24 Aug 2023

Year Eight Outdoor Education ‘Snowshoe’ Camp – by Angus Martin

Year Eight Outdoor Education ‘Snowshoe’ Camp – by Angus Martin

On Wednesday, August 9, 39 students and staff made the two-hour trip to Mt Stirling to hike through the snow. We left the school grounds at 7:15 am, and then we set off to embark on our snowy adventure. After we made the windy drive up the mountain, we stopped at TBJ, where we collected our packs, hiking poles, hiking boots, and snowshoes. Once we had everything, we began our ascent up the mountain and what a journey it was.

As we had to hike six kilometres, we began with haste. We stopped roughly three times during this time, once to make sure everybody made the turn up the right track and the second time was to have a quick bite to eat for lunch. The third time happened a bit later as we were met by sudden snow, and we put on our snowshoes. Our snowshoes were basically massive platforms for our feet, and they ensured that we wouldn’t fall deep into the snow. Off again, we were hiking through the snow and tripping over our massive snowshoes. We continued, eager to get to our campsite. Half an hour later, we made it, and it was sweet salvation for our tired legs.

At our nice little campsite, we came across the best lifesaver in the world, an awesome little cabin with a fire in it. This made it super warm and the perfect place for all the people who could not feel their hands or feet. Once we had our little debrief, we set up our tents in the snow. This involved us finding the flattest place possible and not too close to the trees as they seemed to be ready to fall. After setting up our little tents, we were ready. Ready to throw snowballs at anyone in sight…. It was mayhem! The fun stopped after one-to-many snowballs hit the tents, and we had to move away from the campsite. In amongst the flying snowballs, my small group of friends and I began our construction of our immaculate snowman, it took lots of time and effort, but we came out victorious. We built a four-foot high, three-tier snowman, with a shovel handle nose and some leaf eyes.

After having some fun in the snow for a few hours, it was time to start preparing our dinner. Some people had pesto pasta, and some had spag bowl. After we all enjoyed our dinner, we cleaned our Trangia’s to perfection, and we all eagerly got ready to go to bed. Before we could make our way into our sleeping bags and tents we were called into the small hut for a ‘Team Meeting’. We discussed what would happen the next day and were told what we had to do before turning in for the night.

Waking up in the morning chilled by the cold was not the highlight of the trip, although seeing the tents covered in snow was amazing. Everyone was ready to get moving, and so we did. Making breakfast, cleaning up our tents, packing our packs, we did it all as quickly as possible. It was extremely hard because everything was covered in snow, and it was still snowing. It took us until roughly 10-10:30 to get it all done. Once we had done all of that, we were ready to get going again, and we had a long seven kilometres to walk that day. This day we had a few stops, one of which was to get some water out of a stream which tasted amazing and was extremely refreshing. Then we stopped to let everyone catch up. We stopped again for lunch at another check point which was at the four-kilometre mark. After a quick lunch break, we continued again, hiking for about two to three kilometres, where we finally got to take off our snowshoes. The relief we all had was immense as we were no longer tripping over our feet. We eagerly made our way down the muddy slopes, ready to get to our next campsite and refill station.

After another kilometre or two, we reached a nice little creek where we were all able to refill our drink bottles. Then a short distance away was our second site, a small rotunda of sorts with the greatest treasure of all…. a fire. We all hurriedly made our way in where Mr Nixon gave his usual 'team speech' and told us how we were going to set up for that night. He told us we were going to hang our tents up in the doorways to trap all the heat in, and we were going to sleep in the rotunda all together. We all worked together to get it done as quickly as possible. Once we had it all done, everyone was excited to go out and have some fun and explore. After throwing around some hackie sacks and sitting around the fire trying to get warm and dry, it began to get dark. We all gathered in the rotunda and chatted, waiting for the right time to start dinner. Once that time rolled around, there was much more of an assortment this time with hot dogs, noodles, pasta(again) and a few others. Once we had made, eaten and cleaned, it was time to chill out and later get ready for bed. We all laid down our mats and got our sleeping bags out.

Now it was Friday, and we all woke up excited as it was our final day. After a quick brekkie, we all worked together to pack up our tents and pack our packs. Once we had everything together, we grabbed a quick group photo, then we were off down to TBJ. It took what felt like 30 seconds to see TBJ, and we were all excited to get on the bus and go home. We all hurriedly turned our snowshoes, boots and poles into the Mount Stirling staff. We made sure everyone had everything and jumped on the bus for the final stretch of the trip. Making our way down to Mansfield, Mr Nixon gave us one last 'team talk', and then we stopped down the main street of Mansfield. There we grabbed an early lunch, some went to the bakery, and others went to the fish and chip shop or Subway. Then it was time to take the two-hour long bus ride back to school. We all made it back to school happy, warm and relieved.

It was a wonderful experience.