Saturday April 28, 2007 - Meggie, Jacqueline, Tom, Ross, and I left Zurich together around 6pm. We headed for Interlaken. I hadn’t heard much about Interlaken before we got there, but Jacqueline insisted that it was the “Adventure capital of the world”. So we went, and even the train ride there was amazing. The mountains were incredible and the sunset over the lake was even better.
We checked out a couple hostels and decided on the one that was a little more pricy because we would all share one room together instead of sharing one with 5 other people. Even though it’s Switzerland, security of our stuff is still a priority. Jacqueline, Meggie, and I went on a run along the river later that night and then we all tried to find a place to go out. We went in to a couple different clubs or bars or whatever they were and we did not see anyone our age. All the people there were about 16-18 years old. So we all just decided to call it a night because we were getting up early the next morning.
The next morning we all had a tough decision to make.
The choice was between hangliding, canyoning, bungee jumping, or pendulum swinging off a cliff. I finally chose canyoning because I don’t know any other place in the world that would be more amazing to do that. Meggie and Jacqueline also chose canyoning, and Ross and Tom chose to go hangliding.
We made our reservations for the trip at the front desk of the hostel, and then at 9am, a van came and picked us up and brought us to the building where they keep all of the gear.
We all had to get our gear together and put it in the trailer because it was almost an hour drive to get to the canyon that was open. We came just a few days early because not all of the canyons were open due to regulations. They all opened May 1st, but this one canyon was still open, we just had to drive a bit to get to it.
There were 9 of us and 2 guides. The two guides were from Switzerland and everyone else was from the U.S. or Canada. It was an awesome group. Once we got to the river, we unloaded the trailer and van,
and one of the guides, Phil, drove it down to where we were going to finish up the day. He would later meet us at our first jump.
The gear that we had to put on: First, I had to put on a pair of wetsuit overalls over my swimsuit. They were pretty tight to start off with, but after that, I had to put on another wetsuit that covered my top half and also went down to my knees. This was extremely tight. I could barely move. Then I had to put on a pair of waterproof warming socks and then the shoes. Finally we had to put on the life jacket, the beanie, and the helmet. We were all looking pretty good at that point and our mobility wasn't looking too good either.
I really had no idea of what I was getting myself into or what this was. I kind of thought it was just a guided tour of a canyon and you get to see cool sights and stuff, but I was way off. Our other guide, Sasha, began explaining all the different ways that we could get hurt before we even got in
the water. He then explained how we need to jump off of different types of jumps. For shallow water, land flat on your back because you won’t sink down as far. Other types of jumps are the superman where you land on your side because it is too shallow to land on your feet and pencil in, but it its too high of a jump to land on your back. The other jump is landing feet first in a sitting position so that your body curves into the water more. This is for much higher jumps. After these explanations of how to jump when and how not to hurt yourself, I was pumped to have some fun.
We got into the freezing water of the Zulg River and it seemed as though the wetsuits did absolutely nothing, but after the first 5 minutes we were feeling warm again.
The first jump we did was a small one into a shallow pool of water. We had to land on our backs to avoid injuring ourselves. After that we floated down the river more and Sasha told us how to determine if the water is drinkable or not. He picked
up a rock out of the river and showed us the bottom of it. There were 4 or 5 tiny water crabs on the bottom of the rock. He said this marks water quality. If the water quality is not near perfect, you will not find these little crabs.
After floating a bit more, we saw Phil. Sasha asked us if we remembered when we would meet up with Phil…The first jump. We walked up and saw a 15 foot jump down from a waterfall. It was a blast!! We had to land feet first and leaning back a bit as if we were in a recliner to avoid injury and almost everyone did it fine. We kept going and did a few more small jumps and then we came to another huge jump. This was another jump which was off the side of a cliff into a waterfall. It was a 27 foot drop. A lot bigger when you are falling. I took the mentality of, "Well, Sasha just jumped off a cliff, so I will too!" Again, it was quite a rush! There was a rope that we could climb up to do it again. I did
it 2 more times.
Another fun jump was a 20 foot jump into some rushing water. Sasha went first to show off how he can do a backflip into it. So, me being first in line and feeling pretty invincible at this point, decide to do a flip of my own into the pool. Everything worked out and it was amazing!
We also got to repel from one cliff down to the water. If you are a person afraid of heights, this is not a trip for you. After repelling we had to do a superman jump into a space less than 3 feet wide with sharp rocks on either side. So needless to say, that jump had to be almost perfect.
Canyoning was one of the best things I have ever done! It’s too bad that there wasn’t a way to take pictures while we were doing it all.
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