Glenn's Story

On the second day I nearly died, without my cpap machine (which I use for sleep apnoea) for the whole duration of the trail I struggled. I thought why the hell am I doing this for as I approached my tent and collapsed with exhaustion. I never even realised that my bro took my boots off to put near the welcoming fire to dry. The next day I somehow got up feeling refreshed, starving but refreshed, I convinced myself overnight to carry on remembering why I was here – to capture the spirit of Kokoda. I initially was going on my own to explore the fascinating landscape and all the stories it has to tell, thankfully my brother and his mate come along too, and thank god they did as they were great company. I’ve had the intention to walk the track for many years and finally brought the idea to fruition realising that I wasn’t getting younger – the time was now. Having read many books about the trail and gaining an understanding of what those poor soldiers went through to delay and finally push back the Japanese, it made me determined to tick this one of the bucket list.
Hats off to the porters, those guys are truly amazing and our group of 14 easily formed a special bond with all of them during the journey, I’d be stuffed without them – we all would. I couldn’t get over the Back Track group porters who were still cleaning up long after we had left and managed to pass us at lightning speed only to set up camp ahead of us awaiting for our arrival, bloody incredible. And of course a special mention to our personal porters who were there at our every beckon need and they made you feel really special. These guys are unbelievably strong, always there to help and provided great company and at times they would sing at night which provided soothing relief for us all. Andy the head porter provided a wealth of experience and kept everything in check – top bloke.
Brad from Back Track was our terrific team leader who had a wealth of knowledge and a background of experience you can only dream about. He was very supportive of our efforts to get from one side to the other and provided everything from a helping hand to mastering the technique of hanging around for us older slow coaches. He always had a positive attitude and kept us moving no matter how great the obstacle. At the conclusion of the trail he very kindly let me lead our team to the top of the hill only to witness a fantastic arch of arms our porters formed to welcome us with song – it was an extremely emotional moment, not only for me but for all of us.
Highlights – Bonding with my brother Peter and his mate Peter, Brad allowing me to play the Last Post on the harmonica at Brigade Hill which had set a very emotional scene, having a ‘spiritual’ guide to help me push through all what the trail had to offer (this may sound crazy but I had someone talking to me in my head the whole time to keep going no matter what, I think it was a Private McGuire from Victoria?? – a soldier from WW2) – yes I know it’s a bit odd but who knows. Made a few friends, respected the voracity of the porters and the simple life of the villagers, lived a bit of jungle life and camped for the first time in my life – I loved it all.
Most of all this adventure made me appreciate even more what our soldiers went through and how they suffered and endured all the hardships to fight to protect our country.
If you have ever thought about doing the Kokoda Trail then let nothing get in your way – you need to do this, I am glad I did. It gave me the Spirit of Kokoda.

JUN 2013