Canowindra High School students William Wright, Julia Stanley and Hamish Gregson recently completed a four-day hike within Kosciusko National Park.
The students, who are commencing their final year of study at Canowindra High School, completed the hike as part of their participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
On day one, they arrived in Thredbo at lunch time and caught the chairlift to Eagles Nest.
After hearing whispers of impending storms, they decided to monitor the radar and wait a while at Eagles Nest to see what eventuated.
After thunder, lightning and winds up to 122kph intimidated the group, they scurried back down the hill and set up camp for the night on lower ground at Ngarigo Camping Ground which is located between Thredbo and Jindabyne.
With the promise of more bad weather, Will, Julia and Hamish woke early on day two to reassess their plan.
Escorted by Andrew Phelan and Janeen Coutanche, they decided to complete an out and back hike from Dead Horse Gap to Cascade Hut along the Cascade Trail.
Hiking along the Thredbo River the students were lucky enough to spot a couple of wild brumbies before climbing Bobs Ridge and then taking shelter at Cascade Hut to have some lunch.
Whilst at Cascade Hut they had an opportunity to swap stories with a man who was weeks into a 670km hike along the Australian Alps Walking Tracking, which starts in Walhalla (Victoria) and ends in Namadgi National Park (Australian Capital Territory).
On day three, the radar looked good so they caught the Kosciusko Express chairlift to Eagles Nest once again, walked along the steel walkway to Rawson Pass and then proceeded along the Summit Walk to Charlotte Pass.
Along the way the students stopped at Seamans Hut, an alpine hut and memorial built following the death of two skiers in 1928, to provide shelter for future users of the park. This was a truly humbling experience that gave them a new appreciation for the unpredictable and unforgivable nature of alpine weather in Kosciusko National Park.
After a short break in the hut, they continued the walk stopping briefly to fill their water bottles up from the famous Snowy River.
Mid-way through the days hike the students stopped to have lunch at Charlotte Pass, ready to tackle the next 12km to Wilkinsons Creek where they planned to camp for the night.
After a steep ascent to Blue Lake, and passing a number of tired hikers well above the tree line, the group started to doubt whether they would reach the campsite before dark.
They decided to press on, and after climbing Carruthers Peak, they got a second wind and charged to the campsite at Wilkinsons Creek, arriving just before dark.
In the morning, the student’s made their way to the highest peak of Australia, Mt Kosciusko, standing at a height of 2228m above sea level, and then returned to Thredbo before returning home to Canowindra.
Will, Julia and Hamish are to be congratulated on completing the Qualifying Adventurous Journey for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.