Home Forums Trek Survivors Kokoda Trekker Family Referrals From Our Family Of Trekkers 2004

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    We have just received feedback from our very first Japanese trekkers:

    Dear Gail

    I come back Japan safely, eat much foods and sufficiently good sleep,so my physical strength recover! I see your homepage,I and two my friends appear your homepage! Very good and cool!

    Thank you very much! Tomorrow I will show my friends and familly your homepage!

    Kokoda trail was very tough trekking, so when I finished trekking, I have deep emotion! I thank Russell and other porter for kindly. Of course I thank you for arrangements.

    Kind regards

    Keisuke Shimizu



    Hi Gail, I'm still a little out of it, but I'm back home. great to hear sean is doing well, if possible send him & others my best wishes. I left tuesday morning at 4:30 am- that's a.m,- flew to brisbane, then Auckland NZ & Los angeles & then finally chicago (28 hours later)- but man do I have great memories & things to talk about. I'll send you my photos tonight. all the best.

    Adam Brent, Chicago, USA

    2nd Message:

    Hi Gail, it's me again. actually, because of the internet everyone here was able to monitor my progress somewhat because you posted the 3 japanese trekkers photos so quickly- while i was still out on the trail, but everyone was able to see the photos of us and thus get an idea of where in the world i was. Also, last night jill and I were looking through a book that her press published on tropical plants & the stinger plant that hit myself, vanessa & vincent (& it does hurt) if it's not treated immediately with a simple anti-sting medicine (like bactine) can actually continue to hurt for up to a month afterwords! you might want to put that as an ingredient for everyone's medical kit, just a thought. Again, I had a fabulous time & probably won't stop talking about this for at least 2 years.
    thanks again for all your help.

    adam brent

    Photograph: Vanessa Frick (Australia) & Adam Brent (Chicago, USA) seen here taking a break during their Kokoda Adventure trek, March, 2004.



    Hi Gail, well, back to work now. Its been a little tough to re-adjust.

    Just wanted to thank you and the whole gang personally for a wonderful experience. (Hopefully the big toe nails will grow back soon).

    Can you please pass on my heart felt thanks and admiration to Russell, Justus and their entire trekking company especially Clive who was simply magnificent. Vanessa and I would not have finished had it not been for him.

    Could you please email your postal adddress as we would like to send over some clothing items etc for the boys.

    Thankyou once again.

    Best regards
    Ben O'Callaghan

    PS we're still working on the list for future trekkers – one thing would be only take a spoon and bowl.

    Ben in in the background on the left in this picture. L to Right,
    Sean Cartwright, Ben O'Callaghan and his girlfriend Vanessa Frick, Owen Gregory & Adam Brent:




    Dear Gail

    It's been a while since I came back here and resumed working. It feels like a long-time-ago trekking we had only a few weeks ago. Sayaka and I have looked at your web page with almost a daily basis and we really felt strong anxiety for Russel and his co-trekkers. The winds really have brown off houses and trees? Messages you updated today have brown off our anxiety !

    It was great to see Russel again sitting on a pick-up truck and we said "oh TAICHO is ok came back with a good shape." We've called him "TAICHO" and it means "captain" in Japanese. Taicho is a good word and has a kind of lovely passion towards a person called. We loved him and also had respect on him.

    We hardly imagine he's finished trekking again by now. From the best bottom's of our heart, we can say it was one of the greatest and unforgettable adventures we've ever had in our 26 and 23 years.

    Gail, we've got a question. Is it ok and not bothering you if we have some we'd like to give Russel or other porters, we can send it to you first and then you give it to a person we ask ?

    In a few years time, we'd like to come back to PNG and meet you, Russel, Sony, Tony, and John. They were perfect and had and have beautiful mind inside and we really missing you all not being with us now.

