I Survived the Bush!..Girraween National Park

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So the big date had finally came!…A little rewinding: One of my classes this semester was Outdoor Education. A class where I learned about teamwork, pushing myself to the limits, and also a huge improvement in my navigation skills ;). This class had two trips throughout the course. I signed up to do the 4 day 3 night bush walk. For 7 weeks my professor Steve prepared us for this experience. I learned how to use a compass, read a map and know its landmarks. As well as risk management and potential risks that could occur while on this trip: snakebite, hypothermia, lightning storm..the list goes on. This class also consisted of group trip planning: what we were going to have for each meal, the right clothing to bring, who was bringing what, ect. On this trip there were three different sections/groups that would be going. The first group set off April 28-May 4th. Their experience: good, cold, rainy, at times hard. Then came the 2nd group to go on this trip. Their experience: EXTREMELY COLD, WINDY, hard at times….What on earth had I signed myself up for?

Then finally came my trip. May 8th-11th. From everything I heard about the past trips, I was definitely preparing myself for rain, being cold, and for anything to happen. I literally was expecting the worse.

Then it came. Thursday morning I was up at 5am. We would be departing at 6am and had a 2 hour drive until we would be dropped off at Girraween National Park.

What can I say about this trip: It was a trip of a lifetime. There were good times,there were tough times, but with having such a supporting group we got ourselves through all the obstacles we came across.

I would first like to say I am proud of accomplishing this trip. For 4 days I had to carry a 50lb backpack, hiked 40 so kilometers, and did everything with having just “the bear essentials.” Oh and also going to the bathroom OUTSIDE freely in the woods. It definitely was an experience. But I would do it over again in a heartbeat, well maybe not in a heartbeat, but I would eventually do it again.

Getting dropped off!
Getting dropped off!

May 8th, 5am I’m waking up to get ready and hop on a bus for a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to Girraween National Park. We get dropped off, and split into our two groups. Mine was Nicole, Sunny, Marnie, Ashleigh, Jenna, and myself. We would being going clockwise on map route. The other group would be going counterclockwise. To make things fun we had to make group code names. Ours: Sunny’s Ladies. Everytime we hit one of our markers we would have to radio into “Papa Smurf” (professor wilderness man Steve) with our location and coordinates.

After getting our packs packed with last minute essentials and going over our route, we were on our way! Day one was a pretty easy day for my group. We only had to walk about 20-30 minutes and we were at our first campsite. This left us the rest of the day to go exploring. Steve met up with us after we radioed him in and he then met up with us. He took us on a side trip to Mount Norman and we went caving! Such a fun experience.

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We made it through the sphinx!
We made it through the sphinx!

Our second day would be a big one. We would be doing a lot of walking, and taking our first grid bearing. (Going off trail into the woods/bush and using our compass and magnetic bearing to get us back on our trail route). We did a little morning stretch, ate breakfast and packed up to get out day started. We stopped at a hidden creek, and theeen came the grid bearing….where we got lost..like really lost. Somewhere along the route we took a wrong turn and ended up following a stream instead of our actuall compass. After a few minutes standing there not knowing what to do, where to go, or where we were, we radiod in Papa Smurff. The woods were soo thick to be able to see anything or any landmarks. With some hints from steve we were eventually able to find our ways back on track. After a long day we ended up camping that night with the other group.

Dinnertime!
Dinnertime!

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Day 3: Day three was another long day, except we got to do more side trips which made it more fun. We camped by a stream, and right next to a mountain. We ended up taking a side trip up the mountain and got to do a little more caving. The views were AMAZING. So surreal, peaceful. There’s something about being on top of a mountain. Almost like your on top of the world, leaving your fears, stress, thoughts, all behind. Just enjoying the sound and feeling of the wind and looking out for miles on end. So peaceful. It was also mothers day weekend so some of us held a sign to show later to our mom’s.

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All I can say is those 4 days were some of the hardest challenges I have had to come across. Getting lost, being cold at night – yes Australia actually gets COLD! Like almost freezing. But my experience wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for my group. We had tough times, good times, but always motivated and pushed each other that we could get through whatever we had to do/ come across. I have learned more about myself and with everything I have overcome in this trip, I can do anything if I set my mind to it. We also lucked out with having AMAZING weather, besides the being cold at night- but I was prepared!

All bundled up!
All bundled up!

This is an experience I will never forget, and am so glad I took this course.

Steve! Papa Smurf
Steve! Papa Smurf

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Here’s a link to a video recap of our trip Marnie Made. Enjoy 🙂

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