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.
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.
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.
Bernie (Dad) called at 7.26pm on Thursday night. They’re all good in camp at Aguaro.
The trekkers had a big day – 11 hours of walking. Dad describes it as the muddiest day he has ever experienced on the Track. It was muddy going up Ioribaiwa Ridge, muddy coming down Ioribaiwa, very muddy going up Maguli Ridge, with light rain, then heavy rain on top of and coming down Maguli. Despite the mud (because of it?), they had a really good day.
Earlier in the day the K12s had a break at Jap’s Ladder. They were sitting in the rain, trying to eat their food without ingesting too much of the mud with which they were covered…but the porters were singing and the trekkers felt that they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Already soaked with water and mud, they opted to wade through the river without removing their boots….hopefully their boots and gaiters will dry out a bit around the fire before they put them on again in the morning…although there’s plenty more mud to come.
By the end of the day they were very weary, with sore legs, but they’re well and didn’t sustain any injuries, which is quite a good effort given the very steep, slippery slopes they climbed up and down during the course of the day. When Dad called, all but 4 or 5 of the trekkers were already in bed. Dad noted the trekkers were happy to have now tasted their first fruit of the trip, getting their hands on some bananas as well as curry nuts.
Unfortunately, Bob has decided to withdraw due to some back/leg pain and is now back in Adelaide. His porter helped him to walk out and, while disappointed, Bob is okay and has medical appointments lined up. A message from Bob will be posted separately on this blog.
Today, they would have climbed ‘The Wall’ and Brigade Hill – some serious walking, but comparatively easy after yesterday’s efforts.
They’re enjoying the messages from home, so keep them coming
Bernie called at 6.20pm on Wednesday. After 7 hours of walking, the K12s got into camp at Ioribaiwa at about 2pm. They have been making good time due to being efficient in the mornings and having only short breaks.
They went up and over a very soggy, slippery Imita Ridge – there were 10 falls, but no injuries. Corina led the way down Imita and, when they reached the spot where Corina last year broke her leg, they had a nice break (pardon the pun) and had a bit of a ceremony to mark the spot…which they’ve named Fibula Ridge. Corina is quite the celebrity, as it turns out. Many of the trekkers they’ve passed/met on the Track have heard stories of Corina’s courageous K11 effort and have been happily surprised to meet her on the Track this year. One of them even interviewed her on their camera – sounds like she’s on her way to becoming the next Mr Bean.
There are lots of people on the Track, and tonight the K12s are one of three groups at the campsite – there is another Kokoda Spirit group, and a group from Adelaide with Wayne Enright’s company. There is a good mood and they’re having a nice time chatting with the other groups, but they’re also happy to hear that they will likely have a few nights coming up where they won’t have to share a campsite with any other groups.
They got to experience a lovely Ioribaiwa sunset, and have also been enjoying Chris Adey’s extremely good massages. Not to be outdone by Anne’s hot pink gaiters, Nat has proved to be the new fashionista, rocking back-to-front Skins, much to everyone’s amusement.
On Thursday, the K12s will head up and over Ioribaiwa Ridge, then Maguli Ridge and across the Brown River. They plan to then camp at Aguaro, at the base of ‘the wall’.
They’re appreciating the messages from home, and they all send their best wishes.
If you wish to support:
- Corina’s fundraising efforts you can visit her sponsorship website at: http://www.everydayhero.com.au/corina_poole
- Chris’s fundraising efforts by visiting his sponsorship site at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/chris_adey_4
- Natalie’s fundraising efforts together with husband Brian you can visit their sponsorship website at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/brian_and_natalie_horan
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