An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Kokoda Calling

Got a call today from Emanuel, our guide for the Kokoda Track. Not entirely unexpected considering we kept on talking about doing the Black Cat track together sometime around September.

I am still keen and willing - even bought the topographical maps for the area - but I am now running out of available time. The best time to do it is before October/November when the rains will start, unfortunately September seems to booked with other activities that I want to do, and I only have a certain amount of holidays left that can go around.

Emmanuel did have another thing to discuss and that was something we briefly talked about on the track. He is keen, like a few people I have talked to, to get himself a website. He considers himself a qualified guide (and I would agree) and wants others to come and use his service. The only thing is letting others know about him, hence the website. I have told him about things like domain names and web space, I think though it may have gone over his head, but he did understand the on going cost involved for it.

He is still keen though so I am getting him to give me a write up about himself and what he can offer and then that can be looked at converted into a site. In the meantime if anyone wants to privately walk the Kokoda, let me know and I will put you in touch with him. Highly recommended.

For the long term readers of this blog you may remember me harking on about setting up another website for the Morobe Bike Club a while ago, well this seems to have fallen through the floor after my buddy (and former workmate) in the club got the sack. I hardly see him anymore, which is a shame as he also wanted to hike the Black Cat with me.

And speaking of Kokoda, this weekend is the inaugural Super 24 Hour Kokoda Challenge (I can't find a dedicated website for this to link to), for the seriously fit and insane who actually would be brave (stupid) enough to do this. Last year a Queensland madman with the name of Brian Freeman managed to run the track in a record time of 24 hours and 59 minutes. This year the Papuan New Guineans want to take back the record.

After struggling over the thing in seven and half days, and that being one of the most physically demanding things I have ever done, kudos to anyone who can actually run the whole way, let alone in 24 hours. In case it needs to be spelled out, there is a reason why this is a serious challenge. It's not because of the length - 96km is a fair distance, but only twice as long as a marathon, and they get done in less than three hours regularly enough - it's because of the terrain and climate. Mountains, roots, slippery rocks, rivers, creeks, heat, humidity. Respect.

Unfortunately Emanuel also had some sad news to tell me. After completing the track we went and visited his wife and five month old baby son at the Port Moresby General Hospital (what a dreary and squalid place if I have ever seen one. I don't like hospitals at the best of times, especially now after seeing this decrepit place). His son had a heart condition. Poor tyke. The only thing he did when we saw him was cry. Now it seems that he hasn't made it through and passed away sometime later. Who knows if this could have been preventable.