Bernie called last night to report that the trekkers were all well at Ioribaiwa village.
This morning they crossed the Brown River, which was raging; so much so that Catherine was swept off her feet and the porters decided to carry her, above their heads, across the river – which would have been quite an experience.
Yesterday was warm, with no rain or intense heat; weather as good as you could hope for on the Track. Maguli Ridge was a hard slog; quite muddy both up and down. They then climbed up Ioribaiwa Ridge, which was also a bit muddy.
They got in to camp at Ioribaiwa village around 4pm, weary but still in good spirits; it was a good day.
Encounters with wildlife have continued, with camp dogs still lurking in the hope of seizing some scroggin and poor Zorana encountering a rat in her tent!
The trekkers have appreciated the messages I’ve been sending through from you all, and they send their love and thanks to you all. They are also happy to hear that donations are continuing to come through for the Gift of Time Appeal, as of course they are all participating in this challenge through Centacare in order to raise much needed funds for respite care for intellectually disabled children and their families.
Today they will descend Ioribaiwa Ridge and climb Imita Ridge – a very steep, tiring incline. They will then descend and, I believe, set up camp somewhere around Uberi. That will leave crossing the Goldie and climbing up to Ower’s Corner for Saturday morning.
Bernie called at 4.30pm yesterday. The trekkers are all well at Efogi.
Luckily he had better reception yesterday, so he got a decent report through before it cut out.
I did get their approximate location right in the last update; the previous night they were in fact at Digger’s campsite – close to Bomber campsite, and it looks so much like Bomber campsite that when Bernie took Brian to visit the site of the plane wreck, he was shocked to find the crater had disappeared…until he realised he was at the wrong site!
Yesterday they walked up to Kagi Gap; from this point they had a great view of Kagi, Brigade Hill, Maguli Ridge – all the ridges they need to climb over the next few days. Bernie says it was the best view he had ever had from that point, as the view was clear and amazing.
Yesterday they had lots of downhill walking, followed by the ‘glorious*’ uphill into Efogi through the waterfall.
Yesterday, and for the past few days, they have had quite nice weather. Yesterday they had some warm periods which were accompanied by a nice cool breeze (a rare phenomenon on the Track!). The Track has dried up a lot, and they’ve had an excellent walk thus far.
They visited Naduri and had morning tea there. They met Ovuro Ndiki, the fuzzy wuzzy who is reportedly now 108 years old. They had a bit of a sing with him and had their photos taken, and some of the fitter trekkers opted to walk up to a treehouse further up in the village.
Some of the porters who carried Corina on a stretcher last year (including Esko [spelling?] and Kevin) were with them, so they asked those guys to demonstrate how they constructed the stretcher. They agreed to do so, and after the two engineers in the group had certified the stretcher as strong and sound, the boys carried Catherine around on it. Bernie is quite chuffed that they now have photos and videos of how they did it.
They arrived at Efogi at about 1.30pm, allowing them a long, languid afternoon. They enjoyed the opportunity to have showers and dry out some of their gear.
The back-to-back trekkers (Catherine, Sam, Bernie, Lindsay, Julie) are weary but going well. All the trekkers are in good shape, and it sounds like they’re enjoying the walk, the history and each other’s company.
Today they will climb Brigade Hill. I believe that tomorrow night they will stay in Menari, Nauro or somewhere in between.
*’glorious’ obviously being Dad’s description, not mine; in 2005, this day of walking was my ‘bad day’…any of you who have seen the K05 video (i.e. anyone who has ever been to any event associated with this walking group) can probably picture this climb through the waterfall; Dad kindly included lots of footage of me trudging along, climbing up through the waterfall, set to the rather dramatic soundtrack of ‘November Rain’…! :/
Bernie called at 7pm last night. The trekkers are all well.
I think they stayed at 1900 Crossing last night, although I’m not quite sure as the reception was a bit patchy when Bernie was reporting their location.
