22 Apr, 2015
10 : 00
YWIES Yantai is promoting hiking and camping activities in various ways. Some students went to Hong Kong for a five-night-and-four-day backpacking trip during the Easter break and the entire Secondary Department went to Cishan Mountain in Kaifaqu on April 22, which was also Earth Day.
Seven students from IGCSE 1 and Pre-IGCSE accompanied by three teachers went to Hong Kong for the backpacking activity and I am glad I was one of them. Before our flight landed on Hong Kong, we had absolutely no concept of what backpacking would be like. How do we get water? What kind of food shall we carry? How do we set up a fire? How do we navigate ourselves in the middle of nowhere? These questions had lingered in our minds for a long time.
Once we arrived, Mr Scott, a teacher from YWIES Shanghai, led us to the first campsite and taught us some basic techniques of survival with only a backpack. We had a water filter to clean water from any tap or floating water in the mountains. We were well advised to buy cornmeal for breakfast, cans for lunch and pasta for supper. There was portable fuel as well as a stove for setting up a fire in order to cook. At last, we reached Lantau Island in Hong Kong, a well-developed site for camping. We could locate ourselves easily with a compass and map. Hiking with a backpack around 20kg with water, rice, bread, a tent and fuel inside was not pleasant at the beginning. Gradually, we began to adopt the methods of walking at a consistent pace while breathing at a constant rate.
We camped on different campsites each day with various surroundings. On the first night, we stayed next to the beach, where it was extremely moist. However, the second night was completely different from the first night. We camped in the middle of nowhere in the mountain -- in the midst of the cloud. We couldn’t see anything 10 metres away even with the help of headlights. The third night was on the foot of the mountain and the last two nights were spent in the valley of another mountain.
Compared with backpacking in Hong Kong, a day-hike, precisely a half-day-hike was simply a piece of cake. Each of the houses was divided into four small teams so that we could co-operate with people we didn't usually interact with. Cishan was a steep hill. However, it only took me about an hour and a half to climb to the top and came down. It was a pleasant journey, a sunny afternoon with some moderate winds.
It was certainly a nice time to hang out with friends. Moreover, the school organised this trip for another special purpose: picking up rubbish. The essence of Earth Day is to protect the home where we are living. The earth is the home of all human beings. Yantai is the home for all YWIES Yantai students. Picking up rubbish is one of the most simple and basic ways of being environmentally friendly to our home. By the end of this trip, students from four houses collected over 10 solid bags of rubbish.
Both the above activities our school organised have given us chance to experience the sport of hiking. Many people would think that hiking is tremendously tiring and exhausting. However, from my perspective it is a great way to challenge and improve yourself in many aspects such as bravery, perseverance and calmness.
Daniel, IGCSE 1A