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…
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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