It can’t get any better than doing the Kokoda Track with your son and also celebrating your 60th. Who else gets sung happy birthday by the wet and dirty group at 5.30am in the morning on the second day?
I finished the trek due to a couple of factors apart from my own fitness. First was the group themselves, both trekkers and the carriers. I lost count of the number of times climbing a hill when I could hear others calling out, especially Charlie, to keep going and to congratulate me and others like Fred and Bernie when we got to the top. When it got tough, a few words of encouragement meant a lot – the hills got a little bit smaller for a while.
Second was the help my carrier Stafi (Stafwood) gave me all the way. One step at a time and don’t look up – I’ll remember those words for the rest of my life. On the second last day we walked for about 9 hours to get from Templetons Crossing to Isurava. That was my hardest day and I believe I made it due to the support and help Stafi gave. I finished up giving him my boots, socks, shirts, headlamp and nearly everything else as thanks.
Third was Getaway Trekking. 14 trekkers was a good number the have in the group. Large enough to bond together but not so large that you got lost in the crowd. Getaway had the carriers walking with the trekkers which made a big difference both in supporting us but also in getting to understand their culture and families. I know this was especially true for Josh. We saw other companies that had the trekkers in one group and the carriers in another group following. Another positive was keeping the group together with a leader at the front and rear of the group. We walked as group and supported each other whereas we saw other groups spread out over larger distances and walking independently almost. Finally the trek leaders engaged with the group and were part of the “team”. I was interested in the historical significance of the trek and both Peter and Julie explained what had happened at certain locations and also showed us any points of interest. The service at Brigade Hill organised by Julie was a particular highlight as we were just about the only ones there at the time.
Anything to improve on? I understand sometimes the meals at night ran out before everyone, including the trek leaders, had eaten. The only other thing I can suggest is about the Kokoda Information Booklet you put out. It would be helpful to get an idea of the quantities you think need to be taken for items like Insect repellent (Bushman’s), water purification tablets and electrolytes. We took too much!
Response from Getaway Trekking: Thanks Bob for your feedback. We know food was an issue this trek, and we’re disappointed we didn’t reach the standards we expect each trek. As a result, we’ve brought forward our review of processes and believe we have identified and solved the problems. We’re really sorry for the inconvenience, but glad you enjoyed the trek. You and Josh were both great members of a fantastic group! Hope to see you again!