Even for someone who makes a career out of working with teenagers the idea of walking 120km through the Aussie bush a week out from summer did not seem appealing. For four years at IFTS, I have put off doing the Year 9 trek- this year I knew it was my turn to get it done.
Starting from Kariong at around 10:30 am on Monday (and almost making it back to Kariong on Tuesday but I won’t go into that) … we trekked south, an average of 25km a day, in order to make it to Sydney by about 2pm on Friday.
Most days pretty much went as follows. Wake up at 6am, pack up the tents, eat breakfast and make lunch. Start walking at 7am until around 10am, have a break. Walk until about 12:30 and eat lunch. Keep walking until we reach the next campsite which was usually some time between 2-4pm depending on how many hills we climbed that day. I lost count of the hills we climbed at about 20. I think there must have been around 30 all up. To summarise, we walk, eat, sleep repeat.
So back to my intro about the week having an upside. I would love to say that my week was a life-changing experience and I had some sort of epiphany while staring at the gumtrees but to be honest I didn’t. I did enjoy the walk on the whole though and I do have an underlying sense of achievement which I’m sure I share with the rest of the staff I went with and the kids. Overall I can’t pinpoint what it was that I liked about the week – it just feels very wholesome.
Shout-outs to Cam for getting the trek ball rolling, Suzie for being the head of first aid, Mitch for the endless positivity (sorry about the watch mate), Tim for leading the trek the entire way and being an absolute legend and Brendan for listening to my rants. Also special mention to Gav for delivering the trailer every day which was a massive job and took a lot of his time and Ash for cooking the food.
If you are a parent of a student in Year 9 who went on trek you should be very proud. A great bunch of kids. I could not fault them at all.
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