It’s taken a few days for this blog to arrive but our Spring Snowy River Navigator crew is well under away! After being collected from Bairnsdale Railway Station, they immediately entered the wonderful wilderness of the Snowy River region. One of their first challenges was the Giant Ladder. This is a rope challenge involving pairs working together to climb a vertical swinging ladder. What a great way to begin a program! Participants will be relying so much on each other over the next 12 days, it’s important to develop trust and confidence with each other early on. Needless to say the group is getting to know each other fast and getting used to expeditionary living!
Continuing on the roping theme, today was all about rock climbing and abseiling. This certainly stretched the group with most stepping right out of their comfort zones … and down a 25-30m rock face! Although tricky in hiking boots, rock climbing was a huge success, especially the satisfaction of reaching the top of the cliff. The group relied a lot on the encouragement of each other. This will without doubt set them up for a great journey ahead.
This group is forming together nicely with several members happy to share their prior bush camping knowledge. With the weather a bit chilly, it’s been a good opportunity for people to be involved in cooking over the campfire as a smart way to keep warm! Members are starting to step up to leadership roles and today will be their first big group challenge, with their first expedition beginning.
“All food is better cooked…except ice cream.” Deep thoughts and profound conversation has been one of many features on the first days of expedition. The group is in high spirits even though they have been challenged physically over the hike dubbed ‘the lightside’. The crew was nervous stepping up to the navigation required to get to camp but the guys persevered and had a successful and positive journey. One of the biggest learnings the guys have had is not only looking after themselves but also caring for the others in their group. It’s upwards and onwards with these guys as the group is constantly improving not only their self-awareness but group awareness as well.
Last night and this morning saw the crew venture underground into Sloocoombes cave. It was a muddy and nerve racking affair involving an abseil into the ground then a lot of small chambers and tight squeezes. Comfort zones were stretched but laughter and good times prevailed. After a big two days everyone is looking forward to getting into the solo activity and enjoying some well earned rest and reflection. Once the instructors ensured everyone was safe, the participants spent the night out alone in the bush.
Today was a quiet day spent reflecting in the wilderness. At about midday the group came back together after their individual experience. The group had a good chat about the journey so far, sharing special and personal feedback which everyone appreciated. Instructors feel the team is now stronger than ever and the crew have learnt to value and use each others strengths to benefit everybody (even if that is taking the instructors hot chocolate). Everybody is excited and ready to face the next few days of white water rafting.
Today saw the first proper day of rafting on the mighty and iconic Snowy River. Energy was high though feet were cold as the group tackled the rapids and majesty that the river presents. Whilst having fun the group is also learning heaps about themselves but especially about leadership. Everyone has had the chance to lead the group for a day at this stage and experiment with different leadership styles. Many have found new confidence within themselves and in front of others as a result of this experience. Instructors are impressed with the quality and enthusiasm that team members have approached the challenge of leading with, and are confident in the group’s ability to perform over the final days of rafting and their final expedition.
After the surviving the wild rapids of Submarine, Stone Henge and Three Sisters the river has calmed down. But not our adventurous crew, they have been putting in a massive day to finish off the river and got off at a playful sandy beach called Long Point. It hasn’t all been splash and giggles as the gang has been getting those maps and compasses out to learn how to plan for their final expedition. Not to mention getting their raft guiding skills up to scratch so they can make it to the start of the hike in the first place. The team has come in leaps and bounds in terms of comradery learning how to deal effectively with group conflict. Some are feeling nervous about the upcoming journey, but most are looking forward to facing their last and possibly biggest challenge.
The team had an early start to get a jump on their final expedition. They were packed down, amped up, heading out and making their way to Stringers Knob in the Tara Range National Park. Emotions were mixed but spirits were high as the guys bush bashed their way up and down hills, around obstacles and over fallen logs. Upon reflection the group has been starting to see the impact of positive attitudes and values on themselves and the group around them, attributing much of their success to this mindset. Instructors have felt that the group has learnt this and they are consistently finding ways to stay positive and foster a healthy outlook. The guys are relishing the opportunity tomorrow to give it one last push and put this expedition in the bag.
These last two days of expedition is where everything the crew has learnt over the last ten days needs to come together. Day 10 saw them get up on top of Mount Tara where they spent the night. The next day they made their way back towards the Snowy River to a place called Buchan River Junction, where their last campsite and a delicious meal awaited them. The guys did marvellously to get to all there check points and reached final destination successfully. They were stoked with themselves and their effort all up covering about 99 km’s of distance in a twelve day period. Not many thought it was possible and all agreed they are much stronger people having completed the course. Everyone decided that pushing yourself to reach your goals is worth it, even though at times it’s tough.
The last day saw the guys doing a service for Outward Bound by helping clean and store the gear. Afterwards it was time to jump into the bus and head to Buchan for a much deserved shower. Here they said goodbye to their brilliant instructors and it was off to Bairnsdale. Emotions were high as the crew said their final goodbyes with promises of catching up in the future. Parents arrived one by one to the happy shouts and hugs of their kids and the guys, one by one, left spelling an end to the course for spring 2015.
Outward Bound Australia would like to thank all of the participants on the Snowy River Spring Navigator 2015! Don’t forget you can let everyone know what you have been up to by sharing this blog on your Facebook & Twitter accounts.
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