    Ok then, I'm gonna have sleep and work tomorrow again for future trekking !
    Hope you a good night

    Hiroya Imanaka

    HIROYA IMANAKA and SAYAKA IKEYA seen here at Jackson's Airport, Port Moresby shortly before they took off to Kokoda to walk the Kokoda Trail:



    Message from Chris Baker: Hi Gail,
    Thanks for the quick message. I know you're really busy, but I wanted to send you a big thankyou again for your hospitality while we were there, and especially for the effort you went to, putting on a bbq and making me (two!) birthday cakes for my fortieth birthday. It was a different but very warm experience, spending my birthday away from home, but feeling just as comfortable with those around me, as I would with my own family and friends. It really meant a lot to me. "Les" has had a shave and a haircut and is looking half respectful again! I told Jimmy I'll send up a copy of the video footage as soon as I can and I will be showing the photos on the website to my family this weekend. Thankyou and I'll be in touch soon. Chris Baker

    Email from Garth: Gail, We are back home again and wish to send our thanks for a wonderful time spent in PNG. We enjoyed getting the locals perspective on life there.

    Thank you for the use of the cars and staff to trip about and we are grateful for all Jimmys assistance.

    We hope to return and will see you then – Regards Garth

    Message from James Roach: Hi Gail,

    I would like to thank you again for the most amazing experience i have ever had. I have settled back into my normal life and I am seriously experiencing withdrawls from the track. Considering the pain it's amazing that one would miss it.

    Thanks also to the wonderful guides and porters who made the trip that much easier and also to the other trekkers, what a great bunch of people.

    Thanks again. james roach

    Photograph: Chris Baker front row on the left & Garth middle back row & James bottom right with other members of their trek seen here at the Gateway Hotel celebrating their achievement of walking the Kokoda Trail:



    Hi Gail, Now that everything has settled back down & I've caught up with all the work I missed out on while we were away, I thought I'd better send you a little email to say thanks & let you know how much we appreciate you & your team's kind & generous hospitality.

    Thank you so much for all you help leading up to our trek, when asked what we would have done different if we could go again – I honestly don't think I'd change a thing. Kokoda was an amazing experience & thanks to you, Jimmy, Eric, Glen & Noel, we will carry the whole cultural experience, that perfect memory, that inspiring insight into the trek's history & relish this new found confidence & sense of achievement for the rest of our lives.

    A couple of final issues before I go:

    We've all returned back to Sydney as mini celebrities thanks to your wonderful web site. I noticed that the web site has us down for completing the trek in 7 days. We actually completed the trek in 5 days (or 118 hrs), technically speaking… starting from Kokoda at 12pm on Sunday 11th & finishing a little after 9am on Friday 16th. I know this is very much only an ego thing but would it be at all possible to amend your records to show this true time? Thanks.

    Me & the boys are organizing some T-shirts to be printed up in commemoration of our trek. We promised Eric, Glen & Noel a T-shirt so would it be possible to mail these to you for them to collect the next time they're in POM?

    Finally, there is a fairly good chance that we will be back to do the trek again. I have already started to arrange for a slightly larger group of friends from my rugby club to walk Kokoda at the end of next year. Peter, James, Levi & I also think that with a bit more training, we could give those two doctors a run for their money & complete the trek in even less time! I will be in touch,

    Kind regards & all the best,


    Matthew Bollinger, Imports & Custom's Entry Manager, Bollinger Shipping Agency
    Email: matt@bollinger.com.au

    Photograph: Matthew Bollinger, Eric Uwea (Guide), James Joiner, Levi Broughten-Rouse & Peter Garforth seen here at Jackson's airport before heading out on the Kokoda Trail today 11th April, 2004.



    Hi Gail
    On the walk during conversations with John he mentioned to me to if I could give some of feed back on the walk, the porters the food and any other aspects or ways you could improve the walk at all.

    Firstly let me say the walk overall was one the best experiences of my life and my self I find It very hard to comment on ways of improvement at all. The only thing I could think of is that at certain times information passed to people may been historically incorrect and especially at certain locations were certain thing had taken place. If at stages the guide or tour leader could stop the walk to point out certain fact about the track during the war. Johnny in this case was invaluable and his knowledge of the track second to none. For me the food was outstanding and actually better then I thought we be eating, being ex military I pretty well expected very limited rations i.e. 2 minute noodles etc so nil complaints from me in that respect. And in fact the day one of the local villages arrived at our location with a bowl filled with Coke and Sprite is truly one of the best I have seen in a long time.

    I would have liked to had more time at the War Cemetery at Bomana but the security firm was on a schedule but not to worry I will arrange more time next visit.

    Finally I would once again thankyou and your staff everything and especially to all the Porters and John who I consider one of the finest bunch of people I have ever met. Please pass on my thanks once again.

