By: F. Sarkis (F4)
At the beginning of this term, many Form 4 pupils signed up to take part on Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. Therefore, there are, as usual, two expeditions with two different groups: A and B. On the 6th of November, Group B returned to Sao Paulo, after a week-end of climbing mountains, finalizing this year's Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition for St. Paul’s School. Both expeditions took place in the same location: a mountain traverse between Pindamonhangaba (SP) and Campos do Jordão (SP), in the Mantiqueira Mountain Range.
Waking up Saturday morning, everyone was filled with anxiety to discover whether they would enjoy the following couple of days. The bus left school promptly at 10:30 am and had stopped at Frango Assado at 12:30 for lunch. We arrived at the Pousada, which we would be staying for until the following morning, at 15:00. There everyone learnt the basic skills needed to handle a Duke expedition including learning how to respect the environment, locate yourself on a map using a compass, build a tent, cook and pack your bag which is helpful for you during the trail.
Unfortunately, Group B had rough weather during the trip. In the first night, we camped out in the Pousada's garden, and faced a thin rain with plenty of lightning. Every morning we had to wake up at 6am. As we woke we got ready to leave the Pousada, the buses arrived to take everyone to the beginning of the trail. By 10:30 am, everyone had already commenced the trail to reach the campsite at the top of the mountain. Heading out, I thought the trail would be much calmer than it was, however, to my surprise it had various obstacles including some trouble to locate ourselves on the map and find the right direction to walk.
After 4 hours of walking, with a few breaks for lunch and resting, everyone managed to reach the campsite. There, we set our tents, had some time to relax and began to cook our dinner. That night, the rain didn’t stop for a minute making it hard to sleep.
In the next morning, we once again woke up at 6am and began the trail once more. Despite the first day of the trail being mostly steep hills, the second day was narrower and more slippery as consequence of the rain. This part was also longer, meaning it took us more time to reach the buses which waited for us at the end of the route. The bus took us to our first descent meal in two days, and, after that, we went straight to São Paulo arriving at school at 7:40pm.
This was the first experience of Duke of Edinburgh for everyone in Form 4, and, looking forward, there is the qualifying bronze trip and the Silver and Gold award (which will most definitely be more challenging). Although it was an exhausting trip, the Duke bronze practice expedition was all worthwhile and beyond any doubt is a good experience.