Last week the Year 12 Wilderness Studies class embarked on their major expedition which this year took place in the beautiful Budawang National Park due to Mittagong to Katoomba not being a viable option this year. The team set off Monday not knowing what to expect. Muddy tracks initially greeted us, this would be the start of wet boots and feet for the next five days. Halfway into day one the initial devastation caused by the 2019/20 bushfires was evident as the undergrowth had come back with a vengeance! 2-3m tall shrubs that were thick and hard to move through made for tough going that slowed the groups progress, camp for night one would ultimately end up being the only clear patch of land we could find as we all set up in the dark.
Day 2 started with much of the same until we came out the other side of the thick scrub to Styles creek and an open landscape. We pushed on for a mixed day of open terrain, boggy marshes, steep hill climbs before finally on dark locating our camp cave that would be home for the next two nights. Tired, the group got a fire going and reflected on two hard days of hiking.
Day 3 presented a unique opportunity to explore the best of the Budawangs with light packs as our Lands Edge Foundation guide Leo took us on a journey to all the best views and sights located in and around our camp. Budawang classic locations like Mt Cole, Mt Owen, ‘the green room’, Seven Gods Pinnacles, and Shrouded Gods located in the Monolith Valley made up our day. A mixture of scrambling, down climbing and some rope work added to the adventure element of the day as Leo hiked us around some unforgettable views and sights. It was an unbelievable day, the weather was perfect, but again returning to camp using head torches meant the group had pushed hard for a third day straight and fatigue was beginning to set in.
Day 4 and we packed up camp and our camp cave and made the short trek to Burrumbret Brook. On the way we got the first change of weather as the start of cold southerly was beginning to show. A little early rain cleared and once the wind had dropped the group was greeted with another spectacular day. Setting up camp before lunch in another camp cave, we took a great side trip recommended by Leo out top the cascades to find the most amazing swimming holes, although no swimming was had it was a beautiful spot to explore. The afternoon saw some off-track walking on top of Profile Rock before heading back to a vantage point above our camp cave for sunset. That night we reflected on the amazing experience had over the last four days.
The final day was an early start waking at 4:45am, our aim was to be on top of Corang Arch for sunrise. Leaving camp using our headtorches to light the way while the moon was still high, we pressed on and began our climb. As light started to fill the day we made it to our viewpoint to watch the sunrise and have some breakfast…simply stunning! The rest of our day was straightforward hiking along walking trails that was still a total of 16kms. We finished just before lunch at Wog Wog Campsite
I must commend the Yr 12 class for their determination, teamwork and obvious enthusiasm for the environment and the exploration that took place. I was impressed at how they cared for each other, realising when someone was down or needed some extra help. The statistics for the trip reflected the effort and ultimately the fatigue and pain that was experienced by the end of the hike. Total distance was 83km, with nearly 3000m of vertical elevation gain and close to 30 hours of actual hiking time. We know in life that the harder we work for a goal, the more satisfying the sense of achievement…that sums up the 2022 major expedition
Mr Heard – Leader of Learning – PDHPE