The adventure has started with all 11 team members geared up and ready to go. Whilst it is hot they are up to the challenge. Throughout the 14 day challenge they will be learning and practicing leadership, setting goals for themselves and pushing their own self perceived limitations. Follow along as we provide snapshots of their journey including their successes. Updates will occur every 2 – 3 days due to the remoteness of some of their expeditions.
The team arrived from all parts of Australia. They will be accompanied by their enthusiastic instructors Kev and Jennie. Kev and Jennie are super stoked to be part of this and support everyone. Day 1 was filled with getting set up for the journey. Priority is of course to get to know your team and and everyone was able to share their own stories and backgrounds. Everyone also had a lot to learn about expedition behaviour. This included how to pack, gear sort set up tents plus loads more.
Waking up to the first morning of bird calls the team was absolutely pumped to get into their first full day. Still in the forming stage, the team is beginning to settle into expedition behaviour’s that will set them up for success. Today they headed to the Giant Ladder where they all really supported each other. AJ had an epic leap of faith into her climbing partner’s hands to ascend the ladder. Some of the team members were so pumped they even climbed the ladder twice. Well done to Owen and Liamski who pushed themselves to get to the top in 1 minute and 50 seconds.
The team reflected on the things that have been limiting themselves in their own lives. They are beginning to plan on how they can push their own comfort zones in this adventure which they can take back home.
After hiking for a part of the afternoon the team was faced with a raft building challenge. This was a chance to learn new knots and come up with a plan. Working together they built the next Noah’s ark!
The team is having some fun and have had great weather so far. Big Ben – a hoop pine challenge with a difference allowed the team to support each other as they climbed up together. Each team member is connected to the other as they wind through the branches climbing up as high as they can. They then reverse spiral down celebrating once they reach the ground.
The amazing flora and fauna around the Scenic Rim is so diverse that the team spent some time getting to learn about it. Ed showed the team some of the plants around and they looked at the many ways that they can be used.
Wollumbin or Mt Warning is one of the most well known mountains in the Northern NSW region famous for it’s sunrises. The team arose early and headed up the steep incline. Even though they departed in the dark it is still quite a push to get there to see the first rays of sunshine. What an amazing sunrise!
Well done to the team for working together to get to see this amazing sunrise.
Preparations for the huge mountain bike leg began in the afternoon with skills session. This is an integral part of ensuring safety as the mountain biking leg is for many the toughest leg of the journey.
The mountain biking has begun! The team have covered some large distances as well as steep terrain. Adam and Liam are the designated leaders for the day and report that the team has been challenged but in general the mood remains high. They jokingly write in their team journal “We love potato bake!”. Who doesn’t??
Leading the day for Liam and Adam has been a great chance to learn about their own leadership styles and to grow with the experience.
Despite the hot weather the team is doing extremely well in challenging conditions. They completed their mountain bike leg in the morning and were enthused to be able to transition to their solo. Traditionally the solo experience is part of every Outward Bound experience as it allows people the opportunity to reflect inwards away from distractions. With 24 hours by themselves to reflect and rejuvenate, each member will be able to head into the final half of the adventure with renewed vigour.
Waking up alone by themselves surrounded by bushland each member spent the morning enjoying the last part of their solo. Returning to the team they enjoyed catching up and sharing their experience.
The team is in very high spirits after coming off solo and they were met with a double rainbow! They sat and shared stories of their experience even in the midst of a thunderstorm.
Whilst the solo was a great experience everyone had to battle the horse flies and everyone had a different way of dealing with them. Rob named his horsefly Sarah and defended her from the other flies and AJ saw how far she could hit them with a trowel. There was also some unique bivvouac (bivvy) building techniques using the plastic sheet they were given. This included Adam using his head as the centre pole for his bivvy and Owen decided to sleep next to his rather than under it. Josh made his bivvy vertical rather than horizontal (we’re not convinced of the effectiveness of this!).
Their solo finished with a chocolate cake celebrating the upcoming birthdays of some of the team members. They now head to the abseil site today where they’ll also have to build a raft to cross the river. Today is the first day of their big off-track expedition and spirits are high and they are feeling well-prepared for it. It’s humid and there are thunderstorms lurking around but that’s what being in nature is all about!
The team had an early start at 5am as they had to stay at their solo campsite to shelter from the storm. They set a good hiking pace and arrived at Toolum Creek by 9am. There was a steep cliff which they had to abseil down into a canoe to get across to the other side. With a spirit of adventure they all about conquered their fears and made it safely down the abseil and into the canoe. However, AJ and Liamski managed to capsize the canoe at one point! Unfortunately not all went to plan and there were a couple of wet abseilers!
