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    ….Eleven-year-old Kingsley Eroro followed in his fathers footsteps and walked the Kokoda Trail during the April School Holidays

    April 16, 2004 ? just eleven days before the ANZAC Day celebrations – eight trekkers from Australia headed out for Kokoda Trail on a nine-day trek.

    It seemed an important event since the trek was done in commemoration of the ANZAC Day which eventuated on Sunday, April 25. And no one knew better than, Emily Barr, Colin Mitchell, Garth Tuckey, Andrew Diduszko, James Roach, Murray Jones, Stacey Chesworth, and Chris Baker what it is like to remember the ANZAC heroes ?this? way.

    The team on the ANZAC trek posed for a group shot at Isurava



    But that is just one side of the story. What seemed even more remarkable about this journey was the presence of a young lad who accompanied the team from Kokoda all the way to Ower?s Corner.

    Eleven year old Kingsley Eroro who hails from Kokoda Station, Oro province, is probably the youngest PNG trekker ever to have walked the whole Kokoda Trail. It was only his first, but also a dream come true after so many years of idolizing his father as an expert trekker, guide and porter.

    Young Kingsley Eroro pictured here with his walking stick:



    This comes as no surprise, since kids in their growing stages tend to idolize their father and many would come to the sudden conviction that they will follow in their father?s footsteps. Kingsley has just begun to take his learning steps and already he dreams to carry on his father?s legacy one day.

    Kingsley?s father, Russell Eroro has walked more than 140 times and is arguably one of most experienced guides. Russell was trained by Clive Baker for more than 10 years and now runs his own trekking company Kokoda Trekking Ltd. One could say that he is the localized version of Clive Baker. His Uncle John (Derek) Eroro is also one of the most experienced Guides and a veteran of several hundred treks. In fact with the exception of one, all his Uncles and several cousins are also regular Kokoda Trail Porters & Guides. It is certain all their skills are being passed on to the younger Eroro.

    Kingsley on the trail with Garth Turkey and one of the porters:



    Since the age of 7, Kingsley had yearned to follow his father on the Kokoda Trail every time he went out with a group of trekkers. His father however, was too afraid as he was too small to do the trek. It was only this year and not until he turned 11, that Mr. Eroro decided that Kingsley should tag along.

    And young Kingsley did just that. He carried his own 10kg pack, with his sleeping bag, water bottle, clothing and some lunch in it and never burdened anyone for the nine consecutive days. He stayed by his father?s side all the way and tried to learn as much as he could from the trek.

    Kingsley arriving at the camp site with his pack on his back:



    ?I was so happy when my father finally told me to accompany them. This is something I always wanted to do and now that I did it, I am very happy,? Kingsley said.

    When asked about his trip, Kingsley said: ?I enjoyed it (trekking) very much I want to do often.? The dangerous terrain and steep slopes of Kokoda, didn?t even seem to bother him once, his father said.

    Still on the track, Kingsley had a moment with the international trekkers



    To do it again and perhaps often would be like taking after his father?s passion. Asked about his dream job, he said the only thing that was in his mind. ?I want to be just like my father.?

    Only time will tell but Kingsley sure wants to carry on the Kokoda dream. He is only a fourth grader at Kokoda primary school and soccer has become his nambawan sport. Just as well as he plays soccer he would like to excel in his treks ? something he deemed is worthwhile for the future.

    Like Father, Like Son…. Kingsley also spares a moment with dad and expert trekker and guide Russell Eroro



    What a great way to spend a school term holiday, out on the trail with international trekkers, away from home and enjoying every minute of it. All overseas tourists spoiled him rotten and he enjoyed every minute of it. At night he would join the other porters and guides and sing the trekkers to sleep as is their custom.

    To Kingsley it was a break well deserved and he could not wait to tell the rest of the story to his classmates back in Kokoda when he returned home on Sunday 25th April following the Anzac Dawn Service at the Bomana War Cemetery. Another highlight was his first trip into the big smoke ? the capital of PNG, Port Moresby. Kingsley also attended the Gunfire Breakfast at the Australia High Commission with other members of his fathers trekking team which was in itself a real eye opener for him.

    His father?s associate Gail Thomas (www.pngbd.com & http://www.kokodatrail.com.pg) also rewarded him with a brand new bicycle which he couldn?t wait to show off to his family and friends on arrival back in Kokoda.

    ?After the trek I felt convinced that I can take up the trek any time. I want to be a guide just like my father,? Kingsley said with a strong conviction.

    When asked how Kokoda compared with Port Moresby, he remarked?.there are a lot more shops!


    At the end of the trek at Ower's Corner…Kingsley is pictured with the rest of the team:



    Editors Note; Kingsley is now a couple of years older and has just experienced his first trip to Australia with his father. He has also walked the track now 3 times.

    Kingsley and Russell Eroro – January 2007:



    He couldnt believe how you could sit for hours and hours inside a car that never seem to run out of road.

    Kingsley is indeed being groomed to help his father run Kokoda Trekking in the long term.

    Photograph: Kingsley in the back of our car when we drove from Melbourne to the Gold Coast in January 20087:



    are there any original "fuzzy wuzzy's" alive still? can you meet them along the track?

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