James Passmore - Year 11
Pittwater House Student Treks Kokoda
The Harbord Diggers recently sponsored Year 11 student James Passmore to walk the Kokoda track along with 46 others. The 12 day trip included 9 days trek through the Owen Stanley Ranges from Ower's Corner to Kokoda via the original war time trial. The trek challenge Jame's physical, mental and immune systems' strength.
The Trek in Jame's words:
This opportunity pushed me well beyond my comfort zone and deep into the natural environment with limited radio contact with the outside world. During my time in the untamed jungles of PNG I was able to build lasting friendships, learn about the history of the track and some of the characters involved and disconnect from technology. The days were long, hot and humid with a wash in a river at the end of each day to help with the up keep of personal hygiene.
The days started to blend together and fell into a routine, up at 5am, 5:30am breakfast; 6am start trekking, 10:30 morning tea, 1pm lunch, 4-5pm reach camp and wash ourselves and our clothes, 6-7pm dinner then straight to bed. Meals included Weetbix or muesli breakfasts, Vita Weats and two minute noodles done in a variety of ways for lunch and for dinner it included rice, pasta or two minute noodles done in a variety of ways (always opposite to lunch).
The dawn service at the Isurava memorial is so unlike any dawn service in Australia, as I was standing on the actual battle site, having trekked seven days along the same track set by the Australian forces in order to reach it. During my trek I lost six kilos, mainly through sweat and by the end of it there was a noticeable difference in my fitness, also because the track flattened out, but that's beside the point. The flight back over the ranges was bitter sweet, it was relieving to know that we've just completed the track, but it was depressing to know that it was only a half hour flight back to Port Moresby.
The highlight for me was when two Australian Army Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopters landed at the Isurava memorial campsite. We were able to get up close, ask questions and sit in the cockpit and main cabin, before watching them take off and perform low flying pass overs in the valley. Playing touch footy with some of the locals was a refreshing break from the routine of trekking and a swim at Eora Creek campsite, which is the best swimming spot along the entire track, was another highlight of this adventure.
This was a rewarding and worthwhile trip and I encourage anyone who gets the opportunity to do it; to take it with both hands.