By: G. Macedo
I was feeling a tiny bit nervous heading into this trip as I missed the practice that everyone had done and it was going to be my first Duke of Edinburgh experience.
The bus ride took a while, but, when we got there, all we wanted to do was get into bed. It wasn’t that easy though, as we had to waterproof our bags due to the rain and we all slept in this big room together, as the weather was not in our favor.
Well, I’m speaking for everyone in the trip when I say that we had a terrible night with the mosquitos biting us and sleeping on the hard concrete floor. At least we had something to look forward to which was the breakfast at the bakery. I was really looking forward to start the trail and get to the top of the mountain. I was in group 4 so by the time we headed out, five minutes into the trail, it had already started to rain. I wasn’t too angry because it was kind of refreshing.
It took ages to get to the first stop and, every time I asked my teammate where we were, it looked like we had barely walked. When we got to the first stop it was already pouring, the teachers had built a little bit of cover for us with a plastic sheet.
I knew I was in for a big ride when they said that this was just the beginning and we had long hours of walking ahead of us. The trail was all up hill and, because it was raining, there was a stream coming down where we were walking the whole time, which made things a lot slippier and muddier. We were nearly there when the lightning started and it was dangerous for us to keep going. The camp instructors once more put the plastic up for some cover and we all got changed in front of each other, because if we kept the cold and wet layers we had on we could have had hypothermia. Even after we got changed no one could stay still as they were trembling and cold. I was so cold that I couldn’t be bothered trying to find my bread to eat so I just ate Nutella with my spoon.
We waited about 45 min before we headed off, but when we got there everyone was relieved. But guess what, we still had to set up our tents in the rain.
We cooked some spaghetti for dinner but as soon as I stood up a girl accidently bumped into me and by the time I noticed I was holding my food it was already on the ground and all muddy. I shared some food with other groups and lasted the night.
It rained through the night and most of us had to walk in soaking boots. The last day didn’t rain at all but the ground was really slippery and muddy, so quite a few people fell which kept a smile on everyone’s face.
The trail never ended, and a lot of people, including myself, were getting blisters on their feet. We got lost quite a few times at the start and saw wild horses which was cool. The hike took a lot longer than expected as it was slippery and we couldn’t go fast. But when we got to the bus it was a relief for everyone; we drove to the pousada to get changed and have dinner, arriving in school at about 12:30 am.
The trip was literally a once in a life time experience because I don’t think the weather will ever be that bad for any group. I had a great time as I am new to the school and got to know everyone a lot better, but that was only the start for me as I still have to do the same trip once more in 2 weeks as my qualifier.