A bright sunny morning greeted the seventeen eager beavers who had put their hand-up to go on the annual trip to Wilsons’s Promontory. Man of many camps Cam Scott was buzzing around making sure everything was organized and collected and ready to go. Florence Nightingale of camps Alyce Holland was ready and waiting in Benalla for collection while Jeremy O’Brien and Lauren Pitches were ready and raring for the six and half hour bus trip down to the southernmost point of Australia.
Our Bus Driver Greg loaded them all on to the bus and then each student took turns being DJ for the long trip. Plenty of Jelly beans were eaten (care of Mr Scott winning them) on the way to Tooradin where lunch was had. Now the south east of Melbourne is much different to what Mr Scott remembers of it and now knows there are three Woolworths on the one road. Eventually Mr O’Brien and Mr Scott caught up with the bus and mum Scott dropped off Mr Scott’s skim board.
About 4pm the happy campers rolled into Tidal river where they quickly unpacked and were ready to go have a look at the beach. The beach is spectacular at Tidal river and a few brave souls decided it was time for a refreshing dip in some of Bass Strait finest water. The boys played cricket hitting with a howling gale. Dash McIntosh, Hollywood McCabe and Whoopa Irvine hitting the cover off it a long way up the beach. Caleb “The mountain goat” Cooper able retrieved the balls and had a crack of putting the ball into the stratosphere.
Dinner was then served and as seen at Bogong the hungry hoard devoured the roast chooks on offer. Off for a walk to squeaky beach. Where the dry quartz in the sand makes every step squeak. A leisurely three kilometer walk over where a few pictures were taken. Elise Freeman took the time to do some exercises on the rocks While Amber Ralph investigated how massive boulders of granite were like split in half. The sun was setting as the walkers wandered back to the lodge.
On the way back, much of the local wildlife was out an about. Amy Nunn got spooked by one of many wombats that were seen around the campsite. Mr O’Brien was on a mission to get a photo and pat with one. However the one of the trail was not very forthcoming and tried to attack him. Not to worry only Monday. Plenty more chances as the week would wear on. Back at the lodge the guys played some cards and got ready for Tuesday.
It was a cool and sunny day. Wind had died down and the students took their time to rise from their slumber. Breakfasts was your good old fashioned toast and cereal affair. Last four to rise were on dinner duty on the Tuesday night. About 9am Amy Nunn and Brianna Laversa rose. Some students went for a morning walk around with Mr Scott while others played Uno and other card games. Next was the climb up Mount Oberon.
Greg dropped off us all at Telegraph saddle car park. The prom veterans being Mr Scott and Greg were surprised by the number of cars at the car park. All set off for a 3.7 kilometer walk straight up to one of the best view you could have. Mr Scott waited for about ten minutes after the rest and then set off.
Half way up Mr Scott began to gather in the students. and by the top he was just behind the lead group. There were plenty of top of mt Oberon but the view and the day was perfect for it. Clear and sunny with a little wind being 525 metres above sea level. Plenty of photos were taken and the girls had Hannah Keel on a leash. This would make sure she did not blow off the side of the hill.
The walk back down was quick. Maddi Warner was busily showing Ricky Walker card tricks on the way down the hill. Pretty clever to be able to walk talk and do card tricks on a steep decline this writer must say. All eventually trailed in and was back to base for lunch.
The afternoon saw two choices of walks. A shorter on through Lily Pilly gully while the more adventurous a walk around to little Oberon bay with a swim there and Norman bay on the way back. It was well spread with half walking around Lilly Pilly while the other half took on around the point to little Oberon. Jordan Cook was at his comedic best at little Oberon looking like a baby giraffe walking for the first time. “If you are going to go to the beach expect chaff” was his response after covering himself in sand. Plenty of laughs were had with the Oberon crew and soon it was off back to base for dinner.
Dinner was BBQ cooked to perfection by Mr O’Brien. The hungry ones got plenty to feed upon and then a couple more hours of cards were played. Mr Scott tried to skim for the first time in seven years watched on keenly by a few interested onlookers. Spencer Levesque had a go and promptly fell straight on his back. Not to be out done so did Amy Nunn. Mr Scott did try to warn them that it does hurt.
Once back at the lodge Brianna Laversa was complaining of a sore nose. Without flinching Mr Scott knew exactly who did it. it was Cooper Jones. It is always Cooper Jones. So to say sorry Cooper made Brianna a hot chocolate. No such luck for Mr Scott who asked Spencer to make a coffee and got none of that. More rounds of cards and a discussion on where they were going to overnight hike to was then had and some packed for the big hike day to Sealers Cove or Refuge cove for a Wednesday night camp out.
