Duke of Edinburgh Award Year 9 hike
On Wednesday the 27th of November, Year 9 finally finished their Duke of Edinburgh expedition hike. While the 3 days at Somerset were, to say the least, a bit of a mess, because of the weather which was so bad that our final day had to be called off. But thankfully the sun was shining this time and we all had a relaxing hike. Our year split into 2 groups, one hiking from Waterfall to Heathcote, and the second group hiking in the other direction. Within these groups, we had groups depending on how fast we walked: slow, medium or fast, with a teacher supervising each group. I was in the group walking from Heathcote to Waterfall, and I’d have to say the beginning of the hike was really fun. The terrain wasn’t difficult at all and the weather was perfect. My only regret would be wearing shorts and a T-shirt as I got hit by many bushes and shrubs which ended up in a surprisingly high amount of scratches. Of course, I was just lucky that I didn’t get bitten by any bugs, which unfortunately happened to my friend, although the pain quickly went away and didn’t stop her from completing the rest of the hike.
After our recess stop which we had at a small pool, we continued along a flat trail, with our spirits still high, excited that we were halfway through. Along our way there we saw the second half of our year coming back the opposite way and were happy to finally reunite and tell them about the journey ahead. But this was when things got interesting. As I was busy saying goodbye to the groups going the opposite way, I did not realise that mine had left. Meaning that I was stuck in the middle while my group was at the front, but in the end, I couldn’t have been more grateful for this mistake. When we reached a crossroad, the fast group made the decision to turn left, while mine stopped for a bit to check our map. We realised that we were supposed to reach a campsite, and luckily someone spotted a dodgy looking arrow pointing up some rocks. While I did not think this was the right way (the arrow seemed suspicious), I followed along anyway. It was only when I saw a sign that read ‘Waterfall Station – 2km’ that I finally let myself relax. It was finally over, although I couldn’t tell if I was happy or sad because of how much fun I had. But the walk out of the bush on the roads was probably the worst part even though it was not the longest, I felt as if I was being teased, knowing that the end was so close, yet so far. But when we finally reached the station, we realised that the fast group had not. After calling some of my friends with no replies (shockingly), Ms Xu let us leave anyway. It was only after I was with my friends in Maccas, that I heard the news about how the others finished close to an hour after us. I guess this is somewhat of a cautionary tale to always check your map before continuing on your hike, but overall the other groups still seemed to have fun.
I really enjoyed Duke of Ed and I feel like I made closer friendships and challenged myself to do new things. Normally a hike is not something I would find interesting, but I was astonished by how much fun I had.
Veronica Kwong, Duke of Ed leader