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Duke of Ed adventures at The Castle

On Thursday 11 May Mr Clarke, Mrs Edwards, Lachlan White, Ryan Davie and myself (Elizabeth Curline), set out on our silver duke of Ed hike, The Castle.

Excited as we were we all piled into Mrs Edwards’ small car chattering away. After a one and a half hour drive we arrived at the track where we used our last part of civilization, which we thought we would be deprived of for the next three days, the toilet. We heaved our heavy packs onto our backs and started our walk. After the first 150 meters we came to a river crossing. Not many of us had brought a spare pair of shoes with us so we placed stepping stones down with the expense of Mr Clarke’s and one of my shoes getting wet. The next 2.5 km was a gradual ascent where we stopped for morning tea or should I say recess.

The next 5 km was a steep ascent with 600 meters in altitude to climb. It was a challenge keeping up with the boys because who wants to be the only one walking with your math’s and science teacher? No thank you. We stopped for lunch at a place called scroggin cave (named by the famous Mr Clarke himself) around 5 km into the walk where we waited for the teachers to catch up all the while enjoying the view of God’s amazing creation.

The last 500 meters to our campsite (Cooyoyo creek) was a steep decline. Along the way we kept our eyes peeled for firewood, collecting any we came across. When we finally arrived at the campsite we were overjoyed (well maybe just Mrs Edwards and myself) to find it actually had a toilet, it was a pit toilet but that was better than nothing.

We set up camp and went in search of water. No sooner had we got back forty year ten students from a school in Canberra turned up with a few teachers, we had not seen anyone all day. It was a bit of a surprise and was happy to find out it was there second night so they would be quiet and going to bed early compared to there last night.

We had dinner at 5:30. The wind was so awfully; cold I went to bed at 7:30 only to be woken up at some unspeakable time in the morning by Mr Clarke snoring.

The next day I woke up at 6am, walked to a lookout near by and watched the sunrise. It was beautiful. The school that was camping nearby was of to an early start; they left a ten-past seven, leaving the whole campsite to us. We had breakfast and set of with daypacks leaving our packs, tents and everything we could go without at our Cooyoyo creek. We walked through the Monolith valley to Mt Own. We had a hard time navigating but we got there eventually. We stopped for lunch at Mt Owen enjoying the view.

After lunch descended Mt Owen and found we had strayed from the path bringing us to a place that I thought looked like a scene from the Hobbit. Once we corrected our path we walked to a place named Seven Gods Pinnacle which was less spectacular as it sounds. The walk to the Seven God Pinnacle on the other hand was spectacular; there was a natural rock arch and a room made out of rocks covered in moss correctly named the Green Room. From the seven Gods pinnacle we walked back through the Monolith valley to Cooyoyo creek.

By the time we reached our campsite it was around 4 o’clock and there wasn’t much daylight left due to the hills and mountains towering above us. Lachy and Ryan went down to the creek to collect more water while I hurriedly moved my tent far away from Mr Clarke’s so I would not be woken up to him snoring again. We took the other the firewood that the other school had left behind (because who wants to go looking for fire, when you can take someone else’s).

After dinner I went to bed at seven o’clock. The wind was worse than the night before and the temperature was a total of 1 degree over night.

On the second morning I woke up at six o’clock to watch the sun rise again, not that I had a choice because I had already slept for eleven hours and wasn’t going to sleep any more, it was either a sunrise or the top of my tent.

We hurriedly packed our things away while having breakfast and set off. After climbing out of Cooyoyo creek we made the decision to drop our packs and summit the Castle. We walked up and up and up for a good 45 minutes where we came to a sharp, rock, ledge. After looking at it and Mr Clarke attempting to cross it, we (the teachers) decided it was to dangerous to cross so we turned back.

After passing 2 strangers that promised they didn’t steal anything from our pack and walking down A LOT we reached our packs. Thankfully they were still there. We descended 200 meters across 1.5 km, stopped for morning tea and waited a very long time for the teachers. We walked another 3km where we stopped and waited even longer for the teachers.

After lunch we walked for 2 and a half hours. We reached the creak 150 meters from the cars, had a snack and while waiting for the teachers, placed more stepping stones across it with a small expense of Ryan getting both feet wet, (only small because it wasn’t my feet this time). After crossing the creek we walked (almost ran) to the cars where we had lunch and piled into Mrs Edwards’s car and began the 1 and a half journey home. This time the car was louder with excitement than it was those three days ago. We were going home.

By the way, in case you were wondering we ALL arrived home safely, had showers, hot dinners and slept for 20 hours.

By Elizabeth Curline