Kokoda - Day 8 - September 11th 2018

I shouldn’t be thinking that this is a day of lasts, but it is, the last full day of trekking, last day setting up camp, our last dinner on the track, last wash in the creek, so many lasts and a lifetime of memories!

Now today, oh today it was a fun day… 300m straight up out of camp and that is tough on the lungs first thing in the morning, but the next best part was the long 700m downhill that seemed to go on forever. I was walking with the team at the back and we were making our way up and down, taking in the different types of mud and jungle around us and as Simeon caught up to me we then ‘pulled away’ and walked and chatted our way down to Ofi Creek, it was special to be able to have that time and also to feel like there was no one else on the track. Simeon and I did this quite often over the trek and I really treasured the time we had, it felt like two friends out for a trek and then we would get to our destination and see the rest of the crew.

Getting to Ofi Creek was amazing, apart from the downhill that just kept on going once we got there it was such a pretty setting with everyone hanging out at the rivers edge, the butterflies dancing around and the river converging and meandering downstream, it would have been a great spot for a picnic. After a refreshing ‘boots off’ walk through the river, which I deliberately did very slowly and carefully, we had some time to chill before hitting the trail again.

And hit the trail we did, after a funny moment where Lisa held us all up as she couldn’t get up the first rock and boy did the Porters give Lisa’s Porter a hard time, but he was well up the track and likely wouldn’t have heard. I told Simeon I would ‘race him’ to the top, baring in mind this climb was about 300m but had 9 false peaks (I’m sure I counted 12!)… I did however beat Simeon to the top it’s just he gave me a 45 min head start…

Now that we had come up 300m it was time to, you guessed it, go down 300m to Loribaiwa Village and it was fun! Some of the hardest downhill in mud on the track and at one point Simeon showed me how the guys normally go down and he flew! If I had tried something would have broken. Along with our adventures of walking downhill in mud, Simeon came through on his Day 2 promise of finding me a Bird of Paradise and sure enough found one up in the tree, now I had to be super quiet as he tried to get it to come closer but it was stubborn. I was super happy though to see one as I had heard them all day and would continue to.

On getting into Loribiwa Village we were met with a 3 or 4 year old swinging a machete and a wide open expanse of land, which meant we had more downhill to go after lunch and then into the river! After lunch I was cruising down the hill and wondered where Simeon was as I was stopping to look for birds and butterflies were dancing around us, when I suddenly saw a flash coming down the hill and within seconds he was with me and super worried, turns out one of the team had told him I fell - aka practical joke time! It was funny watching the team personalities come out more as we got towards the end, they went from being quiet and serious to joking and funny.

Once we hit the bottom it was time to switch the boots and socks for sandals and hit the river crossings to Ua Ule Creek, this was so good and even though I managed to slip and bruise my knee and knuckle the feeling of walking through the water was just perfect and Ua Ule Creek camp so pretty!

And this is where we had a few lasts, the swim in the creek, setting up our tents (well the inside as the boys set the tents up), Barbara’s birthday cake that was made over the fire! And then we were treated to our crew singing to us, and I won’t lie it brought a tear or two to my eyes and then again on the plane home when I decided I needed memories (never a good plan for me!). The harmonies the team have is just so beautiful, the hymns that they sing magical and some are in English and some in Motu, I won’t forget the sounds and the beautiful souls who looked after us.

Now it’s time for sleep and the feeling of knowing we have nearly completed this exceptionally hard trek (I googled and one article said the 10th hardest trek in the World!) and also realising that until we step through the arches at Owers Corner there is no relaxing, we have one last day ahead of us and it will take all our concentration.

New Nauro to Ua Ule Creek
Approx 20km in 10 hours