Julie O’Leary

K12s At Goldie, Ready For Final Ascent

Imita Ridge

Imita Ridge

Bernie called on Friday night to advise that the trekkers were all well in camp at the Goldie.

They had a really nice day, with the porters continuing to sing every time the group stops…and yes, the K12s now know all the words, so expect to be serenaded with some pidgin English tunes upon their return.

They climbed Imita Ridge, the last of the big ridges – Ben decided to carry his porter’s big pack up and over Imita, which is quite an impressive effort.

They crossed the Goldie and had a nice wash, with the trekkers washing their stinky shirts. Thanks to the nice sunny weather, they were able to dry them out as well. They got into camp in the early afternoon, and had a nice evening sitting around and debriefing – Julie read a poem and Lindsay made a speech while they watched the porters gather a massive 3m high stack of wood for a bonfire. They were having a few quiet whiskeys around the fire and looking forward to getting up early this morning for the climb up to Ower’s Corner. They anticipated getting to Ower’s by 7.30am, so are likely now at or en route to Bomana War Cemetery.

Goldie River

Goldie River

By this afternoon, they’ll be at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby, no doubt enjoying some hot showers, clean clothes and SP beers.

Claire

Please note:  Since writing this blog story, I have now heard by midday today they were a the Gateway Hotel enjoying coffees and hot chips, just like any normal Saturday walk!

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’…! :/

Retreat Trekkers Arrive At Templeton’s Crossing

Isurava Battlefield

Isurava Battlefield

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.

:)

Claire

Please support our Retreat trekkers fundraising efforts by visiting the sponsorship website at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/bernie_victory.

K12s meet Eric Sambell 2/27th AIF

 

On Saturday a group of K12s and other trekkers travelled to Black Rock near Peterborough to meet Eric Sambell, a veteran of Kokoda.  Eric was part of the 2/27th AIF Battalion and fought in the Egypt, Syria, Kokoda, Gona, Shaggy Ridge and Borneo campaigns. Eric is one of a very small number of surviving 2/27th veterans. We were able to spent a few hours with Eric as he told of his time in the AIF, concentrating on the battles at Mission Ridge and Brigade Hill. Eric was a Bren Gunner and he was part of the group lost in the jungle for 2 weeks after the retreat from Brigade Hill. His memory of detail was razor sharp and he expressed a keen interest in our trip. We will be working on a brief video of our time with Eric for those who were unable to be there.

Eric has asked us to visit the graves of some of his mates in Bomana War cemetery. We hope to be able to make another trip up to Kate’s farm after K12 to catch up with Eric and show him photos of our visit.

Bernie

K12s with Eric Sambell, From left Lindsay, Eric, Paul, Julie, Bernie, Liz, Lyall

 

Team Member – Julie O’Leary

Julie O'Leary

Julie O'Leary

Kokoda: Where does one start ?

Magic, adventure, passion, accomplishment… no not here

Humanity, vulnerability, compassion… getting close

Walking Kokoda makes me think about life; what is, what isn’t ; who has, who has not;  what went before, what is to come;  ability, do-ability, dis-ability.

Fairness doesn’t count. Privilege is everything.

Maybe Kokoda allows me to feel better about being in my privileged place.

Experience:

Previous PNG survivor: Kokoda (2005) and Shaggy Ridge (2008)

Personal Attributes:

  • Slightly crazy (by general public opinion);
  • Glutton for punishment;
  • Ability to walk vast distances in (almost) any physical, mental, environmental condition;
  • Ability to walk up very steep hills continuously for indeterminate amounts of time;
  • Ability to land with ease when needed Accepting of most forms of mud, sweat, tears, blood, pain, leeches and stench.

Hobbies:

  • Trekking hills,
  • Fundraising for Auricht House,
  • Supporting others to fundraise for Auricht House.

If you wish to support Julie’s fundraising efforts you can visit her sponsorship website at: http://www.everydayhero.com.au/julie_oleary_5

Centacare Adelaide
Centacare Adelaide

Enter your email address in the field below to subscribe to the 2012 Kokoda Challenge blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 119 other subscribers

Kokoda Recent Posts
July 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
Kokoda Archives