Camp Year 8: kayaking (23.-29.03.10)

I can’t believe that this was only my first camp of the year. It is March and the time is running fast. The first camp in February was cancelled because of the bad weather. The rain season is finished but the rain hasn’t stopped. The river where we were supposed to go was still too full of water, and therefore too dangerous for the kids. Before we started our first camp, in March, the staff members Richard, Dave, Lexi and I had to check the river conditions to make sure it was safe for the school camp. We kayaked in one and a half days 60 kilometres, which is the entire journey which we were going to kayak with the kids in 7 days. This short trip was great. Of course, we had to kayak a lot but the weather was lovely, we caught fish and we had time to enjoy the peaceful and beautiful nature (and had incredibly sore arms!)

Although it was possible for us to kayak the whole way, the river would be flowing too fast for the kids. That’s why our first camp in March had to be the alternative camp. All in all, we stayed at three different camp sides, where we got to by bus.

Our first camp side was a big lake and a perfect place for the kids to train their kayaking skills. My first night was the worst night I ever had on a camp. We slept in “Bivvy“ but on this night I wasn’t able to fall a sleep. It was warm, no wind but I had to stay under my sleeping bag because of the masses of mosquitoes. I was so sweating, itchy all over my body, and the sound of the mosquitoes in my ears made me crazy. In addition to that the kids didn’t stop talking, laughing giggling...What a nightmare! J

We spent the next whole day in the kayaks. It was strange to kayak on a lake. But the lake was connected to another lake and to a small creek which we used to get to a big swimming hole. 

Our second campsite was at the Burdekin river (where we would normally spend 7 days for kayaking). We used the fast river stream for floating on the water by wearing our sexy life jackets. J

In the afternoon we drove with the whole group to Charters Towers. Charters Towers is a scenic gold mining city that is big on history and character. From a chance discovery of gold in 1871, Chartes Towers was soon turned into a bustling metropolis, which in its heads boasted being the second largest city in Queensland. The town is located 100 km inland from Townsville. We visited a gold mine museum which still has the remain from a large mine. It was very interesting and descriptive.

Later we watched a short documentary film on the top of Charters Towers hill with the name: “The ghost of Charters Towers”.

The third campsite was located on a creek in the middle of nowhere. The “road” condition to this last camping spot was terrible. The way was rough, muddy, with many potholes and really, not the best way to drive if you get carsick! ;)

The next day, we started early in the morning for our big hike. We walked 13 kilometres under a cloudy sky and continuous rain. I guess it was more acceptable than a scorching 40 Degrees. So I imagine it was actually the best weather for such a long trip. After 13km we stopped for lunch that the cooking group had to carry in their backpacks. A half hour later we walked the same way back for a grand total of 26 kilometres. The class was a good walking group without too much whining, but still you could see in their exhausted faces that they were happy to got back. J

Compared to the last day, the following day was very relaxed. We drove to a very beautiful spot where the scenery was great. It was a river with rapids surrounded by a big rock wall. We spent the morning sitting and climbing on the rocks while most of the  kids went for a swim or fishing. On our way back we had to walk 2km to get back to our bus. The teacher and I arrived first with a group of 6 people. We couldn’t see the rest of the group coming so we started to think about playing a joke on them. Because we knew that the key for the bus was under the front wheel, the teacher and I got the idea to move the bus so that the others couldn’t see us anymore. All the kids had to stay outside, the teacher was sitting next to me and I was driving the big bus. What a great joke! J The kids loved it and yelled to drive further. When the rest of the class arrived they weren’t very surprised to find the bus moved and on the wrong side of the road. I guess it was more fun for us who chartered the bus. J

In the afternoon, back at our campsite, we started a two hour liloing trip down the river for every one who wanted to. The way contained a few rapids, which was really fun. The only problem was that some parts of the way weren’t able to lilo because of trees and big snags in the water that blocked the way. One of the girls got a big hole in her lilo so I had to share mine with her. It wasn’t easy to stay together on the lilo without smashing with our legs against every single barricade. J Nevertheless it was fun and a challenge for us to try to get the lilo without a hole the complete way.

On the morning on which we packed up to drive home, Lexi and I couldn’t wait to get back because we were going to leave on the next morning in our holidays and there was still lots more to plan, buy and organise. As luck would have it, the bus broke 60 kilometres for Townsville so that we had to wait on the highway for one and a half hour to be picked up by another bus.

I was so glad as we finally got back to school and excited to head towards the Wild West the next day. What a great adventure waiting for me… J