We filled our weekends with exploring nature nearby, including the tallest mountain I’ve ever hiked.
On our first free weekend in Switzerland, we decided to hike to the summit of Säntis, a mountain topping out at 8,209 feet. It would be by far the hardest hike I’d done, but my roommate and I still felt confident we could do it.
We first tried to follow a trail map for the hike that we’d picked up from the visitor center, but once we saw other hikers we ditched the map and followed in their footsteps. As we made it farther up the mountain, though, my confidence began to shake. Seeing snow and having to hold on to ropes for safety wasn’t something either of us had experienced on a hike before.
The elevation also took us by surprise, especially since I was carrying a 50-pound backpack filled with camera equipment.
One hiker who passed by let us know that the last tram bringing hikers down the mountain would leave the summit at 6 p.m. — and that if we didn’t make it, we’d be left to hike down on our own. That was the inspiration we needed to speed up and continue trekking through the snow and clouds.
Finally reaching the summit was such a rewarding feeling, and I thought the incredible view made the hike more than worth it. Having powered through feelings of discouragement, we knew we could do it again. Adventure mode kicked in.