Greenpeace pulled into port last night. They are moored just below us.
This morning was a very early start for a long drive to the Owers Corner. This is the end of the Kokoda Track closest to Port Moresby. Our driver, Sandra, is a local from the area. Jack – our security, followed in a separate vehicle. We called into a market – PAU (Pacific Adventist University) Market. A food market, all grown or cooked by the employees of the University as a means of supplementing their income. From there we continued our drive. Very steep, narrow and winding roads, with numerous burnout vehicles which looked like they had rolled down the side of the mountain, littering the side of the road. Not the most relaxed drive. Also – why is it that no matter how remote you go some idiot with a spray can has been there before you? Once we turned down the dirt track that took us to Owers Corner, we started to pass through little villages, occasionally slowing to wave at Sandras’ cousins. There quite a few groups of people when we got to the site, some had just completed the walk, some just starting, and a few like us on a day trip. We planned to walk about 40 minutes along the trail to the river and return the return should take about 2 hours. Optimistic! It had rained the night before so it was muddier than we had hoped (it hasn’t rained in Port Moresby for weeks) and it was red sticky mud that clogged up the treads on your shoes. It was quite cloudy and reasonably pleasant when we started down the hill. It was only a couple of minutes and the combination of the steepness of the track and the vegetation blocked everything from view. I was the first casualty, slipped on an exposed tree root and landed on my butt, banging my elbow in the process. Slipped my way upright (eventually) and we continued on. The further down the track the worse the path became, leaves, mud, exposed roots. Jane was the next casualty – lucky hers was just a long slide in the mud. Made the decision that we had gone far enough, we had on the wrong footwear, and had nothing to prove. Problem was Jane was still standing wear she stopped, luckily Jack had come on the walk with us as he had to help her out. It was that slippery she couldn’t get back up the hill. During the time we had been walking the sun had come out, I’ve always felt that going up hill was easier than going down hill (that’s what my creaky knees tell me anyway). And it was easier on my legs but OMG the sun & humidity. We did make it back to the top, resting to get our body temps back down, and heart rates below stroke level, along the way. But I have to tell you I don’t know how the diggers did it, day in day out.
After having some food, drink and photo ops we left and headed back home. Stopped at Saigeri Hotel for lunch, where a lot of the people who do the full track stay either at the start or finish of their walk.
Was a bit daring on the way down the mountain and got out of the car at an unscheduled stop. A photo opportunity that I didn’t want to miss. There was a bit of calling out and attention seeking from the people in the area (Highlanders!) but it turned out they just wanted to have their photo taken. Naturally I obliged. Poor Jack, may have given him a heart attack. Because we had stopped so suddenly his car was in front of our car, but by the time I had taken my photos – he’d moved his car in behind ours and was right behind me. For the record – I did clear it with our driver that it was ok to get out.
Next stop for the day was the War cemetary, if you can see beauty in a cemetary, it was beautiful. Peaceful and moving. We spent a short while walking around their and reading some of the monuments before heading back into town.
Another stop at the supermarket to pick up apples. Jack left us at the Supermarket, he was only responsible for us outside of town. Home then for a swim in the pool and a sleep before going out to dinner tonight.