I just went on a fun camp.
I went on a fun school camp these past five days. I got to hang out with my mates Oliver and Jordan and made a heap of awesome experience. I'll share some of the highlights and crazy parts of the last week, for my future self and others.
On monday I went to school, with all my four bags. I felt nerveous and excited, and really, looking back, had no idea what was in store for me. It's the sort of thing you really want to prepare for, but no matter how much you prepare, when you actually do it, it's never quite what your mind painted in your head. It's easy to anticipate things, but sometimes you just have to live them.
I caught the long bus ride to the first drop off point, where we were told to unload our heavy bag/s into another backpack that they provided. It was a huge hiking backpack, probably the biggest I've ever had on my back. A new experience for me was already in store - I had to put a waterproof plastic bag inside the backpack, and then fit my crazy amount of food and clothes into that. It took about half an hour, if not more, and I feared the entire time I would have to leave out something important for the sake of space. I ended up fitting everything in - just! After a quick snack from my bag, we were off on our first hike. Boy what I in for a shock.
The hike ended up going for about three hours. That might not seem like much to you, but to me, with a huge pack the size of me on my back, that was crazy. However, after the walk, we got to a clearing in the green Australian bush where we would set up our camp for the night. This seemed like a huge relief - you have to understand that we had been walking in (at least what seemed like) extremely hot, hot weather. After a snack we were told to setup our bivvies. I'd never heard of a bivvy before, but after a quick google now, these were pretty weak bivvies. We basically got a tarp and some ropes, and were told to use sticks in the nearby forest to support the tarp, under with which me and my friends would sleep. We got to work, found what seemed to be strong fallen branches to support the bivvy, and finally unpacked our gear under the tarp. Things seemed to be going well, and we were just starting to recover from the walk. We were told by the leader to start making dinner, and that is when the weather hit.
Ohhh gee did the weather hit. Where before it had been over 35 degrees celcius, now there was lightning, sheets of rain, cracking trees and howling wind. You've got to understand how sudden it was. We could see that a cloud was coming, but didn't anticipate it's arrival for at least half an hour, if not more. The weather changed in the space of five minutes. We tried to packup our packs, frantically threw on our waterproof gear, and set off to another place to camp. It ended up being a wet, cold night, but we got threw it, and nervously anticipated the remaining days of our camp.
The next day was, thankfully, a little brighter, both in terms of weather and surrounding feelings. We socialised a lot more, played some games as a group of 16, and then moved on to some bike riding. The organisation running the camp moved our bags to our next camp site, and we rode threw the bush on BMX bikes to our next location. Although the uphills were tiring, the down hill rides were exhilerating and welcome. That Tuesday, we made burritos and ate them around our tents. Our tents kept us warm and happy, and we were ready (albiet unsure!) about the following day, Wednesday, aka water day.
Wednesday was crazy. I knew it would be crazy, it was water day. We would most likely end up drenched in both rivers and the ocean. The day started with us being picked up by a bus. We were being transferred to a location closer to the water/local town. Upon arrival, we got into our first activity, going in a canoe or a kayak. I jumped in a kayak with my friend Jordan, and we slid into the river. Although we never actually flipped, we still got quite wet. Half way through our hour long ride, the weather turned fowl and it started to rain, but we pushed through, and were soon drying, back on land. After lunch, we set off to our surfing, which moods were not too high about, due to the cold, wet and windy weather of the day. Unlike Monday, there was no lightning or wind of the same degree, but even just a medium rain can put a real dampener on activities. I turned out to be pretty shabby at surfing, but I tried for over and hour, and before jumping out, did manage to improve in the water.
Although Wednesday was anticipated to be a crazy day, there was one element everyone looked forward to. That night, we got our own cabins with a shower and toilet block. Luxury, really, at least we thought so. It was a fun night, the only night when dinner was catered for, and we all had a great night sleep on a mattress thicker than two centimeters.
Thursday was the second last day, and had everyone thinking about the impending hike. We had been walking quite a lot during the week - all of these activities were spaced out along a huge area, but this was something different.
Before we set off though, there was a fun but hectic activity to be completed. The camp organisers had setup a raft building activity. Using a couple of empty tanks, some branches and a handful of rope, we were to build a raft that could transport a group of 10 tired campers. 10 campers, because the other half of our group had to build their own raft, of which would be our competition. After half an hour of construction, we threw our delicate raft into the water and nerveously guessed just how wet we would be, and how successful our raft would support us. All we needed to do was get all of our materials, and our group, up and back a pool. This wasn't a pretty, cleaned pool. This was an outdoor pool that had been used for underwater training for the army in another age, that was all concrete with brown water and a tree full of leaves floating in it. One by one, we tried to board our raft, and watched in slight horror as it sunk lower with each successive person. By the tenth person, most of us were up to our necks in the water, holding on to the logs of the raft. Somewhat to our surprise, the raft had still held togethor, even if it couldn't support us all. We paddled across the length of water, and came out the other end thoroughly wet but delighted at our rafts ability to stay togethor. We looked at our competiting raft, or rather lack of, as the other group paddled through the water each holding a piece of material, such as a branch or rope. Their raft had utterly collapsed, but the whole experience was positive and had a great atmosphere. We were wet, but happy.
After changing into dry hiking clothes, we set off on what would become a nine kilometre walk. It should have taken only three or four, but slight misdirection lead to being lost, which lead to a lot of time climbing hills we had already climbed. Three quarters of the way through the walk, when we were surprisingly still on course (at least we thought so), we stopped for a break to eat some lunch and reenergise for what should have been the final stretch. I was chatting to friends, eating my dried fruits when I looked down and saw a huge spider crawling up my arm. It makes me shudder even just reflecting on it. I swear, I thought it had ten eyes and was out to get me. Before you could say my name, I'd leaped in the air with a word not to be repeated here, and ran into the bushes. My friends had seen this ordeal and found it hilariously funny, and after stomping on the spider which (likely out of fear!) had fallen off me. This is the point when we had gotten lost. I handed my navigation duties off to another group member, and what should have been the final hour or so of walking turned in about four hours. We got there eventually and made awesome little pizza's on our campfire. We put all our pizza ingredients on half a wrap, folder the wrap, put in in foil, and threw it in the fire. Minutes later, we ate our yummy dinner.
On the final day (today!) we finallised the camp and met with other groups of campers. We reflected, came home, and had a nice warm shower and dinner. That brings me to now.
My year 9 camp had everything. Amazing sun rises and sun sets, spiders, yummy food and not so yum food, friends and competitions. It's fun to completely change your way of life sometimes, if only for a week, because it can completely change your perspective on the rest of your life.