Testing the Local Terrain

Dienstag, 10. September 2013

by Daniel Davis Wood

Florian and Basil jump for joy on Ernst and Christian's test hike. Photograph by Jody Lam.

With the Four-Day Hike possibly less than a week away, all Ecole students and staff broke up into more than a dozen small groups today to set off on a Test Hike in the local area. The purpose of the Test Hike is for hike leaders to see their hikers in action in order to assess group dynamics, hike equipment quality, and students’ abilities to move across terrain comparable to what they will encounter on the actual Four-Day Hike.

“My hike had two male leaders, Christian and Ernst,” says Hallie Scarbrough, a new student at the Ecole preparing for her first hike. “Our group met in the Martin Wagenschein House and then took a thirty-minute train ride to Lungern where we hiked our way up the Hasliberg. 700 metres later, we arrived to the top of the mountain and had the most amazing view and feeling of accomplishment.”

Other groups, such as the one I led, set off in different directions. Along with two other teachers, Maya and Marnie, I had a very friendly and talkative group of about fifteen students. First I led the group downhill to the town of Meiringen and then alongside the River Aare to Innertkirchen, where everyone stopped for lunch. After lunch, though, we all had a hard hike back up the Hasliberg to the village of Reuti -- a hike designed to simulate the one we’ll face when we head up to Wengernalp from Lauterbrunnen next week!