To say that 9S were excited about heading off for camp would be an understatement. Half the class were already at school when I arrived to unlock the food room at 6am on Friday morning. We were all packed and on the road before 7am, a new record!
After brief stops in Roxburgh and Wanaka we reached our destination on a warm sunny afternoon. With just 17 boys in our group we took a while transporting all the supplies up to the Lodge, but still had time for the hardy ones to take a dip in the river afterwards.
Day 2 was overcast all day with light rain off and on – just perfect for kayaking. Three of the four bunk groups successfully accomplished the journey and for some who had never tried it before made great progress. On day 3 we checked out camping gear in preparation for our overnight and in the afternoon completed an orienteering event which was won convincingly by Group 4.
The next two days were spent on our overnight camp about 9 km from the Lodge in the East Branch of the Matukituki River. Groups were challenged to light their camp fire using only natural material and a single match, before cooking their evening meals using the fire and their trangia primus. Before we packed up the tents, we climbed up into the Glacier Burn hanging valley for a picnic lunch with views up to the Avalanche Glacier. Group 3 took out the award for the best team work on the pack up and return to Lodge.
Our final full day started off with an extremely competitive dam building contest in the creek beside the Lodge. Judging was done over multiple categories including best depth, best structural design, best position, etc. Group 2 narrowly took out this award with their innovative design features. The afternoon was spent with more kayaking and swimming at Wishbone Falls.
It was an uneventful trip home until 5 minutes short of Waihola when the accelerator cable in the bus snapped, leaving us stranded for an hour until a replacement bus came to pick us up. Overall this was a thoroughly enjoyable camp. The 9S boys were cooperative and willing to get involved in everything without complaint. The staff team were bolstered by two recent old boys and two current senior students who were all excellent value. Even the weather played its part despite the predictions a few days prior to departure.
All the boys have picked up new skills, I hope they have enjoyed this experience and will have the desire to get back into our great outdoors at some stage in the future.