Last week, our Grade 6 and 7 students packed their bags and set out on an expedition to Hornby Island! The trip, which takes place annually as part of Aspengrove School’s Outdoor Education program, teaches students the importance of understanding the management of space, awareness of life on an island, and the further development of outdoor skills.

Keep reading for Mr. Eriksson’s journal entries, ‘The Tribune Tribune’, from the trip!

The Tribune Tribune

Written by Mr. Eriksson

Day 1:

Our intrepid campers heaved off the Aspengrove shores and set their course in the morning for Hornby Island with smiles and clear(ish) skies ahead! Our journey went off without a hitch– snacks were eaten, jokes were told, wildlife was sighted including sparring eagles, curious seals, and the rare purple martin swooping over the water! 

 

We were greeted by cheerful and competent Tribune Bay staff who guided students in the low ropes course, climbing tower, low tide beach walk, knot-tying, and ecology lessons in the woods. After a spaghetti feast, students donned face paint, channeled their inner Lord of the Flies, and engaged in a wide game called “Stones”, followed by hot chocolate, popcorn, and songs around the campfire! Please ask a student to demonstrate the “Penguin Salute!” song when they get back–you won’t be sorry. The grade 6 boys fell asleep to the sounds of Mr. Kaethler’s ukulele, the grade 6 girls learned that a fully wrapped granola bar can attract one bold field mouse into their cabin! The grade 7s’ tenting skills stood up to the winds and rain of the night and they woke up dry and warm-ish. Lots of smiles all around! Onwards and upwards to a full day of activities on Day 2!

Day 2:

Today the students woke up to a pancake breakfast, which fueled the students for a full-on day of adventures. Grade 7s found themselves working in pairs, where they pulled, pushed, and heaved their partners up the rungs of the giant’s ladder! They seemed to have no problem offering up their legs, arms, and shoulders as steps to their partners as they all tried to ascend this challenging obstacle! They also channeled their inner sloth or koala bear or, um, opossum, as they climbed up rope ladders, shimmied their way along logs and platforms, danced along high cables and traversed the canopy of the high ropes course. Grade 6 students hiked along the windswept cliffs of Helliwell Park with various wildlife sightings–eagles coasting on the breeze, sea lions and harbour seals and a mink (or river otter?) doing their thing, along with a family of Canada Geese with 5 goslings. The tidal pools at Lunar Beach-sea was a highlight with sea anemones, sculpins, sea cucumbers, limpets, turban snails, periwinkles, and many other creatures of the not-so-deep.

 

Finally, we don’t know if it’s the Hornby air or what, but here are some rather interesting snippets of conversation overhead in the dining hall: “What is your favourite terrible cereal?” 

“If you put a cactus in a sleeping bag, is it still a sleeping bag?”, and, “Oh yeah, I’ve licked a ton of slugs.” After dinner predator and prey, followed by wacky grade 7 skits (featuring the grade 7 house band on PVC-pipe marimbas!) and, yes, more hot chocolate. We’re cautiously optimistic that they will fall asleep a little more quickly than last night. Over and out!

Day 3:

Day 3 was FULL ON! Some students have tasted Frosted Flakes for the first time and for a moment, they believed “Frosted Flakes” was Latin for “Delicious Breakfast Cereal”. Just for a moment though (go critical thinking skills!) The Grade 7s spent the morning building shelters in the woods from branches, sticks and large chunks of bark. Finn (future realtor?) figured that by decorating his group’s shelter with an animal skull above the entranceway and highlighting the ocean views and “natural/organic building materials”, they could rent out their shelter for $7000 a month! Let’s just say that number went down after the “water test” happened. If you find yourself lost in the woods, just ask a grade 7 student to show you how to stay dry in style! 

Grade 7s hiked Helliwell Park while the grade 6s braved the high ropes course where everyone (including teachers) overcame their fears of heights and conquered the poosum log. They also launched their kayaks into the crystalline (calm!) waters and paddled around Tribune Bay. Kayaking is always a highlight and today was no exception! After dinner (featuring epic homemade cookie and ice cream sandwiches for dessert), we played “The Amazing Survival Race”, followed by the grade 6 skits. Hilarity ensued as students transformed into memorable characters such as Gertrude, Game Show Joe, Gillip and Phillip, Lil’ Ron and Eli the Elephant (as well as inanimate objects, such as Mr. K’s ukelele, doing, let’s say, ODD things). The outhouse also may have made an appearance on the stage.

Once again, the instructors have been incredible–funny, encouraging and offering pearls of wisdom along the way. Thank you, Tribune Bay Outdoor Ed Centre, for a wonderful week of memories and fun!

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