Silver Peaks Hiking Trip

By Laura Thiel | Posted: Tuesday June 30, 2015

It was a cold and rainy Thursday and I had been looking forward to this day for weeks. Instead of going to my regular Environmental Studies class, I went to the Whanau room to meet my teacher Tip, some students from Polytech and eight other pupils from my Outdoor Education class.

Well at least I expected to meet them. In the end only three of them turned up because -like I have already mentioned- the weather was bad and some people were caught at home with illnesses .

Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun, even before we took off. As we had met the Polytech students only once before, we had to get more familiar with them, which we did by playing games. We loved some of the games, like Ninja, so much that we were almost sad when we had to leave the classroom and climb into Tip’s van. But as soon as we reached the bottom of the Silver Peaks, our idleness turned into great anticipation. The forests were looking so promising, that we even decided not to walk on the paths but to go straight through the bush.

We were climbing over wood, jumping over holes and streams and fighting our way through plants as tall as men. So much the better were the little breaks, when we were all sitting around, sharing not only our food, but also some nice stories and experiences. During our walk, we were also playing some games, of which “Camouflage” was –according to all of us- the best one. As soon as someone screamed “Camouflage”, we all had to hide in the underwood, where we were –as well as the seeker in the middle- not allowed to move. We played this game literally everywhere -no matter if we were just balancing over a fallen tree trunk or tramping through a stream.

After a couple of hours, we reached our camping spot, put up our tents and played some enjoyable games. In contrast to the games we had played at school, the games now were more based on running, hiding and getting familiar with the nature and the environment of our camping area. Apart from improving our sport and outdoor skills, we also practised working together as a team and gained a lot from this experience. Teamwork was especially important when it came to building our own shelter out of natural matter. At the end our shelter was so proper and comfortable that we decided to sleep in there. Well, we changed our plans as soon as it got dark and cold and the only comfortable place was actually around our big bonfire. That was nice as everyone was sitting there together preparing dinner on little cookers, eating and telling each other short stories or jokes. Finally, we went tired but really happy into our tents.

After a more or less satisfying night, I woke up to birds twittering, sunrays on the top of our tent and the voices of my camping mates who were already preparing breakfast. Energised by a proper meal (most of us ate the second dinner of their food packages), we made our way back again. But this time we changed our tramping route so that we passed the possum hut, an old shelter, where possum hunters used to spend their nights long ago. To make this route even more exciting than it was the day before, we were walking literally through a stream for about half an hour. Afterwards everyone had wet shoes and socks, except me. I had wet shoes, socks, trousers and a wet shirt and jersey. I was silly enough to not take care where I placed my feet in the stream, slipped on a stone and fell into the water with my whole body and (how I could fortunately determine) waterproof backpack. After changing my clothes and getting sweaty again by climbing up a steep hill, we finally reached our van. 

On our way back we looked at the photos we had taken and I could feel how much our friendships had improved during our trip and how much more familiar we had become with each other. When we came back to our school, I actually realised how much we experienced in only two days during which time the other pupils had just been following their normal daily lives. Over all this was one of the best things I’ve done here in New Zealand and I will never forget these days in my whole life!


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