Last night was a typical Friday on campus. People were milling around on Panera lawn, being social, drinking beer. Chatter hovered around the question of what to do. Some were in favor of going to a nightclub, some just wanted to stay on campus. I was looking at the stars, which still amaze me every time I glance up at the night sky, sparkling among the towering silhouettes of the surrounding mountain peaks. The moon, almost full, cast a silvery light over the landscape.
“We should climb San Sal”, said Kyle. The trailhead to Mt. San Salvatore (San Sal) isn’t far from my apartment. Somebody suggested climbing it almost every night, the only time of the day cool enough to realistically consider the idea. We always managed to find distractions on campus. The scene of tipsy college students playing music from their laptops in the artificial lighting, however, did not promise a memorable night. I looked at the mountain, looked at Kyle, glanced back at the college nightlife unfurling around us.
Ten minutes later, Quinn and I made our way back to our apartment, strapped on our headlamps, filled our CamelBaks and stuffed chocolate into our backpacks. Kyle was at our window within minutes. An hour or so later, we stood at the top.
This is why I moved to Switzerland.
These are the circumstances under which my first hike in the Swiss alps occurred in the middle of the night, under the stars, with two truly awesome people. I can imagine no better use of that night.