Blog written by Valerie and Muhammad Haidharul
A day that starts as amazingly as it ends is one worth remembering. We started off this morning with the church run, a famous tradition of the young explorers that involves a relay up the steep town’s iconic old church steps. The additional pressure of your team counting on you to push yourself to do your best made it as intense as it was rewarding (if not super exhausting!).
After a well-deserved breakfast, we ventured out with PANGAEA’s scientific consultant, Dr. Roswitha Stoltz of the University of Munich. We ascended an astounding glacial lake about 30 minutes from Chateau d’Oex. At the lake, a few brave young explorers waded into the ice-cold waters to collect samples used in our water quality tests. When analysis is finished, the data goes to the database at the University of Munich. We looked at water temperature, conductivity, and oxygen levels … as well as a few snowball fights. Coming from South Africa, it was Nadine’s first time seeing snow, which made it more exciting for all of us. Even for those of us who were accustomed to snow and ice, the amazing glacial waterfall nearby the lake didn’t fail to amaze.
We looked at more water samples after lunch and did some chemical tests. Then we went for a rock climb. Rock climbing was not only a blast, but its principles really tie into the PANGAEA mission. Every time you think you’ve reached your limit on the wall, your partner tells you that you can go a little further and physically push yourself higher. It was a great combination of the mental and physical challenges.
Later in the day, a group of alumni young explorers who had each made the trip to Château-d’Oex from all over Europe for our camp spoke to us about action projects and past expeditions. It’s one thing to hear from the team here how amazing these projects can be, but it’s quite another to see how our peers are walking the talk. Their projects and ideas are inspiring new ideas in us.
Our day ended with a big PANGAEA family barbeque in the woods, conversations around the campfire, and a spirited celebration of Kate’s 21st birthday. It was a social combination of the current selection campers, past young explorers, and the Mike Horn expedition team. We’re so grateful for the effort the team has put in for our party in the woods, and everything else they have arranged for us this week. It’s still hard to believe we’re here. It’s all going so fast.
Though we can guarantee we won’t forget the French rap (with compliments from Tanguy), headlamp-strobe-lights, and the new friendships we are forming. With only a few days left, we’re going to make the most of our short time and give it our all. Wish us luck!