An Unforgettable Year 9 Camp

An Unforgettable Year 9 Camp

By Isobel Egan, Lara Southwell and Keira Larkham, Year 9 students

Hiking up to 60 kilometres with heavy bags, exploring dark caves, living off wraps and freeze-dried food, and sleep deprivation - this is what Year 9 Camp is all about - pushing your limits and venturing 188km outside of your comfort zone to the vast Cooleman Plains for five days.

With the first step off the bus being into a snowstorm, we got a glimpse of just how adaptable we would have to be to make it through the week. The wild weather was a true testament of the unpredictable conditions we would later face. But with a campground to get to and kilometres to walk, the groups learnt to adjust the weight of their packs and the idea of doing this for five more days.

Students shelter from the snow

However, the first real challenge we faced was on day two, with tough terrain and new blisters already forming. Fortunately, many groups went into the spectacular Cooleman Caves, built by a calcium carbonate reaction over thousands of years. Entering with a helmet and a head torch not knowing what we would find, we were surprised to discover glittering stalactites and mites, as well as a sense of awe and courage within ourselves.

Days three and four were the most gripping and physical days of the camp, with groups walking more than ten kilometres and some even making it to 20, with the packs rubbing into our shoulders, testing our mental and physical strength. The biggest test of all was hiking boredom and injuries. Thanks to the new friendships we’d made, we crushed hiking boredom with our new coping mechanisms, such as singing, riddle solving and naming all 50 US states. Injuries were overcome in a similar manner, with groups sharing equipment, packs and hardships to help others feel safe and empowered.

Hiking through the plains

On the last day, there were a lot of surprised students saying, “It wasn’t actually that bad." Some even went as far to say, “I’m glad I finished it” and “I had a good time.” Thanks to the amazing teachers, plus Ms Coll and Mr Mordike, for making this experience possible for us. We created many great memories and new friends along the way, with camp proving to be an adventure we will never forget.