On the 11th of May, Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh hikers from Covie met at the entrance to the National Park in North Turramurra to begin the hike. Some were nervous, some excited and others feeling very cold. Everyone was well prepared with heavy packs that would stay on the backs of the Bronze hikers for 2 days and the Silver hikers for 3 days.
Once everyone was ready, we followed the Sphinx walking track and then the Great North Walk. After lunch there was a crazy climb up the rock- face. Let me remind you, we had BIG packs on which doesn’t exactly help your co-ordination! Once we had cleared that tricky bit, we hiked for the whole day, arriving at Crosslands to camp in the afternoon. The tired hikers set up their tents and begun cooking dinner. Later we all relaxed around the campfire and enjoyed the free time that you don’t get much of on school camps. Some slept perfectly that night, and for others it was a rough one.
The next morning we all packed up and loaded our packs hoping they would be a bit lighter than the previous day. We hiked for the morning and had lunch at the top of Galston Gorge Campsite. We later crossed Baily Bridge, went past the Fishponds and had a big rest at Hornsby station where the Bronze hikers ended happily. Silver hikers had a chance to go over to the shops and get hot chips, lollies, subway or whatever they wanted! After all the Bronze hikers had got picked up safely, we caught a train to Thornleigh and walked to the Scouts camp. We were very excited to find they had hot showers and clean toilets. We had a fun night of cooking, mucking around and having fun before we went to bed. Those who hadn’t slept the night before were sure to fall asleep easy that night- we were all very tired!
The third day’s hiking didn’t begin very well. We spent a couple of hours looking for the track we were meant to be on which became quite frustrating. We had to backtrack several times but finally found the right track. We walked the final hard kilometres cheerfully (somehow) and emerged from Lane Cove National Park to find civilisation was still out there! We finished at Macquarie station which wasn’t part of the plan, but worked fine for me! We then caught a train to Chatswood and split up, going our various ways to reach home and especially reach our showers!
In total, we hiked just under 50km over three days (the Silver Duke of Ed kids) and I’m sure we all had the bruises, scratches, bites, sore legs, sore feet and dirty hands to prove it! Duke of Ed has been an amazing experience and nothing can replace the feeling of knowing what you have accomplished once the hike is over. It is a great chance to get to know people around you and teaches you a little something about the appreciation of a nice mattress on your bed!
If you get the chance, I recommend you join and see what it’s all about.