Duke of Edinburgh - Bushcraft Day Hike 2023

Monday, 22 May 2023

By Lior Mazer & Orlando Cherny (Year 8) 

On Friday 12 May, the Duke of Edinburgh Bushcraft Elective went on a day hike on the Mathias Track in the Dandenong Ranges. Our bus ride was an hour long and took us to Olinda in the Dandenong Ranges. When we arrived, we all gathered around and Mr Reid and Gary Brand discussed our hike and the rules we were to follow. They set up a system for a hike leader and tail-end-Charlie or as we called it “Tali and Charlie”. We then set off on our adventure. 

Mr Reid also explained a way that we could track the distance per 100 metres we were hiking by counting our paces. He also taught us an ingenious way of keeping our distance using rocks/stones which really blew my mind. In one hand we had ten stones symbolizing ten metres each and after we walked ten, we would put one of the stones into our pocket. After we walked for 100 metres and all the ten stones, symbolizing 10 metres, were in our pocket, we picked up another stone and put it on our other pocket. This rock symbolizes 100 metres, and once you have gotten that “100 metre stone” you take the other 10 out of your pocket and start again. 

To keep everybody together, Mr Reid gave us challenges to find out where objects were and what direction they were facing using a compass. Every 800 meters or so we would rotate leaders and tail-end-Charlie till we all had a go at it. We stopped quite regularly to make sure everyone was okay and if they needed a break or bite to eat. For lunch, we found a beautiful spot to eat and relax sitting on a big rock that overlooked the ranges.  

After lunch we had a competition to see who the most accurate in judging distance was by using the rock technique. We had to walk separately, approximately 20 metres apart, until we got back to the finish of our hike all whilst calculating the distance all by ourselves and some help using the rock’s technique. Gary used the GPS hiking app in his phone to determine the accurate distance. The winner of the competition was Zac Spinosa who was only 20 meters off the exact result! We hopped back on the bus and came back school. We were incredibly lucky to have a superb day with not a cloud in the sky. Overall, it was a tremendous day. Thank you to Mr Reid and Gary Brand for the opportunity.