Friday, September 11, 2009

Last Full Day : Jungfraujoch & Eiger Trail

The 'cherry on the cake' finally arrived.

We started out on an early morning, boarding the coach at 700hrs with all our daysacs including a packed breakfast and lunch - it was going to be a long day!

After a 1.5hr coach ride we arrived at the train station were we boarded our pre-booked cabin for another 1.5hr trip up to the mountain station of Klien were we switched trains to keep on our ascent in the pristine alpine scenery. When we finally get closer to our destination we noticed snow all the way up to the top. We arrived in the UNESCO World Heritage Site at exactly 1000hrs were we walked up to the ice caves ... real cool! We were surrounded by ice all round us, making for slippery rooms and walkways full of artistic ice sculptures. Our next stop was on the famous 'Plateau' were we actually went out on the mountain full of SNOW ... yes some of the boys had actually never touched snow and were really excited about it! Naturally what do you do with all that snow ... snow ball; which lead to a snow fight with the other intrigued tourists looking on in bewilderment. When this was over we took a couple of good photos with the breathtaking views all around us. Next was a visit to the Sphinx at 3454m above sea level which consists of the scientific observation labs and more amazing whiteness! All agreed that a visit to the Top of Europe was more than worth it.

At 1300hrs we boarded the train to the Eigerglesther and stopped a while to ensure that all were prepared for the adventure to come ... the famous Eiger trail. This hike took us from 2300m to 900m along changing mountainous terrain which included granite,  gravel and grass paths and ranged from steep ascents to winding descents totaling 17km. Trying to keep to a 45min walk / 5min water breaks, we took  
4hrs including breathtaking group photo stops. Once all arrived at our destination we were all very proud of our accomplishment of completing the EIGER trail.

Now all are asleep after an early night and will wake up at 730hrs Saturday morning for breakfast and packing up. See ya soon!

Oeschinensee - Thursday 10th

Today we woke up at a decent 0700, went for breakfast at 0800 and by 0900 we were on the way for a short stroll into Kandersteg town to get the cable car.  We bought the tickets for the cable car, and off we went, cameras in hand, everyone was snapping away and the amazing scenery!
When we arrived at the top we found the instructor for the Tobogan activity (summer sledge run).  So, we had to sit down on a smooth moving plastic wheeled platform and a brake called a Tobogan (like a big skate board), then we went up slowly with the help of a winch.  As we arrived at the top...the big skateboard ran like the wind, sliding along the metal chute...around corners and straights.  Since the boys LOVED it they got to do it twice!

It was then time to start the Oeschinensee activity, which included the Eco-I-Spy quiz.  This quiz involved a list of things the scouts had to look out for, for example, a swiss cow, cable car, folded rock, granite, limestone, glacial valley and so on.  On the way down to the lake, we met a couple of cows and we made friends.  Once we arrived at the amazing lake, after a long stroll down the valley, we sat down for a quick lunch, as the boys were very eager to have a dip in the Alpine Lake.  First were the SVS (the ventures) to enter the lake, they didn't last more then 3 minutes, it was way to cold!  Next were the PLs who tried the lake, they lasted approximately 10 seconds, and then followed the younger scouts, who lasted about 4-5 seconds.  It was well worth it!

We also had some time to take it in turns to row out into the middle of Oeschinensee on boats which were on the lakeside. All enjoyed the wonderful environment of this picture perfect scenery.

After the Apline Lake adventure, it was time to hed back to the campsite, down the valley.  This wasn't as easy as it sounds...the lake was at 1,578 meters above sea level. We took the Wanderweg trail from the alpine lake to KISC which lasted approximately 1 hour 40 min. On our return we freshen up and made our way to the nearby Crystal Hotel for a Swiss Night which included cheese Fondue served by Doris (of McDoris fame!). Everyone enjoyed this meal which ended with an ice-cream and all were soon back to Kander-Lodge for an early night since tomorrow we had to conquer Jungfrau and the famous Eiger Trail ....... zzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rafting, Climbing & Skydiving!!!!!!!!!!!

Good Evening from GSL!

