The Long Walk

 

Our Year 9 students went on a walk to One Tree Hill as part of their EOTC week. With the Year 10s away at camp, the Year 9s had a week full of fun activities planned by Mr Williamson and other members of staff. Initially Wednesday had been assigned as the Volcanic Walk but due to the unfortunate weather it was swapped with Thursday’s English activity.

On Thursday, November 22, the 150 Year 9 students were taken by bus to Mt Eden. The journey was memorable for those classes whose bus broke down. “It just stopped” was how one of the students described the incident. Another bus had a funny encounter with some pedestrians, through a game of sweet and sour where the students were waving to passersby in their cars, or walking. Each student spent the journey in their own way.

Once they arrived, all the classes moved into their friendship groups and began the walk. After a short but steep few hundredmetres everyone was tired. The first sight to be seen was the crater, a large deep hole-like landmark, but covered with grass. It seemed to be quite popular, considering the amount of tourists also walking to see Mt Eden.

This was quickly followed by a stop at a viewing point. All the Year 9s took a short break here, for a quick photo session. Every group of friends took at least 5 selfies. After all the pictures were taken, they resumed the walk to the next viewing point, overseeing the city, and also giving a clear view of our destination, One Tree Hill. This same sight was shared by the next viewing point, where sunblock was reapplied and umbrellas were taken out, due to the confusing weather.

If it was pouring for half of the walk, the sun was shining and burning our skin for the other half. That’s just New Zealand weather for you though. This was the situation Year 9s had to deal with for the long 5km trek to One Tree Hill. But this tiring walk, was shortened, or at least felt shorter with friends around. Some people were singing along to the music playing on the speakers. Others chatting about whatever they found interesting, and some just concentrating on the task at hand.

When it was time for a snack everyone sat down at Alexandra Park, and enjoyed the rest.

Before you know it, they arrived at their destination. After crossing the boundary, they arrived one half at a time, as the second group got stuck behind the cross/don’t cross signal. Once everyone had gathered together, they continued on the long hike up One Tree Hill.

Once they had reached about halfway, and everyone’s calves had had enough, it came time for an important decision. The tired students had found a shortcut to reach the top quicker, but this was not a marked walking area. Mrs Judd, being the teacher in charge, decided that if any teacher wanted to go through the shorter, but steeper, route, it was possible. Once everyone’s final choice was made, more than half of the students chose to leave the original path. Those who kept to the longer route, were also given another choice a little while up the hill, they could either, cut half of the walk, which is also the steepest part, and sit or play by the observatory or continue on to the top of One Tree Hill. Once again, half and half parted ways. Those that went down, just played at the park and playground enjoying their free time, while waiting for everyone else. The students that walked up the hill, suffered pain in their legs while climbing or crawling up the extremely steep road. Finally they reached the top, and again took pictures from the viewing point, this time giving a clearer view of the city with the occasional tree blocking some buildings.

Then was the final and most anticipated part of the day, Lunch! Taking up almost the whole park, the Year 9 students were definitely the largest group there. One group of students were playing frisbee, another on the flying fox, some on the train meant for children, while others were on the swings or the playground. With the exception of those eating, and the one table of friends who went to extreme measures for lunch and brought a portable stove, complete with apron and gloves and set to cooking their own food. A lunch just like that was exactly what the students needed, something to fill them up and rejuvenate their lost energy. Also an opportunity to have fun and enjoy the time away from school work. One last highlight of this walk would have to be all the different dogs they got to see and adore along the route.

Jenny Joseph