Wednesday was a big day. Bacon and Eggs were on the menu cooked by Jordan Cook and Mr Scott. Once again the happy campers rose in clumps and many were ready for the hike across to Sealers. A total fire ban was in place throughout the state of Victoria as it was a dry blustery easterly blowing. Spencer Levesque decided to have four cups of coffee in the morning. More on that later. Greg dropped us all off at Telegraph saddle and all set off at a frantic pace to the first rest stop Windy Saddle. Miss Holland took up her customary role of just walking it out at the back of the group.
Three Kilometres was easily covered up the saddle in under an hour. Now was the walk down to Sealers Cove. The weather was warm and pace frenetic. It was noticed half way along that Cooper Jones was walking with a limp. When asked he said he had rolled his ankle before Windy Saddle. He thought nothing of it and kept going. After a solid two and a half hour walk all walked out onto the beach at sealers crossed the creek and made it to the campsite. Mr Scott agreed to go on and took the famous five on to Refuge while the others set up camp at Sealers for the night. Cooper had made it safely to Sealers but the real question was; was he going to be able to walk out in the morning?
it was another six and a half kilometre slog around to Refuge cove on the eat side of Wilson’s Promontory. Caleb Cooper took the lead and ploughed on up the hills and rocky outcrops. Elsie entertained herself by looking and commenting on big rocks. Jordy McCarthy would reply on the game. There were plenty of big rocks. On top of one outcrop which overlooked the northern prom, the path disappeared. Spencer declared “Let Jesus take the wheel” We found the track and descended into Refuge cove.
Coming out onto the beach at the cove was amazing. Clean large grains of sand and couple of boats welcomed the hikers. A final nasty little 10 minute walk was in order and after a good 5 and half hours of walking the famous five made it to camp. The camp was quiet with only a few older gentleman making camp there for the night too. Shoes were quickly dispensed and tape take off for recovery in the cold clear water of Refuge Bay. Mr Scott finally removed the bandage from his heel which revealed a blister the size of a 50 cent piece. Nothing a bit of salt water won’t fix. Amber Ralph had not fared better either. Her archers were sore and red. Seventeen kilometers will do that to you. Camp was set up. Dinner cooked and then plenty of stories about Spencer’s urine colour were then discussed. It was passed (pardon the pun) that Spencer does not drink four cups of coffee in a row ever again. A sunset the wind was still warm and the change had yet to arrive.
Meanwhile round at Sealers Jordan Cook was regaling the campers in funny stories while Hannah Keel and Halle Warrender were just wandering around enjoying the calmness which is the prom. many were panicking as the weather had not turned and their phones were running out. First world problems.
The change came through in the late evening. the trees roared like a freight train at Sealers. Some even forgot to peg their tents down. A rookie mistake. At Refuge all were bunkered down and out fo the strong winds. A bit of rain fell. It always seem wetter than what it is when you are in a tent. It stopped raining about 7am and once Amber and Mr Scott’s feet were strapped up the Refuge crew set off back to Sealers at 7:20am.
Back into phone coverage Coopers injury was revealed.He had rolled his ankle and was going to get a helicopter or boat out. Miss Hollands camp curse had returned. The sealers crew set off for base camp about forty five minutes before the Refuge crew arrived.
Spirits were high in the Refuge crew. There was a sense of just grinding it out and getting it done within the group. Upon arriving at Sealers Miss Holland and a rather soggy looking Cooper greeted them. Any dry clothes and food were offloaded to them as they were still waiting for the boat to arrive. Jordy left the tent behind for shelter but did not leave the poles for it. Elise had them! The walk back to the saddle had started to tax the group and the final kilometre to the saddle was hard. Relief took over once the group made it there. Fourteen kilometers down only three downhill kilometres to go. Amber Ralph wanted it done quickly as her feet had packed up. The last three kilometers was covered in about half an hour. Greg was there and six weary souls made it back to the lodge. In three days some of the walkers had covered nearly sixty kilometers. Impressive effort. In all for the week, students did between forty and sixty kilometers.
The afternoon saw not a lot happen. Miss Holland and Cooper had a nice scenic boat ride care of the coast guard to Port Welshpool and then onto Foster hospital. Miss Holland has seen her fair share of Medical centres and random towns across the state this year. It’s like Miss Holland is camp kryptonite. Something always happens. So Mr Scott went to pick them up as Mr O’Brien cooked a big amount of spag bol. After tea Miss Holland loved the bad cop role kicking all out of the lodge for the staff to get some rest. Mr O’Brien was reveling in his role of only having one eye. Sadly we could not find the skull and crossbones eye patch. As Mr Scott’s feet were cooked the final tale was about poor Biddi. Corey McIntosh was being all brave but was he really scared by the events? Cooper Chung was not fussed by all the commotion. Chungy never seems to be.
Friday came and was time to pack up and head home. What a week.The staff of Mr O’Brien, Miss Holland Lauren were tremendous. More importantly, the students who made the trip amazing. I spend a lot of time with many of you thins year and I am grateful that you all were willing to ship in have a go and keep an open mind about it all. This is why I will continue to put my hand up to go on camp.