Blog written by Lani van Niekerk
This year, the Young Explorers celebrated the end of 2012 and the coming of 2013 with the traditional hike up to the hut in Lai Da Vons, Switzerland. With our bags packed, 26 explorers set off to conquer the strenuous climb (just over 1000ft in altitude!). Once we reached the hut we made ourselves at home. I couldn’t have imagined a better setting to end off the year! The hut was nestled next to a rocky wall and everything around us was covered in a fluffy blanket of snow. In the distance you could see the numerous snowy peaks of the Alps as they rose majestically from the valley below.
The next day involved some hiking (well, to be honest, we were rolling, jumping, skiing, falling and playing) in the snow. Some YEPs even dared to summit a peak nearby! As the wind picked up we headed towards the hut to warm our frozen fingers and wet clothes. We started preparing our last meal for the year – traditional Swiss raclette! I firmly believe that everyone had at least one portion too many, but we still managed to cram in some of Livio’s delicious birthday cake!
As the clock struck twelve, we all gathered outside under the light of the moon and started celebrating the new year in different ways. Torches were lit, snow fights were held and merry voices were heard as we sang into the early hours of the morning. Life is a wonderful thing!
My favourite part was seeing the sun rise the next morning. I ran outside and my jaw dropped. I was gazing, fascinated, at a completely pink sky. The clouds formed impressive patterns across the vast heavens and reflected their colours on the crispy snow. This was beauty beyond limits. And as I stared at this glorious display of nature, I couldn’t help feeling that 2013 is going to be an incredible year!