When our train rolled into Interlaken on Friday afternoon, the sixteen of us were already buzzing with excitement to start planning our adventure sport excursions for Saturday. Within minutes of arriving at the hostel, the lobby was a whirlwind of pamphlets and phone calls home to ask permission for our adventures. When all was said and done, Sarah, Kendall, Josh, Christian, and I had decided to sign up for intermediate canyoning. From what we understood, we would be starting at point A, high up in the mountain range, and ending up at point B at ground level. How we made it from point A to point B was where the excitement was: we would be jumping, rappelling, sliding, zip-lining, and swimming through the canyon. I was a bit nervous, but I trusted these four friends to make it a great time.
We arrived on Saturday morning and met the rest of our group for the day – it was a group of boys that had just graduated high school and were on a post-graduation trip. They were all from Texas! It’s a small world, huh? We got all our gear together (including our helmets that all had fun names on them) and set off on our beautiful 45-minute drive into the mountains.
There was no soft introduction to our canyoning experience. The driver of the van pulled over to the side of the road, right next to a huge cliff, and we immediately got strapped onto a line to rappel down the side of the cliff. This was by far the scariest part of the day. I took a moment to be amused at the irony; I can scuba dive many meters underwater with my only oxygen supply strapped to my back and love it, but put me an equal distance above ground and it’s a whole new ball game. I was sitting 50 meters in the air with my back towards the sheer face behind me, holding onto a man who I had met an hour earlier, and he was telling me to lean back. Lean back?! I took a deep breath and leaned back, but not without some screaming and almost dragging our guide off the cliff with me. By the time I was about halfway down, I could hear Sarah cheering me on from the bottom, and all nerves were gone. I had successfully rappelled for the first time!
The rest of the morning spent in the canyon was a blast. The experience was much more relaxed and purely enjoyable than I was originally expecting, but I’m convinced that it was just as much about the company as it was about the activity itself. It made all the difference to have a group of friends around me who would give me a strong hand when I fell, who wouldn’t roll their eyes at me when I slipped for the 50th time, and who would laugh along with me when I put my foot in the wrong place and the guide had to haul me out of the current. We left the adventure with lots of laughs, jokes about our new nicknames, and toasty cheeks (quote Dr. Pitcock: “I’m worried about your face.” Classic.)
Enjoy some photos from the day’s adventures, including my hang gliding trip over the Swiss Alps (which was so exhilarating and beautiful)!!