creux-du-van and the hectiq hike

Creux-du-Van & The Hectiq Hike

My first near-death experience was when I was 17 years old and in the passenger seat of my ex-boyfriend’s Mitsubishi Evolution 7, driving at 180+ km/h down a bendy road after a recent rainstorm.

The road was dark and wet, and though I had become accustomed to the erratic race-car driving style of my ex, my hands were still clenched into a fist with anxious fear. I had thought nothing could possibly go wrong, but before I knew it, the car was spinning out of control around a bend and in those few seconds while we spun, I remember him screaming, “I’M SO SORRY”.

BAM. We hit a fence. My can of coke spilled everywhere and for a moment I thought it was blood. But I was conscious. I was alive. We both were. We were so damn lucky. We scraped a power-pole and if we had hit it head on, I wouldn’t be telling this story four years on. I wouldn’t be writing about how I had another near-death experience just two days ago.

Leonie at Creux du Van Hike

Mattias and I decided to go to Noiraigue to go hiking up to Creux-du-Van. The hiking track is approximately 5 hours long and is listed as “difficult”. It started off all well and good- there were a lot of rocky tracks and we had to be careful at some points. The view when we reached the top was absolutely magnificent.

Leonie and a cow at Creux du Van Switzerland
Mattias and cow at Creux du Van Switzerland

There were so many green pastures on top of the hike and green pastures usually means there are cows nearby. And boy, did I enjoy them cows!

The day was going so perfectly what with the cows and the views… so naturally Mattias lost my phone. He had my phone in his pocket and when he started frolicking in the tall grass, my phone fell out 🙁 We didn’t realize until a few minutes after when he was all “do you have your phone?” and panic ensued. We replayed footage that I filmed on my camera and went back to the field where he was running around. We searched for two hours and all through it, I kept saying to myself that it’s OK, it’s just a phone and at least it didn’t get stolen. Still, it hurt. After two hours of searching, we called it quits as the sun was starting to set and we still had to hike back down before it got too dark.

We must have been distraught because somehow we got lost on the tracks and went around in a circle… and then ended up on the thinnest little trail that literally lead us to near-death. I don’t know exactly what was going on through our minds when we deviated from the hiking track and the terrain became too hard to navigate. It was literally one-foot in front of the other, trees and bushes aligning one side, and a 300-400 meter drop to doom on the other. At one point there were only rocks and they were tumbling with every step I took.

Leonie on top of the cliff edge at Creux du Van Switzerland
Creux du Van Switzerland
Mattias at Creux du Van Switzerland

I was panicking. This was not like that time in the Mitsubishi Evolution. That had been sudden. But this- literally using my hands to make sure I didn’t slip and fall to my death- this was not sudden. I started having panic attack, feeling my feet slip under me and clinging to trees while I kept saying “I can’t do it, I can’t” and “Mattias, I want to go home!” It came to a point when we decided we should just head back the way we came and try to find another way back down.

Safe to say, Mattias and I are a bit stupid. First of all, why didn’t it occur to us that this thin little track wasn’t the right way to go? Because we assumed that the hike was “difficult”, but did it have to be so difficult that it risked both of our lives? Second of all, why didn’t we turn back when we realized that it was such a freaking struggle? It just goes to show, sometimes if you’re a computer geek that stays indoors most of the time, the outdoors can be a deathly place.

Leonie overlooking Creux du Van Switzerland
Leonie and Mattias at Creux du Van Switzerland

Anyway, we made it back alive. We were literally so close to death- either of us could have lost our footing and slipped to our deaths. I’m glad that Mattias kept his cool and didn’t panic and he did such a great job of calming me down and helping me through it all. I think the whole experience brought us closer (even though he lost my phone).

Leonie at Creux du Van Switzerland

I am in such a big ball of pain now though; my muscles ache EVERYWHERE. The hike was only supposed to be 5 hours but we were up on that stupid mountain for 9 HOURS. NINE. HIKING FOR 9 HOURS. NON STOP. Yeah. So. Never again.

The next day I went out to the store and got my lost phone stuff sorted and bought a replacement (Sony Xperia Z1 Compact).

Anyway, my parents have safely arrived in Switzerland so blog posts may be sparse for the next three weeks while we travel around Europe. I’ll try my best to post- if not a blog, than a vlog on YouTube.

Remember guys- your life is worth something. Don’t put yourself in silly situations that could potentially risk your life or someone else’s.

More later!

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