Thank you to Year 10 student Isabella Wah for this reflection on her Duke of Edinburgh hike back in June this year.
The anticipation had been building during the bus ride as the scenery got wilder and the mountains taller. Finally, after bumping our way down a rutted dirt track, we reached the starting point for the trip, a little bush campground near Blue Waterholes in the northern part of Kosciuszko National Park. From here it would biking and hiking through the mountains. The first few minutes of the ride gave us no indication of what lay ahead for the trip.
On our first day, we were all anxious to learn about mountain biking. However, we were so lucky to have Mr Crisp and Zoe to help guide us with this new skill. I remember thinking after riding down the first set of hills at the start of the trip, that it would be a breeze. We were to learn however, that the mountains couldn’t be taken for granted. Their beauty belied the beast within.
In between the biking and hiking, we were able to enjoy some periods of rest, sharing it with the nature around us. It was truly an amazing experience to be in such a pristine and serene environment. We saw an array of animals such as wild boar, deer, brumbies and of course kangaroos. There were also a variety of birds all making their own unique sounds, offsetting the serenity of the mountains.
Whilst hiking up Nichols Gorge, we came across some caves. It was remarkable entering the unknown not knowing what lay beyond and uncovering a truly magical set of stalactites and stalagmites, which have formed over thousands of years. When leaving the cave, we joked about how we felt like explorers, discovering something that’s never been seen before. It was an unforgettable experience to feel free, simply exploring and stepping back to the basics of nature, away from the buzz of the city.
The best part of the trip for me was definitely the feeling of accomplishment as we finally reached the tops of what seemed like never-ending climbs. The trip definitely taught us that we are stronger than we know and that you can always push to reach your goals even if you feel like you can’t. The trip was both mentally and physically demanding. Riding with packs on the bike as well as a backpack added to the challenge. By the end of the journey we had all become much better mountain bike riders and were more confident within our own abilities.
As a group, we had become a united front and supported each other whilst tackling the more challenging aspects of the trip. A truly notable part of the trip was making breakfast on the second day after waking up to a frost that covered just about everything. We were all laughing and talking about how our toes were frozen.
When I look back on this adventure, I truly valued the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and to experience everything that the adventure offered. I can honestly say that I have found a passion for mountain biking which I would have never known existed. I still remember the thrill of racing down the mountains, which was definitely a bonus after the hard work to climb up them. This was truly an unforgettable experience. The wind rushing against your face and the adrenaline inside building up more and more as you point your bike down another descent. This experience was priceless and one I was thrilled to share with friends.
Participants were: Bronte McDougall, Addie Curlewis, Lucinda Hatton, Georgina McCrossin, Annabelle Earley, Isabella Wah, Nimrat Bandesha, Hannah Pinson and Amy Huang (all in Year 10). They were accompanied by Mr Nick Crisp and Zoe Cuthberth.
Written by Isabella Wah (Year 10)