Bernie reported that it was a hard walk to the top of Mount Bellamy, but otherwise a good day. They took a new track to visit Big and Little Myola, which was a ‘nice and cruisey’ walk.
They arrived at camp dry as there wasn’t much rain, and had a nice wash in the river and a ‘domestic’ afternoon around camp. They also had some presentations, with Catherine reading some nice poems and Brian talking about the 53rd Battalion.
They enjoyed some coffees and whiskey while marvelling at how quiet the place was.
I believe today will see them on Brigade Hill, then onwards to Menari (one of my favourites). They will likely camp there tonight, but they’ll see how they’re going.
Bernie called at 5.45pm and 7pm on Sunday. The trekkers are all well at Templeton’s Crossing.
Last night there was a bit of drama, I think as the trekkers were off having tea; a couple of camp dogs ripped up Lindsay and Julie’s tents and stole the scroggin from their packs! I think Julie’s tent was still useable, but Lindsay slept in a hut and repairs have been done to his tent (to allay any concerns: the camp dogs are fairly skinny, weak creatures; nothing to worry about in terms of attacks etc – unless, apparently, you’re a bag of peanuts and lollies…)
Sunday was a fairly long but amazing day, with a bit of everything. They started with a lovely dawn service at the Isurava monument. They also had a nice ceremony at Con’s Rock, where Butch Bissett died. Catherine sang Danny Boy really well, which I’m sure would have been very moving.
At Alola the trekkers got to catch up with Kila and Lovelyn and family, so Brian got to meet his wafe’s namesake, ‘baby’ Joan. They then had a nice walk from Alola to Eora Creek – as there is still no bridge there, they had to take off their boots and wade through.
The last hour to Templeton’s Crossing was very wet and muddy. They are staying at a new camp, on the other side of the creek. The bridge there has the engineers in the group gasping; quite an impressive structure apparently.
When Bernie called, the trekkers were sitting around having soup, waiting for tea. It was a very good day.
Please support our Retreat trekkers fundraising efforts by visiting the sponsorship website at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/bernie_victory.
This gallery contains 5 photos.
Most of the Tribute trekkers departed Adelaide last night, bound for Brisbane.
I think you’ll all agree they looked rather fetching in their official black K12 shirts. Some of the K12s arrived in Brisbane or Port Moresby earlier in the week, while the remainder of the group will fly out this morning.
Those not already in PoM will fly there later today, and they’ll eventually be together as a whole group at the Gateway Hotel tonight where they face a night of sweet, excruciating anticipation, as only tomorrow do they start walking.
Those doing the Retreat trek now face a week of nervous excitement as they prepare to head to PNG early next week to join what will, by then, be a very smelly band of trekkers.
If you wish to support the Centacare Kokoda Challenge team’s fundraising efforts you can visit the sponsorship website at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/bernie_victory or by downloading the donation form here.
Please Note: Click on each photo to enlarge.
There are times in life when a person just has to do what they have to do! Walking The Kokoda Track back to back is just one of those times.
Treking is in my blood. Every time I hit the track, I honour my late father, Barry Norman.
“Never give up”
“It’s character building”
“Carpe Diem” – (the family motto), rings in my ears when the going gets tough.
So, “Thanks Dad”.
It has become part of my personality to always want to look over the other side of a mountain and whilst walking The Kokoda Track in September 2010 I was reluctant for the experience to end. Track completed, a very strong desire to turn around and walk from where I’d come from hit me with a passion!!!!
So, when the opportunity came to walk both ways, I jumped at the chance.I am very proud to be one of an elite group of women to be fit, strong and determined enough to walk the track back to back (although some would say , “as mad as a box of frogs”).
That aside, most importantly is my driving force… To raise funds for Centacare’s Gift Of Time Appeal and support Auricht House to be able to offer respite care to families with intellectually disabled young people.
I consider myself to have been truly blessed in this life. So, thank you to the world.
If you wish to support Catherine’s fundraising efforts you can visit her sponsorship website at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/catherine_norman.