“We can do it, we’re Woodford girls!” we all kept telling ourselves as we felt like we swam in our shoes. It was the first day of our Year 9 camp and the weather was not on our side. We were in for a challenge. The camp was held in Ahuriri and our first strenuous, but rewarding activity, was orienteering. Starting at Pandora Pond, the race involved having one hour to reach as many of the 60 challenge destinations as possible, finishing on the other side of Bluff Hill. Ten points were deducted for every minute over time. We were all divided into teams of four and given a map marking the destination points.
The first question we tried to tackle was to find a specific power pole, number 1576. We raced around trying not to give away tactics or clues to the other teams. We felt very odd running around Ahuriri, frantically like headless chickens. Power pole after power pole, we could not seem to find the right one, it was as if we had some sort of repellent on us. Time seemed to be slipping away as we ran equally as fast through the streets of Ahuriri. It also didn’t help that it was raining cats and dogs. Although it did put a damper on things, we were determined.
We completed a few of the challenges along the way to tackling the first major challenge that Gap Student Fran Bell was looking after. After completing this first bonus point game we were really racing against the clock.
There were still another two major challenges left, but we had to make the crucial decision to just make a run for it to the finish line. We had eight minutes left and, between us and the finish line, stood a massive hill. We decided that this was going to be the quickest way though. We set off running at a relatively quick pace, thinking – this will surely be the steepest part – but we were wrong.
The hill seemed to go on forever until we finally heard the unmissable noise of other Woodford House girls. We were almost there. We made a desperate sprint for the finish line. We dreaded looking at our watches as we were all anxious that it would tell us bad news. As we approached the finish line we heard the words, “You are the third team in, go into the red tent and form the puzzle to complete the challenge.”
We frantically completed the challenge and were so relieved we had finished the race. We stepped out of the tent and raised our heads to see the daunting sight of the cliff we were about to abseil down.
Georgia Russell, Year 9