An Exam Free Week - Grade 8 Camping

Friday, June 29, 2018 - By: Santiago EF & Caiden T, ‘22

Instead of sitting in a desk and writing exams for the last week of school, the Grade 8 class had the privilege of being able to camp at the Horseshoe Bend group campsite. This camping trip was action packed and bonded the class in ways that would never have happened if we’d been sitting in school desks.

When we first arrived at camp, everyone was dreading the 8 kilometer hike which turned out to be exhausting yet fun. After the hike, our class settled in the campsite, set up our tents, and just hung out for about an hour or two. A few of my classmates and I insisted that we swim in the magnificently crystal-clear waters of the nearby Cowichan river. The water was just the right temperature on a scorching hot day. 

When we arrived at the river bed it was a utopia. The sun was shining, everyone had a smile on their face, and the water looked beautiful. To determine who got in the water first, the boys played a match of rock paper scissors. When it came down to it, only a couple of us actually wanted to go in at that moment. I was kindly ‘voluntold’ by the others to be the first one in the water. Once I got in, another classmate jumped in, and then another ... then, in milliseconds, everyone was splashing around with beaming smiles that seemed to be glued onto our faces. Everyone was swimming, talking, telling jokes, and doing what Grade 8s do the best: have a good time. Time flew by in what seemed to be 30 minutes; it was actually two hours.

When we got back to the campsite, we broke into groups to produce an exquisite dinner. Kai and I cut open the packages of meat, and others helped to cut the veggies and cook the potatoes. After dinner, the class played a game of Capture the Flag and other group activities. At 7 o'clock it was campfire time. We roasted marshmallows and talked about the day. Once again, time flew, and it was time to sleep. We all went to bed and got a good night’s sleep in preparation for the 40-kilometer bike ride the following day.

On the second day, after we woke up and ate breakfast, we wasted no time to start our biking trip. After everyone had gotten their bikes set up and ready, we started our trek to get back to campus. We made a lot of stops along the way but made sure to space them out. After just a couple minutes, it was apparent that this would take a lot of effort. A few minutes in, we had made our way to a forest with a sad looking environment. This was almost immediately followed by a very muddy path that caused a few minor injuries and forced someone to pop a tire back on their bike.

About 30 minutes into the ride, people could be seen getting tired. But no matter what, we would endure, and complete it, even though the price to pay would be our sweat and tears. We hustled to get back because we all wanted to go home and shower, because of how dirty the camping, as well as the biking, had made us.

At about 11, we stopped to get some food. We all sat down and opened out lunches that we had packed that morning. After we ate, a few of us went to the playground. After a couple of minutes, we concluded that we would start biking again, knowing we were only a third of the way done.

We biked for about another hour before stopping for lunch, which we all needed to keep us going. Lunch was at the Kinsol Trestle and a few of us went up and took pictures. After about twenty-five minutes of eating, we got back on the road, this time knowing that the next big stop would be the final destination. We biked along the Kinsol Trestle and kept on trails until we got to a place most of us recognized, Shawnigan Lake. At that point in the ride, we knew we were close to home, and this motivation and drive kept us going strong until the final moments.

We passed Kerry Park and kept on until we had gotten to Frances Kelsey Secondary School and continued on a back path that led us to the top of the road we all know as ‘uptown’. We drifted along the side of the road, until we got back to the school. Knowing we were done with the forty-kilometer bike ride left us all exhilarated. After the bike, we hung up all the tents and then took our own time to settle back in. I know that this experience was well worth it, and I can say it was fun to do.

Santiago EF & Caiden T, ‘22

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