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.
By this afternoon, they’ll be at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby, no doubt enjoying some hot showers, clean clothes and SP beers.
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!
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 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.
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.
I walked the Kokoda Track with my son Josh in 2007, he was then 15. He is now 19 going on 20, about the age of a lot of diggers who fought on Kokoda.
The unimagineable deprivations that those young soldiers suffered beggars belief. Without their sacrifice we would be living in a very different world today.
The irony is that New Guinea is a very beautiful place and still a world apart from our modern lifestyle here in Australia. It is now 70 years since the battle and I would like to give something back, to help those less fortunate. Centacare is a great way to help others and I will proudly support them by walking the Track…….up and back!
This is going to be a great challenge and a lot of fun. The Centacare walkers are a close knit group and I am sure that we are all up to it.
Please visit the Everyday Hero web site http://www.everydayhero.com.au/lindsay_ames and dig deep for a good cause.