So today was another jam packed day full of different activities! The Contingent was split by age where the under 12s went on a Climbing Course, the 12-16 year olds got their hands wet at white water rafting 14km on the Simme, whilst the over 16s jumped out of a perfectly good plane at 13,000 feet  in their skydiving experience. We can surely say that the overall atmosphere within the Contingent is great and high on adrenalin :)

Aiden, Max, Jonathan M, Gabba, Alec and Adam, along with GSL David woke up at 0600, went for a very quick breakfast and walked to the train station in the village of Kandersteg.  After changing trains at Spiez they made their way to Boltigen station and walked for 5 minutes to the Swiss Adventures rafting centre.  Mustard and Kiwi Don (the Rafting Instructors) provided all the kit which consisted of wetsuits, helmets, paddles and booties. An instruction session consisted of safety briefing, comnand exercises and emergency drill. The group was split into 2 rafts and away they went ... over white water rapids and eddies, dodging the boulders and shallow parts of the Simmer river not to get stuck on the rocks. The instructors gave many commands along the way to guide the rafts in the right direction and speed. After passing over many of the trickier parts of the river, like the Wizard's Steps and the Billabong Bend, the boys had a quick swim in the freezingly refreshing water. All this was happening in the prestine valley floor, passing under many wooden bridges and natural rock formations. All good things come to an end and they then had to carry the rafts up to the trailer and get changed back into dry clothes. In true Sliema style they ended the afternoon with a 'session' of rolling down the steep slopes with the biggest feat involving Max and Gabba being captured on film ... will let you find that on YouTube :P

(NOTE : GSL David left his phone at the rafting centre and will be getting it back by next Friday ... in the mean time please send any messages to ACSL Kirsten). 

The younger members of the Group made up of  Liam, Ben, Zach H, Zach M, Marcus, Scott, Ayrton, Mathias and Jonathan, led by Instructor Julian (Aka Inspector Julian) today went on the Climbing Course with KISC Instructors Jean and Tuuli. They met outside the Chalet for a briefing and then made their way to the Cable Cars which took them up to 2060m. They started by going over a boulder as a trail, which was followed by another 2 climbs with the most difficult being level 5C were the highest level in Kandersteg Valley is 7! We noted that Liam and Zach H made their climbs constantly fast although everyone managed all the climbs and learnt how to belay. Everyone gained their Kandersteg Climbers Badge which they all enjoyed!

The Skydiving people met at 1245hrs and boarded the van to the Skydive Switzerland base. Skipper, ASL Gerald, ACSL Kiki, AVSLs Ian & James, VS Sam and Chris had a briefing by Hans,  Fritz and Andy and were told which cords not to touch, who were very amused by our mascots. Then they were split into 3 groups, kitted up and then boarded the planes. Take-off followed and in 15 minutes reached 13,000 feet. Everyone felt the V-Factor kick in as they took their final step off the perfectly functioning plane. One by one the daredevils reached terminal velocity of 216km/hr after 2600m freefall for 40sec. A sudden jolt on the cords opened the parachute for a 4 minute scenic descent into the alpine valley of Interlaken. Moses, Abraham and Noah (the Group mascots) joined the team for a free joyride! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Chocolate and Cheese Adventure...


We had an early start this morning, everyone was up and running at 0600 and we went off to breakfast at 0700.  At 0800 the bus was waiting for us at reception to take us to the chocolate factory (2.5 hours by bus away), on the bus everyone except Zach H was fast asleep for the whole bus ride! 

As soon as we arrived at the chocolate factory we rushed through the boring 'how the chocolate is made part' and then raided the chocolate shop.  In all we bought 28kgs of chocolate between us!!!!!  The boys had huge smiles on their faces.

It was time for the cheese factory, but we took a little detour, we went for lunch in the small town of Gruyere and a small visit to Gruyere castle.  After a short break for lunch, we walked to the cheese factory.  We went for a short tour round the factory, had a taste of different aged Gruyere and bought some souvenirs from the shop.

After another bus ride...this time a bit more energetic...we arrived at the campsite.  We went straight to our rooms to unpack and put the souvenirs, cheese and chocolate away for safe keeping.  At 1800 we all went for supper, we had cabbage soup, and rice with some chicken mix which was really really good.  We also discovered that Alec is a reallllllllyyyyyyy slow eater ;)
As soon as we finished supper, we had a little inspection of the rooms, AVSL James was leading this inspection, the rooms were quite decent, although 2 smelly PLs hadn't washed and smelt like dead rabbits...not to mention names but just to give you an likes planes ALOT and the other likes bicycles ALOT! ;)
After the inspection everyone went off to play a short game of footie while the smelly two had a shower.
We are currently in the meeting room listenning to a short description from each scout of how there adventure here in Kandersteg is going. Scott is the star of the night!
Tommorrow we will be splitting up in 3 grous, 1 group for SKYDIVING!!!!!! 1 group for rafting and 1 group for climbing.
Post ya later!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The mystery trail that BERNed...

