We were away 11 days in total. Day 1 and Day 11 were travel days to and from Port Moresby. Day 5 was a compulsory Sabbath rest day. The Day 10 was 45 minutes hiking. The total distance covered was 110km of mountains – up and down. The total trekking time was 6 days. Each night before I went to sleep, I wrote a daily diary. This is the story, unedited, of my 50th birthday gift to myself (with husband, son, best friend and her family, and my running mate Jully and her nephew).
A big day out today. We are officially on the track and in one of the most remote places on earth. It doesn’t feel that way yet.
A 3am start, a plane, a PMV (people moving vehicle) and our own two feet have taken us to this campsite outside the village of Hoi.
Departing Port Moresby, and with a magnificent sunrise across the Owen Stanley Ranges, our captain Abel Kenabel ( yes that was his name), banked left to the tiny township of Poppondetta on the Northern Beaches of Papua New Guinea. We gulped at the enormity of the mountains we were about to hike over.
Our trip in the PMV was a 4 hour journey across bumpy terrain broken only by roadworks to replace the countless bridges washed away in the wet season
At last we arrived at Kokoda. Hot, steamy and starving- 32 degrees, 95 % humidity, in June is not normal.
A war history novice, I eagerly took in the significance of Kokoda. Teenage boys my sons age (14)- him standing there, fighting, frightened and sacrificing everything for his country and mates.
After lunch of noodles, Spam & Peanut butter wraps, we met our porters. Collectively our comments were the same- sorry about the weight of the pack. Omie, my porter smiled sweetly and reassured me it was ok and he would pack it better tomorrow. I assured him that by the end of the week I will have eaten the 4kg of nuts, dates and muesli bars!
Hoi campsite, after about 90 minutes walk was a welcome sight. I had heard the creek teasing me all afternoon- the coolness on my skin, the refreshing waters- I could taste relief in my ears. A swim! After the heat and the intensity of the day I felt refreshed and clean.Winding down we are all weary. Tomorrow is big. That’s another day. Today was special – where we all found out first hand the enormity of the significance of the Kokoda Trail. Yvonne Shepherd is the Founder and Chief Adventure Officer at Women’s Fitness Adventures, a company designed by women for women who seek fitness, travel and adventure all in one place.