On January 21st, I and several other students here in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland set out on a journey, one that many of us underestimated. This expedition started early in the morning and took almost the entire day. Our goal: to climb to the top of Mount San Giorgio. This goal seemed like it might be a relatively quick hike with slow gradual slopes winding up to the top. However, that assumption was wrong! I left the villa with a camelback water bottle, a jacket, and a book bag full of food, assuming that would be plenty. Shortly after leaving I noticed that our group was moving at a staggering speed through the flat streets of Riva, but assumed that we would slow down by the time we reached the edge of the mountain.
Unfortunately, this assumption was also false. As we started to climb the extremely steep path to the top we saw a sign that suggested it would be roughly three hours and forty-five minutes to the top, but with the rate of speed at which we were going I could not believe it would take anywhere near that long to reach the summit. After only an hour and a half I was dripping sweat, already drank almost all of my water, and discovered how in-shape everyone else there was. It ended up taking three and a half hours to reach the top, and a lot of perseverance!
At points we were climbing a forty five degree incline all while there was a rock wall to your right and a vertical drop of to your left, but that made making it to the top that much more spectacular! Climbing the last few hundred feet and looking off the edge over the steel blue lake was an incredible feeling! That feeling was phenomenal, because I rarely push myself physically that hard, for that long, to see something that marvelous!
After a few minutes in quiet reflection while eating my lunch at the top of S. Giorgio, I just stared off into the distance imaging what the region must have been like 400 B.C. (which happens to be when scientist think the first men inhabited the area).
This entire experience taught me several different things: 1) research is important, 2) take plenty of water where ever you go!, 3) perseverance really pays off, and 4) it is really powerful to have people push you way beyond your perceived ability, because without the group I went with there is not way I would have made it to the top. Know, I knew a lot of this information before this experience, but I and human nature in general seem to forget lessons learned if we are not reminded on occasion.