I heard from Bernie again this morning and all is well.
As at 11.30am SA time, 14 of the K12s are on a plane on their way back to Port Moresby, and 12 are bouncing their way to Kokoda in a truck. For those doing the math – Brenton has decided that back-to-back was a silly idea after all, so he has opted to head back to PoM with Anne and the rest rather than joining the Retreat trekkers for the walk back to Ower’s Corner.
As mentioned in the last update, the Retreat trekkers will arrive in Kokoda then start walking to Hoi in the early afternoon. This will be a gentle* but beautiful start to their walk.
(*gentle in actual, normal person terms, none of this crazy “oh it’s just gently undulating” walking language)
The K12s made the best of yesterday’s delay, spending a funny, relaxing night in resort Kokoda. They enjoyed some birthday celebrations for Zorana and Brenton. This may be related in some way to the request for further supplies (of scotch whiskey) that came through yesterday…
They were hoping to truck it to Popondetta at 4am today – no word yet as to whether or not that has happened. They are particularly keen to hear whether any more donations have come through since they’ve been in PNG.
If you’d like to sponsor the team or contribute to the fundraising efforts of a particular trekker, you can visit these pages by clicking on the trekkers name below.
Dad (Bernie) called at 7pm tonight. At that stage, only three of the trekkers were still up; clearly the 3 hours of walking today has them all tuckered out!
They departed their Port Moresby hotel at 8am yesterday, and were at Bomana War Cemetery by 9am. They then headed to Sogeri with the hope of catching up with Morris; he wasn’t there, so they were directed elsewhere, but he wasn’t there either so they headed off to McDonald’s Corner to see the statue, and then got to Ower’s Corner by 11.30am. At Ower’s, they had lunch and took photos. While they were there, two other groups came in.
They then headed off at 12.30pm, crossing a waist-deep Goldie River after the initial tricky downhill. The group set a good pace today, with no-one falling behind. There were 4 minor falls as the track was a bit slippery, and there was also some ‘gloopy’ mud. There has been light rain on and off since 4.30pm. In a puzzling move, Anne is sporting hot pink gaiters – although they’ll likely be a fetching shade of mud brown by this time tomorrow (which is probably for the best, really).
As the Track is quite busy, there were two other groups already camped at Good Water when the K12s arrived, so they didn’t get the best camping spot and having only a small shelter. But all four toilets have seats, and the trekkers have all had a wash in the nice little creek followed by a lovely dinner of fried chicken and potato. The porters have been singing for hours, and even have a guitar with them, so it looks like the K12s will be kept well-nourished from an aural perspective.
They had a couple of briefings today – Bernie managed to explain World War Two in 8 minutes and the Kokoda campaign in 2 minutes, and Steve did an excellent talk on army organisation (explaining what a brigade is etc.) The group has many of the same porters as last year. For those of you for whom this means anything: Corina has Kenneth again, Bernie has Koi, Anne is partnered with Robin, Brenton is with Artie again and Alma’s porter is the charming Paul, who was Michelle’s porter last year (it remains to be seen if Alma will be similarly showered with flowers).
Tomorrow, the K12s will be awoken by Alma’s chosen wake-up music by 5am. They’ll be walking by 6.45am, heading up a reportedly very muddy Imita Ridge. They’ll then criss-cross Ua-Ule Creek and head to Ioribaiwa, where they plan to be staying tomorrow night.
We’ll get another update through to you whenever we next hear from Bernie (if at all), but in the meantime remember you can send through your messages of support by email (Claire@duddyshopov.com.au) or text (0438 293 602) to me, or by posting a comment to the blog page.
If you wish to support Alma’s fundraising efforts you can visit her sponsorship website at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/almajane_odonnell
Kierkegaard and Chuck Norris in PNG – and a Personal Profile.
It is held by some critics that Soren Kierkegaard [Danish philosopher: 1813 – 1855] was a miserable bugger. I contend that this is an ill conclusion, an unjust conclusion, and that in fact Soren was a beacon, the Chuck Norris of his day, a siren call to arms. In his own way, Siren, as he is now fondly remembered, without even setting foot in New Guinea, paved the intellectual and psychological path that we trekkers dare to tread. Chuck followed in his own way, the physical expression of Soren’s ruminations.
Forget that Siren ditched his girlfriend, Regine, for the higher purpose of contemplation, and not for the fact that she was moonlighting in Dancing with the Danes– and not withstanding also her prowess as the Great Dane, the Tattooed Transvestite of Thorburg – occupations that would have held him in both fear and trembling, conditions, prime causes, if ever there were, of discombobulation.
Kierkegaard’s head wasn’t helped by the transition from feudal to capitalist society; the subsequent intellectual and ethical transition from past intellectual and religious rigidity could either lead to moral abandonment, reflective nihilism or existential despair, or a contortion of all. Siren’s resolution as befitting a person properly suspicious of all authority and old values sought to realise the impossibility of faith and the possibility of religious and personal integrity as befitting the father of existentialism. Put simply, what Chuck Norris could do with his fists, Siren could do with words and ideas.
Clearing out hindrances are as much about doing as thinking, but each in its own equal way, if we are to prepare fertile paths for new adventures. That there exists no equivocation as to the merits of the Norris way, it has been said that using only his karate chop he could shave all men who did not shave themselves. Ergo, such is the self evident nature of the truth of a Norris utterance is the fact that Norris never argued …. he just allowed you to accept his position …truly the instinctive path fashioned in the crucible of Siren’s cogitations.
Siren and Norris, then, are two different sides of the same florin, both astonished and cruelled by their voluntary isolation yet determined to flesh out an authentic response in the face of hostility. And in a calmer fashion, trekkers reject the drowning of the numbing everyday as we fashion a new raft to carry us beyond the crowd as we renew ourselves through treks and travels. Like Nietzsche, Siren established that mountains confront us as both physical and mental objects.
And Kokoda resists justification, as realised by both, and stands rightly and resolutely behind its own impenetrability. Such then is the strength of existential endeavour that Norris conceived of mountains without valleys though some held that the strength of that belief owed more to Norris’ belief that others had a drinking problem, not him, if, indeed, there is such a condition.
So, there is no sense in asking why, or feeling some embarrassing compulsion to fashion a truth, apart from basking in a large modicum of self importance.
All of this makes sense, doesn’t it.
If questions of meaning and reason are unquenched in the eyes of the inquisitor, then there is another shield. Do mountains exist? This is, I’ve read, not an easy question to answer in the affirmative. These believers also wrestle with other gems like, “Why are cliffs vertical?”
Does a snow leopard know it is on a mountain? When does a heap of stones become a cairn, a hill become a mountain, is a mountain a point or a region, and so on. Or as Nietzsche, an enthusiast, might have contended, a furry confusions of definition and truth that get pushed away in the pursuit of happiness.
No doubt you‘ll be wrestling with these little beauties as you grind up Imita Ridge, a brief relief from some inane song you’ve got bottled up in your head.
I reckon, though, the meaning of all of this rests with Norris,
“If a lion could talk, Chuck Norris could understand it.”
Rocks and mud will not talk, nor will they connive, though you could swear that they’re out to get you sometimes. Nor will the Track swallow you up, being as benign as all things natural, mute and insensitive. All that will surround you is brute beauty; our freedom, to reduce the track to elements to suit our passing. Well, apart from that bloody song you can’t get out of your head.
The last word, though, belongs to someone who said of our legendary heroes,
“Kierkegaard wrote fear and Trembling in honour of Chuck Norris’ left and right fists.”  Nuff said.
Note.  Most but not all references to Chuck Norris collected by but used without the permission of Andrea Borghini.