At the end of June 2021, Year 9 spent four days in the alpine nature landscape in Morteratsch near St. Moritz. A successful alternative to the Outward Bound expedition in Norway, which could not take place due to the pandemic. Dongyang tells us about his experiences.
At the end of June, almost 90 students and staff from year 9 were able to board buses from Salem and head to the Swiss Alps, specifically to Morteratsch just outside of St Moritz. We slept in tents and everyone worked in small groups to cook their own food. There were 5 walking groups, each completing a challenging walk on the second and third days.
We were lucky to be free from COVID-19 from June 30th to July 3rd and went to Morteratsch in Switzerland for a four-day camping trip and a two-day hike. It was a pity not to go to Norway and Allgäu, but it was also an unforgettable experience. We started on June 30th in the afternoon and arrived around 7 PM. On July 1st, which was the first day of the hike, my group finally reached the side of the glacier at an altitude of 2400m after walking for about 3 hours over the mountains. The magnificent mountains, rivers, forests, waterfalls, and glacier kept up our motivation. The continuous uphill, downhill, and rugged mountain roads made people quickly feel tired; however, after overcoming all the difficulties and finally seeing the wooden hut on the side of the mountain and the unbeatable view, it felt worth the effort. On the first day, we walked a total of about 18km. After we returned to the camp, we cooked dinner for ourselves – a camping version of spaghetti bolognese. Some of us would rock skip by the river nearby after dinner, and some of us played Uno together or had an evening stroll with our friends.
However, we didn't know that the real challenge was the next day. On July 2nd, our group took a bus from the camp to the foot of Piz Lagalb. When we learned that we would climb to the top of Piz Lagalb with a height of 2959m because the weather conditions were on our side, we all hoped to take a cable car to go there. That being said, we still made concerted efforts to walk around the mountain to the shoulder for about two-thirds of the way. When we reached the point with the snow-covered ground, there would always be someone in our group who took the initiative to reach out and help us with a stable arm. After a half-hour lunch break, we started the real journey up the steep hill to the summit. Although there were some minor incidents during the middle of the journey, all of us successfully walked to the final checkpoint crossing before the summit stretch with Mrs. Merlin's and Mr. Balzer's care and guidance. The last stretch to the summit was the hardest; the route was challenging, and the terrain was even less forgiving; at long last, we saw a building belonging to the Climate Institute (a research center) there. The final 50meters were the most tedious, steep, and unforgiving, but we made it to the summit with some good photos for the memory and the proof that we were the only group among the whole grade 9 to summit.
It wasn't easy to go down the mountain. It was windy, and there was a snowy downhill part of the way, and we all had to slide down slowly. It was dangerous and challenging, but we all regained some motivation when we were lucky enough to meet a rare bird, a pair of snow hens. After about two hours of going downhill, we finally got back to where we had left off. It was about 5:30pm.
The two-day hike was over, and although the route was exasperating and challenging, the unforgettable experience has inspired us to try hiking again. Special thanks to Mr Schweizer for the perfect organization, which made our hike from two weeks to two days meaningful and memorable. We are all looking forward to our next trip.