Students taking part in the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award completed their Qualifying Hike following the Great North Walk from Somersby to Patonga. Over two weekends the two groups enjoyed the opportunity and challenge to explore, navigate, cook, work together and go without mobile coverage! There were many blisters but good attitudes. Evie, from the Collaroy Centre took time to assess and train each student.
After a 20km hike students set up tents on the Friday night at the Kariong Scout Camp where there were taps, a picnic table and toilets. Luxury! It was here that we discovered how popular this hike was with other groups. Much of Saturday was then spent passing, or being passed, by groups from Turramurra and Terrigal High Schools. Arriving late at Mt Wondabyne campsite meant some improvisation was needed. We set up camp in two sandy drainage areas beside the fire trail which worked remarkably well. No toilets meant we had to use the trusty 'Doug.' Fortunately we had been able to fill up water supplies at a waterfall and added purification tablets.
At night we joined Turramurra students, and staff, around a fire to hear a painfully long fictional story about 'Bazza' who wound up being in an exploding cheese factory in Paris and "debris / de Brie was everywhere." Students enjoyed watching the sunset and sunrise from Mt Wondabyne with its extensive views over Brisbane Water and the National Park. Leader Evie gave students a debrief before we completed the descent into Patonga where hot chips were a welcome treat before a Water Taxi ride to Palm Beach.
Photos below are from the second hike group.
Hiking songs: 'The blind man sat by the road,' 'Father Abraham,' Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now'
Evie's Dad Joke: "Where do you take a whale if you want to weigh it?... A railway station!"
Thanks to Mrs McDonald for driving the bus to Somesby, Mr Pierson for joining the hike and Evie for being patient with us as we improved our navigation, time management and leadership skills.