In the spirit of embracing the great outdoors and cultivating a sense of adventure, our Grade 9 Outdoor Education (OE) students embarked on a challenging journey through the trails of Silent Lake. This adventure was the culmination of a month-long preparation in their OE classes, where they honed their hiking skills and learned essential outdoor survival techniques.
Throughout the past month, our students delved into various practice hikes at different locations in the area, including Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park, Selwyn Conservation Area, John de Pencier Trail at Trent University, and our campus network of hiking and ski trails. During these excursions, the students gained invaluable knowledge about Leave No Trace principles
, proper attire, water purification, map orientation, and navigation skills. They also familiarized themselves with the AllTrails App
, an essential for modern-day adventurers.
Our OE teachers also highlighted the potential environmental hazards such as ticks and poison ivy, and they learned about the skills they needed to deal with complications, such as getting lost or separated from the group, and learning how to prevent and treat blisters, dehydration, and sunburn.
The Silent Lake hike served multiple purposes for our novice explorers. Not only did it allow them to engage in a variety of physical activities as part of their OE curriculum, but it also provided them with an opportunity to demonstrate responsibility for their safety and the safety of their peers during outdoor activities. Moreover, this hike served as a practice journey for their upcoming Spring Canoe Trip to Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park and a stepping stone towards achieving the internationally recognized Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. All Grade 9 students are enrolled in this award program, and their participation in activities like this hike contributes significantly to their Bronze-level achievements.
This year's Silent Lake hike presented a unique challenge, as students faced the elements with temperatures hovering around 4 degrees Celsius and snow covering the trails. Originally planned as a 5-kilometre hike and a 6-kilometre paddle, our teachers made the prudent decision to forgo the paddle component due to safety concerns. Instead, the class embraced the snowy landscape and trekked a total of 10 kilometres, showcasing their resilience and determination.
The day's adventure was made even more memorable with a scenic lunch on the shores of Silent Lake, allowing our crew to refuel and bond amidst the beauty of nature.
The success of this challenging hike was made possible through the dedication and guidance of our exceptional staff members, including Mr. Johnston, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Judson, Hayden, Ms. Ross, Ms. Connelly, Ms. McNicols, Mr. Hammond, Ms. Thompson, Sasha, and Rebecca. Their expertise and support ensured a safe and enriching experience for our Grade 9s.
As our Grade 9s returned from their hike, they brought with them not just memories of a snowy trail conquered but also a newfound sense of confidence, resilience, and camaraderie. Their journey exemplifies the spirit of exploration and outdoor learning that is at the heart of our educational philosophy.