Kandersteg Day 8: Oeschinensee

Today we reluctantly turned towards the end of camp, but there was no way we were heading home without visiting Oeschinensee again…

After two busy days of hiking and international-campfiring we were keen to have a relaxing morning, and what better way to relax than to sort through 52 people’s laundry!

We had amassed a huge amount of dirty clothing by now, and this morning it all came back smelling clean and beautiful, but it took quite some time to sort!

After the last errant socks had been reunited with their partners we loaded up our day sacks and headed into the hills one last time, to hike up to Oeschinensee, where we began our camp, over a week ago.

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The hike started in Kandersteg. And it was steep. However, as we huffed and puffed up the hill, we were rewarded with spectacular views of our camp and the surrounding mountains. Soon enough, it levelled out, much to the relief of our legs. At one point we even had to descend underneath a waterfall, which some people weren’t to happy about  (‘but I already had a shower…!’), although we soon dried off in the hot midday sun.

The hike continued, until we met up with the road that would lead us straight to Oeschinensee. Much to our dismay, we soon found this wasn’t the ‘gradual ascent’ that Marlon had promised, but instead a pretty steep hill that seemed to go on for ever. Although, perhaps this just made us even more grateful when we finally arrived, definitely ready for a dip in the lake!

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Revelling in the achievement of having completing the hike, rather than taking the cable car up, we found the perfect picnic spot and settled down to eat lunch. Naturally, it wasn’t long before swimming costumes were being pulled on, and half the Unit was in the water, enjoying a refreshing dip (the rest of us were content to sit by the side, snuggled in our camp blankets, and watch them get freezing cold).

Before we set off home, we of course had to take the perfect group photo, including every single person who came on camp. It took a few tries, but soon Marlon declared the picture ‘perfect’ and we gathered up our bags and set off back to the start of the descending hike.

That wasn’t quite it, however, as we still had one more important thing to do: investitures. Having brought our Unit flag specially for this, we gathered at the top of the mountain – a location that could not be more picturesque or memorable – to invest two new Explorers in to the Scouting movement.

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Once they had recited their Scout Law and Promise, we hiked down the pretty steep descent, back in to Kandersteg, where we had some free time to use up our Swiss Francs and stock up on plenty of chocolate for the journey home.

As the day turned into night, we settled in the mess tent one last time, to have a final dinner at camp. As usual, the food was better than the usual camp fare (thanks Alex!), but it was tinged with a hint of sadness at our upcoming departure.

After eating, it was action time; we had to get as much of camp packed up that evening as possible, to save time in the morning on Sunday. A few patrol tents regretfully sacrificed their fairy lights to light the activity in the kitchen tent, while other Explorers helped clear out the mess tent and load kit onto the van.

Pretty soon, our site was a lot tidier, and a lot emptier. That left us with only one thing left to do: a Scout’s Own. We gathered in the newly emptied mess tent, and talked about our experiences on camp and what our favourite parts had been. As we relived small moments from throughout the trip, we were left in hysterics or contemplative thought. One thing was sure: we’d all learnt a lot more about ourselves, and about each other.

As midnight neared, we headed off to bed for our last night in camp. The next one would be spent on a coach, driving through France on our way home.

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