    Matthew Barton



    Hi Gail

    I would once again like to thank you for the wonderful experience I have just had doing the Kokoda Trail. The organistation was excellent, Russell, Kingsley & the rest of the boys were great fun to be around & professional at the same time, always there to help & keeping us well fed! The hospitality shown on our first day at Kokoda was unexpected & very humbling. Your website is a real winner, very informative & easy to get around & your help both before, during & after the trek is very much appreciated.

    I wish you & Russell luck for the future, your product is great & real value for money. I'm sure things are going to get very competitive with the increasing numbers of trekkers & the other operators will be hard pressed to match you, good luck!!

    Thanks & Best Regards

    James seen here relaxing on the Kokoda Trail, July 2004:



    Thankyou for a fabulous experience:

    I am writing to express gratitude for allowing me the pleasure of taking part in a Kokoda trek. It was one of the most outstanding experiences of my life. The lads looking after us were without exception, kind, considerate, attentive and were always there to encourage and assist me at every turn. Whilst I have done plenty of camping, I am not an experienced trekker and prior to leaving had huge misgivings about my ability to complete the journey. With the boys encouragement and confidence I completed the trip astatic at the achievement.

    Wherever we went the villages were fantastic, the scenery stunning and the weather excellent. I was unable to obtain the names of all our porters. Could you send me their full names, I would like to record them on one of the group photographs. I will come back to New Guinea one day and would like to look them up if possible. Thankyou for a wonderful experience.

    Some feedback for other trekkers.

    For Victorians the weather in the high country was not cold. I used my track suit trousers and jumper on one occasion only. Sleeping backs do not have to be -0 as it never got anywhere near cold enough for alpine type bags.

    Nothing dried, some people had nylon tops and they seemed to be the best option. I washed my walking shorts and top each night and put them on wet in the morning. They dried within 10 – 15 minutes of walking with nil problems.

    I used cotton boot gaiters which were more than adequate. Others had large full length types which worked well.

    Two or three pairs of socks were adequate as nothing dries, it is irrelevant to have more. We dried them over the fire.

    Men should not wear jocks, all of us went without (freeballing) or used jockey shorts. I don't know what the girls used but I would suggest the equivalent.

    I used a cheep tent which I gave to my porter. I would suggest a can of water repellent would be sufficient to keep the water out. From what I could see hammocks would be difficult to erect and manage. On our trek it rained one night, the porters dug trenches around our tents and no one got wet. The porters slept under a open tarp with trenches dug around it and remained dry.

    Some people carried collapsible walking poles whilst the porters cut sticks from the bush for the rest of us. The sticks seemed to be at least as good as the poles and a lot cheaper. Some of us decorated our sticks with carvings etc and Phil washed his at the hotel. By cleaning it thoroughly he was able to satisfy customs and brought it home. I wish I had thought of it. It is now mounted on his wall.

    There were no mosquitos at Kokoda and the high country at all. At the Port Moresby end there were some but they were not a problem especially if your tent has netting built in.

    I carried 20 muesli bars to eat and a couple of packets of hard lollies which I often gave to the village kids. Others carried bags of nuts and dried fruit to eat and various give alway's like pencils, stickers etc. The kids loved them and they are light and cheap.

    Finally my advice to future trekkers is to take only that which is absolutely necessary. If you know you will use something ie cup, medicine, shirt then take it, if you think you might need an item ie 2nd shirt, spare knife, then think 10 times before taking it. If you're not wearing it, don't take it. From my observation virtually no one suffered from insufficient anything but plenty said they had too much.

    Thankyou for a wonderful trip.

    Garry Fair



    Hey Gail, just thought I'd send you a quick email to thank you for my Kokoda experience!

    The experience was truly worthwhile…of course only an after thought. I certainly didn't think that at the time. Eric and all your staff have been spot on!

    The friendships gained will be irreplaceable.

    Thank you.

    Sean Clifford
    Professional Bum

    Sean Clifford seen here receiving his Certificate of Achievement on Friday night 10th September, 2004.

    Sean sailed into Port Moresby on his 45ft yacht so he could walk the kokoda trail. He also gave his porters and guides the thrill of their life when he invited them all aboard his Yacht on Saturday night. They went back on the flight home today and were telling me all about it.

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