The team then paddled in the canoe to the other side. Adam swam the canoe back for future adventurers in his socks and jocks so no-one else would have to get wet. What a guy!
With the humidity extremely high (feeling like 100%) they continued their epic expedition. The hike was hard and hot and felt like an endless uphill battle but they got into camp by 5pm with Liam and Owen navigating. The group is now getting more and more independent with the instructors stepping back and Owen led the groups’ debrief of the day. The team are definitely showing real grit and determination. This is complimented with a sense of fun and embracing whatever is thrown at them. They have even started an a capella singing group and apparently hum some tunes as they put out the fire. What a great effort.
This team of adventurers have been hiking the past two days covering some good distances. The team have been managing their time well which has even enabled them to cool off with a swim on one of the afternoons. Kev and Jennie the instructors have been impressed with the amount of leadership opportunities everyone has embraced. This practical leadership experience has also been complimented with sessions on leadership styles.
To create some variety to their normal hiking routine the team decided to walk in pairs to get to know each other better. This has been a great opportunity for them to take their minds off complaining legs. Team members did however cause one team member Josh considerable but brief pain by helping him remove the strapping support from around his ankles. He is doing well but will definitely not get any leg waxing done in the near future.
Due to the lack of river flow the team have had to get into their canoes in downriver than originally intended. As they set off on the next leg of their adventure they will enjoy learning some new skills including river morphology and canoe rescues.
It has been a fun and eventful day with Eli and Mairig capsizing their canoe (with the team helping to rescue them from the water). Also, Rob and Owen showed off some new skills and went down a rapid backwards. Their skill levels in the outdoors have increased and they were able to put this into practice with a wilderness first aid scenario based.
The team had a great day on the water in the heat – everyone is sporting a shoe-to-pants tan and a hand tan. Arriving at camp they excitedly cheered when they received a replenishment of staminade powder to handle the effects of the heat. The cooks showed off their culinary skills by creating a magnificent curry for dinner. AJ shook a container of cream for an hour in an attempt to make whipped cream for dinner not quite as successfully as expected. The effort was appreciated though!
One of the best things about Outward Bound is the connection between team members. Around their nightly fire each person had the opportunity to affirm their team mates. Compassion, as our founder Kurt Hahn always highlighted, is the highest ideal. Moments such as last night reaffirmed the uniqueness of each individual. A moment to highlight that each person is important, cared-for, loved and their efforts appreciated. United as one the team started their traditional a capella sing and dance around the fire. So we leave the team for the day next to the river under the stars…
“The experience of helping a fellow man in danger, or even of training in a realistic manner to be ready to give this help, tends to change the balance of power in a youth’s inner life with the result that compassion can become the master motive.”
— Kurt Hahn
Canoeing day! The team have had a fun and adventurous journey on the Clarence River. They had multiple rapids to practice their paddling skills. Stopping off at Jump Rock for a break AJ and Liamski tested their mettle by jumping the 3m into the deep pool. The team also decided to swap canoe partners and this allowed them all an opportunity to captain and guide a boat. With determination they arrived at their pull-out in good time which allowed for an afternoon siesta – happy days!
Refreshed, they started to prepare their dinner which was a scrumptious bushcook. All hands were needed on deck for this one. Liam used his deli experience to take charge of cooking the roast; Tylah rolled damper for everyone; Zarica and Mairig cut all the veggies up; Liamski and Adam broke records for firewood collection; Owen, Rob and Josh learnt how to light a fire with little more than a tampon, flint & steel; and AJ was promoted to ‘camp mum’ for her caring nature and rapport with everyone. After feasting it was time for celebrations which included massage trains, push-up and handstand competitions, and fire-spinning from our logistics team member Simon were all on show (sounds like they had a lot of energy!).
The team has arrived back at basecamp. It has been an extremely hot day but there are still smiles on their faces. A few last challenges including the pamper pine. Leaping from a platform high in the end their stomach’s will drop until they feel the harness catch their weight. What a rush! They will be also celebrating with a big dinner called Bushcook.
Final day! What an adventure. This team have faced extreme temperatures, low river levels but have completed so much. Hiked up Wollumbin, paddled, abseiled and rose to all the challenges. They have really rose to the challenge of this expedition and have showed great spirit and determination!
Today is a day of celebration. They have an optional final run due to the heat and then are heading to the beach! We wish them well on their next adventures and congratulate them on their achievements! Well done team!
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