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  1. #1
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    KW walks the Kokoda Track

    About a decade ago KW walked the Kokoda track, the a place that holds a somewhat legendary status among Australians since the Japanese invasion force of 1942 landed in the North of PNG and intended an overland route to the capital, Port Moresby, via Kokoda. Because of this, it was the site of a number of significant engagements between the Japanese and Australian forces, and was captured and recaptured several times before the final Australian victory.

    More popular now, back then it was somewhat of an effort to organize a walk along the route, roughly a week or so is required, and the contours are damn steep and unforgiving. The route cuts over the Owen Stanley ranges that run along the centre of PNG.








    **These pics were taken on analogue film and have since been scanned, I suspect that the humid climate has caused damage, but then again my picture taking skills are not fantastic anyway**
    Last edited by kingwilly; 02-02-2010 at 11:11 AM.

  2. #2
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    Judging from the movie, it looks to be some extremely rough terrain. More so, I reckon, when you're sick or wounded, and carrying your mate.

  3. #3
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    Here is a picture of the coastline just near Port Moresby as we fly in.




    Port Moresby itself, is a dirty, nasty, dangerous city. We chose not to stay there for long. However, we did visit the war cemetery first.



    Mountains in the background.




  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton
    it looks to be some extremely rough terrain.
    Mate, it was, pure and simple some of the toughest walking I've ever down, gradients of 40-60 degrees most of the time, usually straight up, then down, then back up. Being hot and humid just compounded it.

    The pics do not really give it full justice, since it is hard to capture the 3 dimensional nature of the track in 2D

  5. #5
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    Due to safety and time constraints we chose to fly AirNugini over the first days, walk. That in itself was a scary prospect, but it did allow us to see the mountains from the air, next to us, not below!


  6. #6
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    Grass airstrip. We watched the plane take off again, just like the movies, the plane really did drop off the edge of the cliff, before climbing higher again!




  7. #7
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    A few of the locals met us when we arrived. I suspect it meant a free ride to Port Moresby.



    **This is a plane with apporx 25 seats i think.





  8. #8
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    and so we start off...



    and reached this cute little village after about one hour.


  9. #9
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    Later on the walks got steeper and wetter.



    at time we had to walk across rivers in make shift bridges tree trunks.



    other times, we had to go through the middle of the river using stepping stones.


  10. #10
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    looking back on others walking behind us.



    and sometimes see locals bathing in the rivers.


  11. #11
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    a welcome flat stretch and reminders of the war.




  12. #12
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    Bloody great thread KW and I have to jump in the car now to make the horrible trek to Bangkok but I'll be back to enjoy the rest of it later this evening!

  13. #13
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    Someone's put those ID stickers on backwards (either that or the photo has been scanned by a chimp).


  14. #14
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    bladdy pendantic dog.

  15. #15
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    DeHavilland twin otter

  16. #16
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    ^ is that a good thing or bad ?

    it was misty, but not cool, that little village was about 700 metres away took us 2 hours to walk to. (down, then up)



    This is my mates wife, she was looking a bit tired, but fair dues, she walked it all!


  17. #17
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    a lunch shelter the guides built to keep out of the sun, they just lopped up some trees or bamboo with machetes that they were all carrying and stretched out some tarpaulin.




    as i said before, seriously steep



    and thick jungly.



    cooking dinner at a night camp.


  18. #18
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    another part of the trek and we stayed in this luxurious village.



    that even had running water to bathe in.



    enterprising fruit seller.



    the end of the trek with Kokoda township in sight (and flat walking!)


  19. #19
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    We didnt stay in Kokoda, too dangerous, as it was we got held up by rascals on the way to Popondetta. They had jacknifed a truck accross the road leaving only one lane to get passed it, a tree trunk to serve as a boom gate, guards with presumably loaded shotguns and everyone had to pay.

    An idiot next to me took a picture of them and the set up..... he lost his camera.

    Anyway, once we got to Popondetta, there was a nearby village that was celebrating the opening of a new church, parties all round.



    traditional dancing and costumes for those that had them, others just wore blue jeans...










  20. #20
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    Each family had to bring some food and then it was all shared out, but first it lay on the ground with flies buzzing over it for a few hours first.

    Later in the day I saw one man attack another, apparently they were brothers and arguing about the food !





    selling betel nut



    a friendly family


  21. #21
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    Good thread KW. I always wondered what PNG was like. Now I know.

    BG

  22. #22
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    During the walk we came across the old foxholes in the ground dug there by soldiers 50 years earlier, sometimes small piles of the spent rounds could still be found and one of the guides even found an old rusted grenade, I took a picture, but not sure where it is yet. Also wasn't really keen to get too close to something like that.

  23. #23
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    Read the bone man of kokoda recently,great book.
    Old japanese ex soldier returns to PNG and searches for the bones of all his mates.

  24. #24
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    I just finished reading the memoirs of a USA Marine who talked a lot about this trail, nobody expected the Japs would be able to cross the trail fully armed and hauling war gear but the little buggers did it, there was some really intense battles before the Aussies prevailed. done some pretty tough hikes in my years and would love to try this one. Your packs are a little big for that type of hike but good job KW

  25. #25
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    The guides we used, wanted to play a game of Rugby in port moresby, the day after they left us in Kokoda, so apparently the walked back after dropping us. Took them in one day & night. (took us a week).

    And some of them were in barefeet.

    No wonder the 'fuzzy wuzzies' had such a great reputation.

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