To put it simply, the Swiss Alps are TALL. From Our Chalet, you can see many different mountains, each of them beautiful and most of them with long names. It’s lovely to look at mountains from the comfort of a bench, holding a cup of tea or a bar of delicious Swiss chocolate; but something even better waits at the top of the mountains.
At the top of a mountain, like Bunderspitz or Elsigen which we hike on guest programme days, you can see everything; for that moment, you are on top of the world. Maybe climbing that mountain was a personal challenge; maybe you’re just stunned by the beautiful view down into the valley from the peak you have reached.
After fifteen years of Girl Scouts in the US, I have been lucky to travel from Ohio to Adelboden to work at Our Chalet (which is quite an increase in elevation!). Being surrounded by cows isn’t new for me; watching those cows climb mountains though, is amongst the coolest things I have done through Girl Scouts.
This past Saturday, Adelboden celebrated Alpaufzug, the day when the cows are moved from the Adelboden valley to Engstligenalp for the summer.
Along with several fellow staff members (Audrey and Sarah from the US, Aoife from the U.K., Simone from Germany, and Rachel from Canada), I hiked up to Engstligenalp amongst cows and their herders. From there, we continued to Tschingellochtighorn (2,735m), a huge increase in height from Engstligenalp (1,964m), and an even bigger increase from where we started the morning at Our Chalet (1,350m).
Honestly I didn’t think I would make it up. At one point, I stopped to let the group go ahead, and sat on a rock for a bit. The view from my rock was lovely, but I couldn’t help wondering about the view I was missing from the top. So I slowly made my way up higher (sometimes really slowly, when the path was less than a foot wide).
I met up with my group as they were headed down; I never actually made it to the peak of Tschingellochtighorn, but I made it farther than I ever thought I could, which is the important part. Thanks to Girl Scouting, I spent my afternoon on top of the world instead of sitting on my couch at home, and that’s pretty awesome.
So climb every mountain… even if you don’t reach the peak, you’ve gone far, and that’s something to be proud of.
Rachel Sauder (USA) : Our Chalet Assistant, Summer 2017