Adventures in Interlaken

Interlaken is my new happy place. It is a place that pictures will never fully capture, which is sad but also makes our time there so much more special. So let me tell you a little bit about what happened!!

On a clear afternoon, we arrived to Interlaken by train. Our arrival was soon followed by tears streaming down Sarah’s face because of the overwhelming beauty of the mountains. On every side you were enclosed by snow capped mountains, as if you were being wrapped in a comforting hug.

Our free afternoon in Interlaken called for some exploring. A group of us decided to go geocaching. If you are not familiar with this app you need to jump on the bandwagon. Pretty much it is an app where people place little items all across the world and you go on hunts to find them. It is exhilarating. So after skipping rocks and chatting by the river, we started our geocaching adventure. We were led deep into the mountains to find this mystery item. We hiked up the massive hill, starting to feel a little bit nervous that we would not complete our mission. All of a sudden we turned a corner and found a gazebo. We walked through to find the most beautiful view of Interlaken. We were not successful in geocaching, but finding this lookout point was the real win.

Interlaken is where CR11 was meant to thrive. We all decided to fly through the sky by skydiving, hang gliding, and paragliding. The thrill seeker inside of me caused me to choose skydiving as my casual free time activity. I was jumping out of my comfort zone alongside some pretty adventurous friends.

Our group of 10 crazy CR members arrived at the skydiving drop zone and were greeted by the most beautiful view. Unfortunately, it started pouring rain. I was so set on skydiving that I was ready to jump out in the rain, even with the major safety concerns involved with that decision. After further consideration and concerned looks from the skydiving professionals, I took back that thought.

The rain finally cleared up and the beautiful blue sky peeked out behind the massive clouds. It was go time. I sat down in a big circle and prepared myself for the extensive skydiving training. I was ready to learn how to react in emergencies, how the parachute works, when to jump, and practice all of this in a simulation chamber before the real jump occurred. However, the 30 second training consisted of our instructor telling us to “banana and put our arms out to do a shaka when you feel the double tap.” Might not have been the extensive training I was expecting, but I had full faith that banana-ing would be enough to keep me alive.

I always thought I would be fearful of skydiving, but in this moment I had no doubts. I hopped in the tiny plane and pushed up against the 14 other people. We sped down the runway, one hand squeezing Connor’s hand and the other waving to 5 CR members at the drop zone.

There was no turning back now. The views of Switzerland were absolutely beautiful. Clear water and snow-capped mountains went on for miles. I was in awe and at times forgot that I was voluntarily going to jump out of a plane. It quickly became real though when the small exit door slid open and bodies started dropping. One by one I saw my friends fly out of the plane. I was the very last one to go. The empty plane soon filled with the words “AUSGANG CITY!” as I threw myself out of the plane.

WOW. This experience was like no other. The beauty of our planet seen through a free fall makes you appreciate life in a weird type of way. Every moment I was flying through the sky was coupled with a smile and my mediocre banana form. I was so excited that I forgot the one rule from the 30 second training: keep your arms on the harness until the double tap. Immediately when I left the plane I whipped out a go frogs. My wonderful instructor Tim made sure that I had the best experience. I am thankful that he pulled the parachute and brought us safely back to the ground. His New Zealand accent was the cherry on top. Once I hit the ground I just starting bawling tears of pure joy. I am not a very emotional person but my lack of words to describe the experience was expressed through tears. Tender hugs with the CR members after skydiving is a vivid memory that will never be forgotten. That sounds like cheesy drama but trust me it was a moment.

Later in the day we went canyoning and that was such a unique experience. It was different from skydiving in the sense that I felt more “one with nature.” We were scaling rocks and jumping off cliffs into swirling pools water. Our instructors were awesome! Other than the part where they guided us into a proper washing machine (aka a part of the river that spins you around aggressively underneath the water). Peter went first and had a successful attempt. Then came Kevin. He cannon balled into the washing machine and immediately got stuck in the cycle. I was watching from above and I swear it was like watching my clothes whip around in the Milton washing machines knowing there was no way to bust open the door. In the end Kevin survived and he is still here today to share his puns and dad jokes… thank goodness!!

Overall this experience in Interlaken was wonderful. Interlaken gave me a deep appreciation for nature in a way that I had never experienced before. I am thankful I had the opportunity to explore my happy place with CR by my side.

Until next time,

Claire

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