Canyoning

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By the time my brother and I and our two friends got to Switzerland, our trip was winding down and we were running out of money. Already known to us as a haven for extreme sports, Interlaken did not disappoint.

The first few days we were there consisted of hiking, swimming in some lakes, and late night bonfires. Interlaken is mind-blowingly beautiful. With the alps to one side and Tiffanys-blue lakes to the other, we were finding it very hard to find reasons to leave. Except for the night Mitch and Jeff pulled their pants down at the local bar… the embarrassment almost did it.

Even with our wallets diminishing in size, we knew we would have to pinch our pennies and conserve a small chunk for canyoning. I’ve talked before about being a worthless physical speicmen a little out of shape, so the thought of throwing myself off of rocks was a little daunting.

The day started off with an hour and a half drive out of town. When we finally got there, we squeezed ourselves into our wetsuits and had some breakfast. Before I knew it I was looking down a 90 foot deep cliff ready to propel to my death.

I volunteered to go first. Fricken volunteered. The gruff, grizzly-like man made sure to ease my nerves by joking that all the gear I had on, was indeed, brand new and had never been tested before. With a group of about ten Korean men cheering me on, I took my first literal leap into one of the best days of my life.

The next six hours were full of things I have never in my life done before. We slid down natural rock waterfalls, jumped off 30 foot rocks into fast-moving icy-cold water, and zip lined through the Alps.

At one point we had to take a zipline over a pool of water and try to backflip right after we let go. Following some of the most graceful dismounts I’ve ever seen, I mustered up my courage and tried to channel my third grade gymnastics class when it was finally my turn.

I think we all know how this ends up. With three-fourths of a rotation, I managed a belly flop from 30 feet in the air.

The rest of the day was filled with bursts of adrenaline, laughing with my new found Korean friends, and pushing my comfort level further and further. We ended the day eating cheese sandwiches in a field of cows in which the milk came from, and enjoying a cold beer after a day of real physical work.

Canyoning is my absolute favorite sport I’ve tried abroad, and with three different levels to choose from you’re able to go at your own pace. Though my body was in pain for the next few weeks days, it definitely makes my top 5 experiences abroad. Absolutely unbelievable.

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