountain overlooking a glistening emerald lake. A scene that no picture could ever do justice for, no device could capture the beauty of what stood before us, the kind of beauty that makes you feel almost emotional. It is, to this day, the most spectacular thing i’ve ever seen. The struggle I had endured seemed like a distant memory as we relaxed, dipping our feet in the cool water and enjoyed delicious swiss ice cream. Without a doubt this was the hike I struggled with the most, but it can’t be denied that I greatly benefited from the acclimatisation, making the other hikes we completed much more enjoyable.