Peter 's Story

I recently trekked with Escape Trekking Adventures in August last year. The trip was an Australian led expedition which I highly recommend as the guide coordinates the entire trip for you.

Prior to the trip my mate Robert and I contacted the 39th battalion association and had an add placed in their Good Guts newspaper to the families of the serving diggers who wished for us to visit the location of the fallen relative, place something in honor or just capture some photos for them.
We received a reply from one family the relations of Pvt Donald Howlett who was MIA in the battles for Kokoda on the near by airstrip.
After meeting our Australian guide we spoke about our story and he arranged for us to visit the location of the airstrip.

There was an eerier feeling as we stood in the location where Donald went missing in 1942, as Robert and I took some photos of the location to share once we got back home.

The food we received on the trip was a huge shock as I only expected boiled noodles and soup but we indulged in pizza’s, rissoles, banana bread, pancakes and spaghetti bolognaise to name a few.

The Porters we had were amazing and my porter Caro was 2 steps behind me the entire trip to aid with assistance whenever I required it. I quite often thought as we approached the local boys on the track that they looked so scary to encounter but as you got close they would beam the most friendly and inviting smile as I felt they genuinely were happy to see us.

As the trip progressed we learned more and more about the diggers who fought there and began to understand some of their sacrifices they had made.
One story of the Bissit brothers really hit home about the extremely cold reality of war was really heart breaking.
Each day as a group we learned more and more about each other and as anyone who has trekked Kokoda will understand you become more like family and best mates at the conclusion of the trip.

When we reached Owers’ Corner an immense feeling of achievement enveloped us and I never felt so proud of Robert and the rest of our team as we stood upon the conclusion of the track and completed the formalities with the photographs.

From here we traveled in to Bomana cemetery and gazed at the over wheeling sight of all of those head stones, Australia’s fallen hero’s. Of particular interest to Robert and my self was the monument to the missing war dead, we reached this place and this saw the conclusion of our dedicated trip to Donald Howlett as we placed a poppy upon his name of the pillars of remembrance.

Once back in Australia we sent Donald’s family the pictures and stories of our epic journey to them in hope of providing them some small piece of closure to them.
Now members of the 39th Battalion association we were shocked to receive a copy of the good guts newspaper to read a thank you story from Donald’s family to Robert and I as this held so much meaning and emotions to them.

Robert and never set out to seek public gratitude for our offering but it was one of the proudest moments in our lives knowing we had given something to a family that meant so much to them.

I would recommend the walk (pilgrimage) of the Kokoda track to every Aussie and would toughly recommend Escape Trekking Adventures to facilitate the trip for you as their attention to detail really makes the experience exceptional.

APR 2013