Written by Woon Tong (10S)
My name is Woon Tong from 10S and recently I’ve taken part in the practice adventurous journey, which I’ll call AJ in short, for Silver DoE. It was an extremely fun experience that I recommend to all years to join if they get the chance.
Firstly, the Duke of Edinburgh is an international award that allows for the world’s youth to develop in their own activities, setting out goals for themselves and testing their limits to reach their aims. It uses real-life skills such as navigation and team-building for the adventurous journeys, giving an overall very fulfilling experience for the participants.
Today I’ll be talking about how I found the practice of the AJ for Silver when we walked from Tamparuli all the way to Zip Borneo…. and that again for Day 3 . To start with, it was incredibly tiring.
Day 1 was by far the hardest, at least for me, considering the heavy rucksacks and it being the actual first time I’d hiked anywhere out of Kota Kinabalu. To summarise, leg 1 and 2 (leg = route sections) were fairly fine: crossing roads as a group, slowly moving uphill, a lot of barking dogs. It was towards the end of leg 2 when our group started getting tired which resulted in us having lunch in front of someone’s front driveway. We did encounter a small kitten but sadly had to depart from our first potential travel pet.
As a group, I feel that we could all agree that going auto-pilot for the next 7km+ would be best; we moved at a moderate speed and continued on with the slow uphill. We managed to push through leg 3 and had a very long rest right by Mr William’s truck. Enthusiasm was now high and our group was ready to completely ace the last leg. That was until we got lost in a corn field which would have been the perfect setting for a typical horror movie but some very kind locals did help point out how the route we were moving was wrong and looked to be more painful – it was a very steep uphill. Under the great sun
heat, constantly walking up did not help the tiredness building in everyone. Lucky to say, we did end up at the campsite on time after picking up our pace when going downhill. The great relief after reaching the last footbridge over the river that would lead us to the end of the journey was very comforting.
In the evening: we cooked dinner as a group; showered in the very cold shower stalls; slept early, not ready for more walking the next day. It was incredibly refreshing though to wake up right by a river stream and feeling the chilly morning breeze. Around 8-9am, we went ziplining across that said river ! It somewhat prepared us for the day 2 hike across the forest and kampungs around that area. Compared to the previous day, we moved surprisingly quicker and even skimmed through 1km under 20 mins – note, we still had to hike with our heavy rucksacks carrying everything we brought. Passing a friendly kampung, we ate lunch at the end of leg 2 right by the river. Something worth mentioning: one of our teammates had sadly dropped their mee goreng on the floor, only left with slices of bread to eat for that sad lunch. Though with a low enthusiasm, the last parts of that day’s hike was done quietly and quickly as we all agreed that we just wanted day 2 to be over.
We reached the campsite 10 minutes early and later went towards the river stream which was very cooling with how cold the water was. Some people chose to throw very big rocks in the water, my activity of choice was to sit somewhere and create a mini rock stack. Our group ended the night with a rewarding dinner of macaroni with tomato sauce, mixed inside were sausages and corn – it sounds much nicer than described considering how hungry we were.
Finally, day 3 was upon us. It was the build-up of muscle pain from the previous two days along with the delicious meal we had the night before that motivated me to finish this practice journey early. We had estimated our progress on the legs to be very slow considering the average group speed we were on. And so, Tuesday morning we set off at 7:40 am hoping to reach the Tamparuli bus station for our lunch and get back to school just before the day ended. Morale was high, motivation even higher. We completed
almost 5 km in just over an hour, it was a great achievement and a surprise to all of us which made us hopeful for the next legs. Another thing worth mentioning: we even had a travel companion for our last day of the journey!
The adventure site dog, which we couldn’t pick a name for, had followed us all the way through legs 1 and 2 – it was picked up later by the owners shortly after lunch. It became our side quest throughout the walk to keep the dog safe and it felt like one with the team: waiting for us when we went uphill, walking along the road side together, even having lunch with us after leg 2. Lunch was a hot meal from the kembara bags and we ate, sat alongside the buildings in town, ready to continue.
Beforehand, our group had decided to end the journey early at the end of leg 3 where the bus would be expected to pick us up and carry us all the way back to school. It was the right decision as the group already got tired walking halfway into our third leg, but after a rest on the bus stop by the road. We got up, enthusiasm high. We were ready to end this practice AJ. Talking as we were walking, each sharing the thoughts of comfort when finally reaching home. It was when we finally saw the bus and 3 people, me included, sprinted to the vehicle – 2 giving up halfway through and walking the rest of the way. But we took one last group photo, and had finally ended our 3-day practice journey for the Silver DoE.
In conclusion, I’d say this was a super new and fun experience for me. Even though it was tiring, the journey was very fulfilling and gave me a sense of accomplishment for the first time in a while. Having walked with the people I was close with, it helps with the
team building and communication skills between one another. The practice has taught me how important those two skills are and that even if you believe you can’t do it, just push through and eventually you’ll achieve your goal!