by Ute Massow & René Reiter
On June 26, after a very long pandemic break, the much-awaited hiking day at GESM finally took place. Already very early, namely around 6:15 a.m. - the buses left the campus and started their journey to the Masungi Georeserve.
Once there, the secondary students of both departments were divided into two groups to participate in two different hikes according to their age. Already on the way to Antipolo it became clear that it was not going to be a sunny day, so we did not have to sweat too much. Nevertheless, we got wet, because it rained almost the whole day. This did not dampen the adventurous hikes and the fun that came with them.
Grades 5-7 hiked the Legacy Trail, which provided insight into the restoration work of the park rangers. First, we had to climb a few feet in elevation on a trail that climbed steadily. Halfway through the trail, we received information about the history and goals of the Georeserve. All students listened attentively, there was a lot to learn. Upon reaching the first stage, the students, under the instruction of the park rangers and equipped with appropriate tools, actively helped rebuild the pine stands. The hike took them along an imposing ridge that offered wonderful views. Everyone was rewarded with a lunch served in a special beautiful setting. It was an educational and fun walk that gave the students a deeper understanding of the importance of preserving the environment -- a key focus of GESM!
Grades 8-10 took the Discovery Trail. This trail allowed students to hike and climb through the nature preserve. After a short briefing and equipment with mountain helmets, we went on a nicely laid out trail, first uphill, until we stood in front of a vertical rock wall that we had to climb. A wide net of thick ropes facilitated the ascent. We continued over wobbly suspension bridges to an elevation with a fantastic view, but to enjoy it we had to balance over a horizontal spider web. Afterwards we went downhill through very narrow rock gorges to a rock face again, which we had to descend via a rope net to get to our well-deserved lunch. Freshly fortified, we again made our way across suspension bridges to ascend a group of rocks connected by bridges, revealing a tremendous panoramic view. Thus rewarded, we made our way back to rejoin Legacy group and head for home.
Who would have thought that eventually all the students would join the thinker and poet J.W. von Goethe: "Mountains are silent masters and make silent pupils." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)