This July 360 took three brave members of the Babylon team to embark on a six-day trek of Mont Blanc all in the name of fundraising for charity Trekstock. Megan Buffington, Babylon Reception Manager describes how they all got on…
On Saturday 20th July I set off with two others to carry out a six-day trek to the top of Mont Blanc to raise money for Trekstock, a charity that supports young people with cancer. I was accompanied on the trek by Catherine Greppo, Assistant Restaurant Manager and Martins Dacis, Head Waiter. We have been fundraising all year with various house parties, Easter egg hunts and a big party at The Roof Gardens but the biggest activity to date has to be the trek! With the help of generous friends and family (and lots of training at the gym) we survived and raised over £8,400.
The three of us have worked together for nearly four years and got even closer on this trip being together for six days, over 120 kilometres, at heights over 2,600 meters and sleeping in bunks crammed next to each other. The first couple days were the worst on our bodies, adjusting to the altitude, 10 kilos on our backs and nine hours of walking a day, our bodies were thrust into a drastic change.
Each day would start at 6:30 am, we’d get dressed and have a simple French/Swiss breakfast of bread, jam, orange juice and coffee. We stayed in huts in the mountains or hostels in the tiny alp villages. We’d be walking by 8:00 am, have a mid-morning break, lunch for half an hour, then we’d be walking until 5:30 pm. There were times when I couldn’t even feel my feet and it was a mental struggle to keep pushing myself.
Overall, the biggest mistake Catherine and I made was over packing! Being girls it was quite easy to pack too much and Martins definitely wins the prize for the lightest rucksack. We had a briefing in Chamonix the night before our first day, where the guide told us to ditch half the stuff we had packed. Catherine and I gave each other silent looks of worry at that moment and we had to get rid of half our clothes that night. As the trek went on we washed the clothes we had for the next day and dried them on our rucksack.
One of the biggest physical challenges on this trek was concentrating where you were going to put your foot next. There were moments on the path where taking one wrong step would send you falling down the side of the mountain. We hiked through snow, over rivers and climbed huge boulders, but the most difficult was going downhill. The impact was extremely tough on our knees as all our weight, plus a rucksack of 10 kilos was putting pressure on our joints; they were a so swollen by the end of the trek.
After embarking on a trip like this, away from London, away from the noise and stress of everyday life, it gives you the time and space to think. To take moment and look at everything around you, see where you are and be thankful for everything you have. Especially the cause we were walking for, children whose lives are cut short due to life’s unfortunate circumstances. We felt so proud of completing our trek, and of all the money we raised to help such an amazing cause.
A journey like this makes you hungry for more!