White water rafting

As the Year 9s second semester drew to a close, and while most of the school was getting excited for the Christmas break, a group of 14 girls were busily preparing for what was to become their most intense week of the year.

We had chosen to participate in the White Water Rafting Summer Expedition, in which we would raft down the Mitchell River, navigating the rapids and rocks in order to get closer to home over five days. Our first day was spent adjusting to our new surroundings, emotions, and responsibilities. Whilst packing our dry bags for the first time we were gifted with beautiful warm weather, and a calm evening afterwards. During the preparation of our debut trangia dinner, we were introduced to our camp mascots – recently named Scout, Patrick, Squirt and Brian. These small plastic animals soon become a highlight of each night, being passed throughout the group depending on traits shown during the day. For example, Brian, the penguin awarded to the rafter that encountered the largest tragedy of the journey, was given to victims of wombats and capsisers alike.

Over the course of the week we traveled to campsites of varying cleanliness, accessibility, comfort and biomes. We encountered thistles, sand, wombats, snakes, cliffs, slugs, and an abundance of flies. Our group was introduced by Paul – our outdoor education rafting guide for the camp – to the idea of ‘river toileting’, which was to be mandatorily utilised for the entirety of the week. Thursday, our final full day camping, was cheerily decreed ‘family day’, as most meals were collaboratively prepared with Christmas spirit, resulting in delicious, on-the-go wraps, ‘woodfired’ pizzas and a festive, early Christmas dinner.

Ms Constable – or ‘Connie’, as her personalised camp tshirt proclaimed – had generously organised Christmas festivities for the duration of the camp, including the 12 meals of Christmas accompanied by an advent calendar, personalised gifts for each student, decorations for a tree, glow sticks for carols, mini bonbons and themed candles for a Christmas dinner. This was an amazing effort on her part, and was greatly appreciated by all, helping to lift spirits with an authentic ‘Bush Christmas’. We were introduced to the different aspects of rafting at the start of the expedition, including steering, navigating rapids, and conquering rocks and branches. However, even with all the knowledge we gathered through experience and teachers, we wouldn’t have made it home as unscathed as we did without the assistance of our two guides, aforementioned Paul and Jemma. All in all, this expedition was memorable because of many diverse experiences and challenges that we eventually all overcame with help from each other. We would like to thank Connie and Jonnie for their aid and positive words when we were feeling less than enthusiastic, for helping us persevere and become ‘strong, independent women’ – to quote Paul Nichol.

by Holly Fryer, Lauren Higgins and Annabelle McKenzie

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