Kokoda - Day 2 - September 5th 2018

Our trek from Hoi to Isurava was simply beautiful!

It’s hard to describe the view from Deniki that greeted us after our first climb, nor the stunning jungle we walked through as we climbed up or dropped down to a river, only to go up again, to have our first river crossing on logs and to see a Ulysees butterfly dancing around me as I climbed. All day I just couldn’t get over the beauty, the colours of the jungle were so vibrant, the rivers so refreshing, and the sounds magical. In one day we saw the amazing trumpet trees, beautiful sunrise and sunset, picked out planets and star constellations and saw children playing with knives…

This day was the day I found my ‘trekking legs’, I learnt to slow down and take small steps and to really take in the journey as I went along. Each step had to be considered and if a photo was to be taken then I had to stop to take it, I wasn’t going to forget a moment of this journey - nor get injured doing it.

As we climbed Simeon patiently walked with me and made sure I was ok as we climbed up and up and up some more, and then of course down and down, before back up. My brain clicked into the routine that was if I heard a river we would soon have a downhill, which was followed by an uphill to a well earned rest stop.

There was no doubt that day 2 was a mentally and physically challenging day, however, I never once thought that I couldn’t do this and just put my head down and tackled the climb one step at a time.

It was today that I realised all my training was coming into play and if I made it to camp then I’d be ok for the rest of the trek, little did I know that that is what Simeon and the crew were thinking as well. They were worried I wouldn’t make it and realised by the end of the day how strong and fit I was, and Simeon told me the next day that they all knew I would walk out at Owers Corner.

A funny moment for this day, kinda related to the above, was when the PNG trek leader for another trekking group said to me ‘doing well big girl, doing well’ as I stood and let them pass, and it made me think that if I was called ‘big girl’ back home there would be hell to pay, I would likely replay the words in my head and get wound up about it, but this day I just said thanks and knew it wasn’t meant with any ounce of negativity.

As we walked I thought about the crew, they always seemed to be smiling, some were more likely to talk than others and all had a story to tell, I found out today that Simeon was the 2nd youngest of 8 and had left school in Port Moresby to go back to Efogi (the halfway point on the track) to look after his parents, where he then met and married Jenny. The Koiari people were just beautiful, so gentle, kind, welcoming and always had a smile, they seemed so content and happy with this life they lived and it taught me a lot.

That night we stayed in Isurava, a beautiful campsite and location so steeped with meaning, and also a really good ‘long drop’ toilet more on these later, and as we watched the sunset, analysed the stars and then headed off to bed the crew sang and these moments were definitely a highlight for me. The beautiful sound of 20+ men harmonising around the fire, singing beautiful hymns and needing nothing more than their voices was simple perfection, and we were treated almost every night to the crew singing or singing to us and this is a memory I will never forget.

Day 2 - Hoi to Isurava
Approx 15km and 9 hours trekking