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Posted 20 November 2020 8:30am

Between the summer bushfires and COVID-19 it’s been hard to get out into the wilderness this year. So when the restrictions on overnight excursions eased this term, we made the most of the opportunity, running two trips on consecutive weekends. It was good to be back in the bush.

Tantangara Bronze expedition

It’s hard not to feel intrepid when you are waist-deep in a mountain stream, trying to find a solid footing as the current tugs at your legs. Or when your boots are wet, your pants are muddy, and you seem to be moving way too slowly along that little brown line on the map.

The weather was always going to be a factor in this trip as 11 Year 9 girls and a couple of teachers set out across the Tantangara Plains area of the Snowy Mountains on a two-day Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Bronze expedition. Luckily, the girls didn’t let the rain dampen their spirits and, after a long day visiting historic huts, fording creeks and spotting brumbies, they made the most of a dry mountain hut to chat their way late into the evening.

Day two dawned bright and clear, the world seeming to sparkle in the morning sunlight. Boots stayed dry for most of the hike back to the bus, but our final creek crossing was always going to leave us a bit soggy for the final couple of kilometres. The weather had certainly played a part in the trip, but the girls felt all the more accomplished for having braved the alpine weather.

The students who participated in this bronze expedition were (all in Year 9): Hannah Campbell, Ava Farrah, Serina Guo, Himara Jayasekera-Peiris, Laila Marshall, Giselle Mclean, Arya Nagar, Jasmine Niu, Rathiga Robinson, Tabitha Thevaranjan and Bella Williams. They were accompanied by teachers, Nick Crisp and Jenny Chalker.

Budawangs Scenic Rim expedition

The jagged cliffs, fern-filled gullies and expansive vistas of the Budawang National Park have long held a treasured place for Australian bushwalkers. With perfect weather predicted and plenty of enthusiasm on offer, 12 Duke of Ed participants and two teachers set off to experience this remote wilderness first hand.

The summer bushfires had swept the park from south to north, so this was a fantastic opportunity to experience the resilience of the Australian bush and to enjoy the fresh, vibrant regrowth of the regenerating landscape. With much of the walk on high ridgelines, we were treated to spectacular views of the sandstone cliffs in every direction. The girls marvelled at the towering form of Corang Arch, enjoyed their encounters with wildlife such as an echidna, lizards and cicadas, and were suitably challenged by the steep, rocky terrain. Despite a few aches and pains by the time we completed the walk, there were contented smiles all round as they climbed onto the bus for home.

Participants on this expedition were: Ella Borgo (Year 11),  Lucy Bott (Year 10), Indira Carpenter (Year 9), Cheryl Charles (Year 10), Sofia Green (Year 9), Emily McHugh (Year 10), Amy Miners (Year 10), Georgia Moore (Year 9), Bridget Myvalt (Year 9), Macha Symul (Year 9), Susannah Twohill (Year 10) and Stephanie Waldron (Year 11), accompanied by Nick Crisp and Natalie Archer.

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