Australian Alps Navigator January 2017 | Youth Development Program
Welcome to the Blog for our Australian Alps Navigator program. Follow along as these young adults undertake a challenging and inspiring journey through the Australian bush. Here you will find updates from the program including a written account of each day’s events as well as photos. You can expect the written portion to be quite up-to-date, photos may take a day or two as they are a little harder to get out of the bush! Please join in and leave your comments – we’d love to hear from you! Stay tuned for the first post!
Whilst still waiting for the final member of the team to arrive the young Navigators are all smiles as they get to know each other and learn more about the exciting challenges ahead. The team will spend the day and night here at our National base getting to know each and testing themselves on the High Ropes before heading out into the wondrous Namadgi National Park. Stay tuned for more updates and we’d love to hear your comments.
There is nothing better to bring people together than to have them helping each other on the high ropes course. Today has been a great opportunity for participants challenge to themselves and expand their comfort zones. They have shared that since the start of the program they have been learning to set up camp and work together to achieve the many tasks and challenges. They have even learnt a few things about effective communication in the process. Their instructors Jed and Alice share that already they are proving themselves as a team by completing the CUBE challenge in a speedy 22 seconds – even beating their own time by half in the process. The team is forming well with friendships already beginning.
Update on Day 2
All of the team felt proud to complete the ropes course and felt like it was a big accomplishment. The big learning for the team today was that for everyone to be successful they needed to work together and support each other. It’s great top see these young adults really having a go and we hope you like the picture from our Drone!! Stay tuned as Day 3 update is coming right up!!
Today the team had their first introduction to Navigation. Using compasses and maps they check-pointed from camp down to a beautiful section of the Murrumbidgee River for a cool down. They worked together as a team to communicate and build a raft. Unfortunately their raft did break apart on its maiden voyage but this may have been planned with the hot weather so everyone could get wet again!! They enjoyed the recreational swim in the river in the hot part of the day before hiking to camp and enjoying a delicious bush cooked meal and hot chocolate. They had a good view of Mount Tennent from their camp. Tomorrow will see them going up and over this big mountain and they took the time over hot chocolate to to come up with a plan of how they would overcome this big challenge. The instructors report that the the team are starting to really communicate well in their debriefs and are excited to hike with them over Mt Tennent.
Thanks for your patience and I know you are waiting in anticipation for the next blog but the carrier pigeons have been waylaid and we’re still awaiting photos and written correspondence to come back from the team. I can say though that reports via radio have been really good and the young adults have spent the last 12 hours on their overnight solo – a chance for them to reflect and recuperate. I expect photos to come through to me late this afternoon. Stay tuned!!
Finally! After hiking over Mt Tennent the team continued travelling south climbing up and up to Honeysuckle Ridge. They were excited as on Day 7 they had the opportunity to visit Lego land. Lego land is aptly named as Giant granite boulders fit together like pieces of Lego arching up to the sky on the edge of the ridge. Below to the south, the ground drops away 400m to the valley below. The team donned helmets and went exploring through the cracks and crevices and were amazed by the view from Pride Rock.Following this they journeyed along the ridge to have a go at abseiling. Camp was down in the valley so the team challenged themselves to head down a steep spur through dense forest making it to the valley floor by 6pm. However, another 4km of hiking top camp meant that the team had to dig deep and help each other. Even having to finish off the walk with their head torched on along the 4wd access track. Instructors Jed and Alice pitched in to cook up the young adults a dinner and everyone was relieved to make bed but also exhilarated at what they had achieved.
After such a big day, the group was ready for some rest and luckily today was solo day. Solo is an integral part of Outward Bound programs where participants get the chance to spend time alone reflecting on their own journey and setting themselves some goals. Instructors place participants in specific areas with basic food, shelter and water and whilst regularly checking them won’t interact unnecessarily for the 24hrs. Participants generally will write themselves a letter which will be posted to them in 6 months time. One participant wrote: “Most people were looking forward to having some time to reflect on the trip and everyone enjoyed the break from hiking and getting creative when constructing their bivvies (shelters). It was very relaxing!” Instructor Alice says that the participants made each other some little bush gifts or read out poems that they had written after the solo. The team was very happy to see each other again.
Keep checking in as the team gets ready for their final expedition!!
A few more carrier pigeons arrived in this morning with some older blogs written by the participants. Let’s travel back in time to get more of an insight to what has been happening….
Mt Tennant – Day 4 – the team woke up at 4am to get an early start before the heat. One young adult wrote: ” We made summit in good time and all made it to the top to see the view over Canberra and the rolling hills…some of us found Mt Tennent a physical challenge and others felt it was more mental. We were all proud and relieved to reach the top. Everyone motivated one another…we learnt that we are capable of so much more than we think and that there was no way we could have succeeded without supporting, encouraging and motivating one another”
This team should be so proud of themselves as we enter the final stages of the program. After completing solo and feeling a little refreshed, the team planned for their final expedition down to Yankee Hat. The expedition would take them over another ridgeline, through untracked scrub to Yankee Hat plains. Yankee Hat is one of the surrounding mountains that has wonderful examples of Aboriginal art work on a boulder at its foot. With the skills that they had learnt over the past 8 days, participants were now expected to lead themselves with the instructors Jed and Alice taking a back seat role maintaining a safe eye on them. The team pushed hard with early starts to avoid the heat and made Yankee Hat plains today by mid afternoon. They return to a National Base for their final challenge….The Giant Swing.
Congratulations Navigators on finishing such an epic adventure. You should be proud of yourselves! Here are some last photos.