Efogi

K12s Safe And Sound At Aguaro

Brigade Hill

Brigade Hill

We heard from the K12s at 6.40pm on Wednesday night – quite literally heard from all of them as I could heard them all chatting and laughing in the background as Alice provided the update. We had nice (relatively) clear reception too, so Al got a fair few details through.

On Wednesday morning they left their Efogi campsite and headed up Brigade Hill. On the top of Brigade Hill, they had a lovely ceremony led by Brian, and Catherine sang ‘Abide With Me’. The porters also sang. In fact, the porters have been singing a lot during breaks; the same 5 songs over and over, so there’s a fair chance the trekkers will have them stuck in their heads for a long time after they depart PNG.

They all walked together down Brigade Hill, and made quite good time. They had a beautiful lunch at the lovely village of Menari, including fresh pineapple. From there, they headed uphill in fairly hot and humid weather – at this point Ben felt the need for speed, and raced up and then down the Wall, so the rest of the group didn’t really see him again until they got into camp – let’s hope he’s saved enough energy for the big ridges yet to come! :)

They camped on Wednesday night at Aguaro; it is a nice little campsite in a beautiful spot, with lots of little kids running around. The K12s befriended two other trekkers staying at the campsite, who are walking the Track, just the two of them accompanied by two porters. One of those porters currently holds the record for running the Track (17 hours I believe).

The trekkers are all well and in very good spirits. Those who had had a few problems with blisters due to the wet conditions during the Tribute trek are enjoying the much drier conditions, which have allowed their feet to heal. Last night, many of them had a nice wash in the creek, and Sam shared a block of chocolate he’d been saving for a special occasion (which had thankfully survived the camp dog raids on the trekkers’ tents). Ben has encountered a few leeches and Zorana and Julie came face to face with a snake, but otherwise it’s been fairly smooth sailing thus far.

Vaguiagi River to Menari

Vaguiagi River to Menari

They’re all doing well  even after a tough day of walking, and there’s been lots of joking and laughing. Some of them have managed to stay up til 8pm each night, and from what I could hear on the phone last night as I was talking to Alice, they’re having a great time chatting around the camp fire and getting to know each other. Ben is unfortunately on his last camera battery – I passed on everyone’s good wishes for his photographic endeavours; I’m sure he’s going to come back with some amazing shots.

Today they will be climbing Maguli Ridge, a tough hill with 9 false peaks. A fair portion of it is in the open, too, so you don’t have the forest foliage keeping you cool. They will then head down Maguli, and I believe they will then also climb Ioribaiwa Ridge before camping at Ioribaiwa village tonight. Some very steep climbs and descents today, but the end is in sight…

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.

Claire

The Team
Alice Victory
Ben Clark
Bernie Victory
Brenton Williamson
Brian Schumacher
Catherine Norman
Julie O’Leary
Lindsay Ames
Paul Williams
Pauline Victory

Peter Scherer
Sam Pittolo
Zorana Bogatic

K12s at Efogi

Naduri to Efogi

Naduri to Efogi 2

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.

Efogi 2 to Efogi

Efogi 2 to Efogi

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.

Claire

*’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’…! :/

On This Day

Brigade Hill Memorial
Brigade Hill Memorial

Those battalions which had been fighting constantly for two weeks since Isurava, 2/16th and 2/14th, needed rest. Consequently 2/27th was placed in the front line on Mission Ridge while the other two battalions were placed behind, in reserve on Brigade Hill. There were about 1400 Australians and 1570 Japanese in the area.

On 7 September, 1942 the Japanese attack commenced. With artillery support, the Japanese attacked the 2/27th on Mission Ridge. Though the fighting continued until early the following morning the Japanese were unable to take any ground from the Australians, half of whose losses were to a bombardment from the six big Japanese guns.

As night fell on 7 September the other Japanese battalion commenced an incredible night march. At dawn on the 8th, the Japanese found the Kokoda track in the Australian rear. A number of counter attacks, including the heroic but ill-fated charge led by Claude Nye and Lefty Langridge, failed to dislodge the Japanese. The Australians on Mission Ridge withdrew to join those on Brigade Hill and the whole cut their way south, through the jungle.

Australian casualties at Efogi were 87 dead and 77 wounded. The Japanese lost 60 dead and 165 wounded. These figures are not a true reflection of the catastrophe which overtook the Australians at Efogi. An additional 500 men, mainly from 2/27th Battalion, without food, marched south through the mountains for up to three weeks before rejoining their own force.

Written by Lucy Jenner

Centacare Adelaide
Centacare Adelaide

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