Rock climbing, caving, kayaking, tenting – and rain… Lots of rain. Shawnigan’s annual Grade 8 camping trip to Horne Lake Cave Park was an unexpected exercise in perseverance and fortitude.
From exploring Horne Lake’s shadowy caves by headlamp, to cliff rappelling, to lake kayaking (led by alumnus, Ethan Milne (Lake’s) ‘18), 50 Grade 8 students were challenged to push beyond their comfort zones, while faced with unseasonable, persistent rain.
Dampened shoes toasted over an open fire. But dampened spirits weren’t an option, thanks to eight amazing Grade 12s: Georgia H., Will M., Dario S., Kathleen H., Hallie B., Owen B., Lauryn L., and Rhys J. These senior students kept spirits up with their positive energy and dedication to ensuring a wonderful time. Campers were also lucky to be joined by three GAP students – Dominic O’Sullivan, Louis Meyer, and Fionnuala Morris – who kept things lively.
Campers’ favourite moments? A lights-out in the spooky caves, looking up at where the ocean floor used to be, “piano keys” kayaking games, and late-night campfire stories, where students regaled their peers with tales of terror and mystery.
Mrs. Hutchins supervised ably on the EDGE program experience, and Mr. McDaniel was instrumental in keeping tents dry. More than 60 bellies were kept warm and full of breakfast burritos, hamburgers, chicken fajitas and gooey grilled cheese sandwiches, thanks to tent-guy/camp cook extraordinaire, Mr. McDaniel. A Saturday visit from Mr. Clinton-Baker and Mr. Mayes was an unexpected bonus!
The prospect of a warm shower and dry shoes reassured sleepy campers on their way back to Shawnigan in time for Saturday lunch.
Over two wet, exhilarating days, new friendships were forged, and it’s safe to say the Grade 8s have bonded as a class.
Did you know?
Students learned the difference between troglobites (creatures that live a permanent life in a cave) and troglophiles (species living mainly above ground, but also in subterranean habitats)!
*Special thanks to Mrs. Hutchins for sharing this story.