Kandersteg Days 6 & 7: Hiking

It is hard to believe we are now halfway through camp!

Today we are going hiking. Normally, hiking involves getting up ridiculously early and heading off into the wilderness under dubious clouds. Well, in England at least. In Switzerland, it was a bit different. As we’d spent most of the night at the disco, we were allowed to get up slightly later and had breakfast at 9am. After breakfast, flag, and a talk through of the kit list, we all headed to our tents to pack our kit for the overnight hike we were about to set out on.

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We were all in different ability groups, and ready to hike to two different Alpine huts to spend the night. Having collected some group kit and food and packed it into our already overfilled day bags, we set off.

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The sun was blazing down, and we quickly realised that the rather cold English weather was actually more desirable for once, as we hiked up ridiculously steep mountains, shedding layers in an attempt to stay cool.

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However, mountain weather is always unpredictable, and our waterproofs were kept near the top of our bags, ready for the predicted rainstorm. Fortunately, the rain held off for most of the day, allowing us to enjoy the spectacular views that the mountains offered, and to test the power of our sun cream.

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We especially appreciated the nice weather when stopping for lunch, and one group even took a dip in a refreshing (freezing) lake high up in the hills.

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After a challenging but rewarding hike, all the groups arrived at their respective huts, where we were pleasantly surprised by how comfortable and well furnished they were (running water, what a luxury!). Soon, however, the fog started to descend over the hills, and pretty quickly, all that could be seen out of the windows was whiteness, and the lightning had started. This all proved to be fairly atmospheric, and we were glad of the warm hut and the hot food that some Explorers had cooked for the group.

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In various stages of tiredness, we headed up to bed, and were soon all asleep, recharging our batteries for the next day of hiking.

 

All too soon, dawn was breaking, and it was time to break free of the snuggly blankets and get ready for the day. The day, however, turned out to be a lot shorter than planned, as last evening’s fog was still hanging low on the hills, rain was coming down in sheets, and everyone’s legs weren’t quite feeling up to a long, steep, hike. Instead, we walked back down the valley into Kandersteg, stepping across numerous swollen streams and making slow and steady progress. We all made it back to camp in time for an excellent lunch and the opportunity for a much-needed warm shower. Sadly we did not get many photos today – we thought it would be a better idea to keep the electronics tucked away safely!

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The rest of the afternoon was our own, and we chilled around camp, drying out various kit and eating the rest of the hiking supplies. The evening, however, had a different theme, as we relaxed in the campsite’s sauna and took part in the international campfire.

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