Bern Bern Bern!

We spent a good part of the day runnning around Bern, which by the way, is an amazing city!!  We followed a pre-prepared route by Kandersteg, which took us around all the major parts of the city so the boys got a very good view of it.  Needless to say, alot of shopping was done, and alot of chocolate was bought!  Ben, Max, Jonno, Gabba and Julian were the top chocolate buyers for the day!

We arrived at the campsite at about 1700.  Gabba, Aiden, Max and Jonno built our Malta flagpole, and the rest of the Troop went for a quick football match with the Troop's new Adidas ball.  We then ate supper and quickly went off to play another game of footy, while most of the leaders stayed in the meeting room relaxing after a day of walking and making sure the boys didn't buy kilos of chocolate!

Later on in the evening we had a short workshop about Glaciers and Avalanches, which was very interesting.

We now just finished AVSL Ian's birthday party, a few surprises appeared for the AVSL which were very unexpected :)  We all enjoyed a very good piece of cake which was organised ACSL Kiki hmmmmmmmm

The boys are now being briefed for tommorrow's early morning wake up at 6am for the Chocolate & Cheese factory.  On a side note, Gabba seems to have gotten to know the lodge pretty well!!!


Will post you tommorrow!


The first full day..

...and what a day it was!

We started off the day with an all you eat continental breakfast... We finished 2 trays of various hams, cheeses and salamis :-) we then made our packed lunches and rushed off to the bus which was waiting to take us to Adelboden adventure park. After a 45 minute bus ride we arrived at the foot of the trail to the park...

...And so the adventure began, we walked along a trail up to the park in the mountains. As soon as we arrived we were greated by Fritz and Peter 2 of the many instructors, he explained what we were about to do! We then split up into 2 groups and went on our way. We started off with some training and quickly moved on to the real thing... A short zipwire across the river. This got the adrenaline pumping in some of the smaller scouts (especially our youngest and most energetic Scott!), however the big boys wanted more! We then went on to 3 other zipwires which were much higher and this got the adrenaling pumping in the leaders too.

Then came the bridges, the swinging wooden bridge and the steel wire bridge, which were quite scary hehe (imagine walking on a steel wire across a valley).

After the steel wire bridge we made our way to the abseil site (the bridge). First over was Max, who posed for some photos, and the others followed.

Once our group was ready, we obviously wanted more! So some of the scouts, namely Gabba (our new monkey), Aiden, Max, Scott, Jonno, Alec and the 2 Zach's (under the supervision of the leadershad) had another go at all the zipwires!!

When everyone was ready to go Skipper asked "Did everyone enjoy it today?" This is the answer he got:

Before we knew it, we were all walking down the mountain to meet the bus again. We arrived back at the campsite slightly late so we sat by the lake to eat our packed lunch. Straight after the short break we were back in action walking to the sports centre. The reception desk very kindly showed us the way put a series of hand signals, so we set off at the entrance and turned right. Unfortunately after about 500 meters of walking we arrived at what looked like the sports centre, it wasn't the right sports centre, we had to back track 500 meters. We eventually found the sports area and set-up 2 games, football and volley. The scouts had a blast!

To finish off the day, we had some reflections while on the KISC Light Trail, which ended with a campfire!!

Today was definetly a 20 on 20 day.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

All settled in...

So, after a long and amazingly scenic bus ride we arrived at Kandersteg.  We lined up the bags in order while GSL David registered us at reception.  The boys ran around the front garden and took loads of photos of the mountains, stream and lawns all around the lodge.

We then sorted out the accommodation and sent the boys to their rooms to put their bags in.  We then made our way to the mess hall were 3 pinkies were there to greet us and show us our table and supper.  We had pasta with bolognese sauce with huge onions and cauliflower (erm the bolognese was not the bolognese we know), Chris enjoyed a lovely plate of pasta with cauliflower and some added sugar.  We also discovered that the boys really really like the special Kandersteg juice aka Kander-Juice.

After the 'meal', and many cups of Kander-Juice, we all went back to our lodge for showers and settling in.  We then met in the meeting room downstairs to organise the patrols and give some rules and regulations of the lodge.  The boys are now in their rooms fast asleep, while the leaders are in the meeting room drinking cinnamon and citrus tea.  James didn't know that herbal teas do not require milk and sugar, he drank it anyway!

Tomorrow we will be going to Adelboden Adventure Park, which should an amazing experience.

BTW in our Kanderlodge we have free wireless internet, so you will definitely find an update everyday and possibly photos on the website.

Post ya later