Students Explore the Outdoors

Each year, our students have opportunities to go out into the great outdoors, with activities from scuba-diving to skiing. The annual outdoor education trips offer great opportunities for leadership, as the Grade 12 students spend their time acting as guides on these excursions. Below, Grade 11 student Anita Chow talks about her trip and Grade 12 student Marc Van Der Wal recalls the hiking trip he led.

by Anita Chow, Grade 11 participant

The Environmental Services outdoor education trip this year was a great experience to learn about sustainability and the local environment. During the first couple days of the trip, our group of 13 people stayed at the Eco-Village in Shawnigan Lake and did a variety of different jobs on the farm, which included activities like picking vegetables, shovelling manure, seeding, and terracing. Other than farming, a big project that was under construction at the Eco-Village was the clay houses, which were being made for future residents. For a day, our group helped build part of a wall for it. The most influential idea that we gained from living at Eco-Village was how to be energy efficient and how to use every resource as much as possible, by re-using things like rain water, compost or even human manure.

The last days of the trip after the Eco-Village, our group went on day trips around Victoria. The first was a tour of downtown Victoria, where we visited local Victoria organizations that are also being energy efficient and keeping their sustainability. The last day of the trip, we went to Beacon Hill Park and picked up trash that was left by others at the beach and park areas. Though it was very hard work some days of the trip, everyone in the group worked together and got things done.

by Marc Van Der Wal, Grade 12 leader on summit trip

At 7:30 am, 10 Grade 11 boys, myself, another Grade 12 leader, a SMUS teacher, and a guide filled a classroom in the outdoor education complex at derby. Together, we packed away all the group gear into our now 40-50 pound backpacks and got on the bus. Three and a half hours later, we arrived at forbidden plateau where the other group, Summit School ‘A’ team, started their trek. Summit School ‘B’ team was forced to wait a little longer until they arrived at their starting point at Mt. Washington’s Raven Lodge around 1:30pm.

We hiked 10km on the first day and made camp at Circlet Lake. The next day, we went for the summit of Mount Albert Edward. After hiking continuously for four hours, through a blizzard and half a foot of snow, and getting lost a couple of times, we made our way down to camp and had an early night. It was a 12km hike to the next camp, and we made it there in 5 hours. On the fourth day, we woke up, after a very cold night, to frost everywhere. Deciding we had sufficient time to summit another peak, we hiked for 4km and set up camp at Slingshot Meadows before summiting Mount Becher.
This time there were clear skies allowing for a spectacular view, even Mt. Albert Edward was visible.

That night, we went to bed early and woke up late finishing off the day with a quick 7km hike to Forbidden Plateau. On the way back, the group stopped at a mall and ate as much food as possible. At around 4 o’clock we returned to SMUS, unpacked all the group gear, and went home.


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