This year, Aspect Riverina School students and staff challenged themselves to complete an extreme version of the Walk for autism and conquer Mt Bogong, Victoria’s highest peak. The walk was designed to empower students by building self-confidence and resilience.
In preparation, 8 students from Year 8 to 12 took part in a 3-month training regime completing walks of increasing duration and intensity around the Albury area, promoting the school and the walk through their bright orange Walk for Autism Extreme shirts and even making it onto the local news!
The Big Day
Early Monday morning on the 9th of May, the students arrived eager for the day and confidently piled into the school vehicles. As we drove, the snow-capped Mt Bogong loomed in the distance, towering over the Kiewa Valley. Arriving at the foot of the mountain, there was a mix of trepidation and excitement amongst the students. Starting from the Eskdale Spur trailhead, the walk commenced with an extremely steep section that quickly demonstrated the extent of the extreme challenge that they had taken on. Although the walk is only 10-kilometres return, the students climbed just under 1000 metres in elevation making it an incredibly challenging and gruelling walk.
After 3 hours of walking the students, climbed up out of the tree line and into the alpine terrain. All students demonstrated great perseverance, resilience and comradery as they walked as one group through snow and ice, encouraging and supporting each other to push through difficult tracks and personal pain. For some students this was their first encounter with snow, demonstrating just how far out of their comfort zones they truly were.
A great sense of pride and achievement
Due to the conditions, the students unfortunately did not make it to the very top, however they showed great determination to get as far as they did through quite treacherous conditions. Arriving back at school after a massive 12-hour day, their sense of pride and achievement was shared with very proud families making this a truly extreme and memorable Walk for Autism for staff, students and their families.
A wonderful team of supporters
This great adventure was made possible with support from Aspect Riverina School staff who trained and walked alongside the students as well as involvement from Peter Holmes (alpine guide), Scott Upston (fitness trainer), Donvale Christion College (access to their outdoor gear), but also Salesforce and Usher Group whose donations paid for other essential gear that the students needed for the day.
It has been a great collaborative effort. Thanks to a Rotary grant, we were able to produce a documentary on this adventurous Extreme walk. We are looking forward to sharing this documentary across our digital channels, later this year!