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    Alison Anis

    AN outrageously stupefying outdoor adventure is what you're in for if you are deciding to do the Kokoda Trail.

    As a renowned war path during World War II in 1942 the trail crosses the Owen Stanley Range from Ower?s Corner near Port Moresby until it reaches the small village of Kokoda almost 100 kilometres away.

    Trekking the Kokoda Trail is probably one of the unique and best experiences you will ever come across when adventuring into the renowned trekking site.

    To this very moment I count myself very lucky to have walked and completed the 94 kilometer WWII renowned trail. In fact I still see that as a great achievement in my lifetime – one will never forget quickly.

    Our flight to Kokoda, located in the inland area of Papuan Region was probably just as exciting as the trek itself. While on board we enjoyed glimpses of numerous steep slopes of lofty mountains and perilous falls along the Owen Stanley Ranges – some mountains rise as high as 3,000 meters. The highest mountain is Mount Victoria which reaches almost above 4,000 meters high.

    No one spoke for some minutes as we neared Kokoda. We observed silently and with trepidation the hazardous views below us. All those mountains made me think that 'there was no way I was going to make it to the top and back to Owers Corner.'

    I guess every one of us who were new to this experience probably harbored the same thoughts though nobody blurted out.

    But when we touched down at Kokoda airport my previous fears went into hiding and enthusiasm took charge. I found out that I was certainly looking forward to the nine-day trekking with a team of four who came from Australia – one of them was Great Britain?s former Olympian gold medalist and middle distance runner Steve Ovett.

    My trip was made possible through Richard Thompson. As much as he wanted to Richard could not make it to the trek so I volunteered to walk in his place. It was his idea to raise funds for Bloomhill Cancer Care Help Centre at Sydney?s Sunshine Coast. So in order to help him realize his dream, Ovett and the rest of the team, John Thompson (Richard's brother), Ross Eason and Geoff Campbell agreed to a nine-day trek along the arduous trek.

    Imagine 65 years ago, thousands of wounded, sick and perhaps starving soldiers walked the same track today. These people unlike modern trekkers were either running away in fear or charging on their enemies. The soldiers lived in fear knowing that someday they will have to meet their fate. And inevitable death is what most of the Australian and Japanese soldiers had to face while battling each other along the hazardous Kokoda Track.

    As a modern trekker I had all the time, there were no fears of soldiers. I guess the only fears had would be for leeches – or how I dreaded them.

    It was late in the afternoon, on the 7th day of our trek when we reached Naduro, a neat village with cultivated colourful flower beds. What hit me about this place was its spectacular surroundings. Totally encompassed by mountains and crowned with beautiful lowland views, Naduro to me was chokingly beautiful. Up here, I felt like a conqueror – the world?s greatest. That moment, I wished I had wings.

    And For the first time in my life – I was thankful that I had a pair of eyes that could see.

    I stood there for a moment – there was no need to rush- and like some starved child hungrily taking in everything around me.

    Everyone who has done the Kokoda trek has his/her own experience and theirs is not the same. But at the end what do they get?.a sense of fulfillment, of achievement, some have overcome their fears, others have discovered their inner abilities, some because of personnel reasons and the list goes on!

    I too have had my share of pain along the trek and while it can be pleasing sometimes, there times you will grind your teeth and wish you have never been there. However at the same time you can be able to see for yourself what it was like during the war and at the end of your journey when you will have complete Kokoda trek. That moment is the climax of the journey – you will feel like a conqueror.

    That is the beauty of Kokoda.


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