Adrian's Story

​For me, this trip was always going to be a milestone achievement, my 10th crossing of the Kokoda track. To make the trip even more special, I was lucky enough to be joined by my Mum (60), Dad (nearly 65) and younger sister. And to top it off, the rest of the team was pretty amazing too!

To add to the contingent there was Jackie, a 47 year old super mum, Alyce, a 28 year old Crossfitter, Darryl, life of the party who turned 52 on at Alola, Jack and Alex, a pair of young gentlemen from Brisbane, and Mike, a British ex-pat living in Singapore. Quite a diverse group, I was happy to get to know them quickly and realize they were all going to get along smashingly!

The trip started a bit rough, with our PMV in Popondetta being a little late, and then stopping into the supermarket to fill up with water, only to find they were sold out! Luckily the 4th supermarket we checked had a good supply left.

This late in the year, we’re teetering on the possibility of monsoonal downpours, apparently one occurred the night before, enough to keep the dust down on our truck ride and we made it to Kokoda in good time, all things considered! A quick lunch then packs on, and we headed up the track to start our trek.

It took a couple of days for some of us to find our rhythm, learning to maintain energy levels, hydration, and footing! But soon enough, the order was set, and we were moving like clockwork!

​Day 4 we trekked up and over the highest point of our journey, at 2190m ASL, then out to the Kagi gap, where for the first time we were privileged with a wide open view of the hills to the south, and our destination that night, Kagi. As we approached Kagi Village we were ambushed by some of the local men (No Roads porters who had traveled with No Roads to Melbourne, and been hosted by my family), they were painted in mud, and armed with bunches of wild grasses and flowers! They swiftly swept mum and dad up into a jungle made litter and carried them all the way up the final hill to the campsite! There we were met by a group of ladies and Frank, our chef, and local choirmaster who sang us a beautiful welcome song. A very moving moment for all involved! The rest of the afternoon was spent playing soccer, rugby and Frisbee with the kids in the village, as well as blowing bubbles and having fingernails painted, it finished off with a spectacular sound and light show from a passing thunderstorm over the hills.

The summer sun gave us an early rise and a late setting, which meant for more relaxed mornings and a better safety net of light at the end of the day than if you were trekking in June. We were very grateful for this particularly on day 7, our longest, with some of the crew getting into camp at Va Ule Creek around 6pm and still having time for a quick swim (even though it was raining!).

All in all, we were quite lucky to dodge most of the rain, it starting most nights not long after arriving in camp, and stopping before things got flooded. Cool evening temperatures also offered a slight reprieve from the hot humid sun during the day.

As much as I knew everyone was having a great time, I sensed on day 8, everyone was quite ready for our adventure to be over, the final assault up to Ower’s Corner dragging out in the full sun is enough to break the strongest of minds! But soon enough, it was all over as the team walked together through the arches and crossed the finish line. There were handshakes, hugs and tears all round.

Standing at those arches, watching this group walk through, was the proudest moment of my guiding career, to see my parents, 7 years after making the promise to walk the track to visit their friends in Kagi Village, they’d finally done it, and performed exceptionally!

I’d like to personally thank everyone in the team for making this such a special trip, not only for me, but also for my family, and for yourselves. The friendships that were forged and strengthened in the jungle will never be forgotten!

DEC 2015