Duke of Edinburgh Gold Qualifying Expedition Wee Jasper – October 2016

Over the course of five days, seven year eleven girls undertook their training expedition for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, including Gabrielle Lynch, Sophie Manning, Maria Nicholas, Lilie Joseph, Alice Kent, Scarlet Klem-Goode and Adele Moore. We were accompanied by the teachers Ms Andrews and Mr Roberts on a expedition that took us from Wee Jasper to the Micalong Creek Campground and back.

Leaving on the Wednesday morning of October 13, we were driven to Yass in a minibus where we stopped for lunch, then continued on to our first campsite for the journey. The days spent walking were definitely challenging and exhausting, but our motivation of a McDonalds dinner on the way back encouraged us all to persist. It cannot be denied that without the motivation and positivity around the entire group, the hike would be nowhere near as successful and memorable as it turned out to be. During our times of uncertainty of exactly where we were heading there was no sight more comfortable then the sign posted little men pointing in the direction of the Hume and Hovel track and, with Mr Roberts recalling his previous gold expeditions heading the wrong direction, we were constantly on edge worrying that we were perhaps doing the same.

At one point on the final day of our expedition, we came to a split in the road when Mr Roberts simply stated, ‘we can go up the mountain or around the mountain’. The most logical thinking to be going around the mountain, we of course still chose to go up and over, where we were greeted with demanding uphill and downhill terrain, not only carrying our now limp bodies and packs but also the weight of regret.

The sights we saw on the expedition were nothing short of amazing, as it was with every expedition we’ve undertaken. Only just technically starting grade 12 two days before the hike, there couldn’t be possibly anything more relaxing then the views of exuberant bright green countryside and crystal clear fresh water streams. Perhaps one of the most magnificent sights of the expedition was on the final day where we were up high enough to view the landscape of green mountain tops and an unimaginably bright blue sky. Only moments after this rare sighting we were fortunate enough to make our way down a large green hill covered with sheep unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

Although no Duke of Ed expedition can be complete without the whining and complaining that the teachers endure from us students, there hasn’t been a hike so far that has gone unappreciated. To say that we cherish these expeditions is an understatement, the truth being that these memories of sadness and happiness, triumph and disappointment, shape who we are, and have ultimately become part of us.


Maria Nicholas