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35 - 44 Year Old Testimonials


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#1 Boss Meri

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 12:31 AM

If you have trekked with Kokoda Trekking and you fit into this age category, please post here as it would be very much appreciated so that other potential trekkers can read your honest comments.

To post, you first have to register.  Once you have completed your registration you can log in and post your comments by clicking on the 'Add Reply' button; type your testimonial and then click the 'Add Reply' button. At this point, your message will be uploaded onto our website.

Wherever, possible please state your trek number and date that you walked with Kokoda Trekking Ltd (KTL).  rolleyes.gif Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback.

Kind Regards
Kokoda Trekking Ltd (KTL)

Gail Thomas (Boss Meri)
Someone asked me last night what my pen name stands for.  The answer:  in pidgin Meri translates to 'woman' which makes me the 'Boss Woman'.  Russell, my business partner is the 'Boss Man'

#2 Boss Meri

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 10:52 PM

Gail I have just arrived back in cold, rainy Melbourne and I just wanted to let you know that I had the most wonderful experience on Trek 429. It is a time that I will never forget and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to do the trek with my brother Jim.

John our guide was just fantastic and his knowledge and leadership helped make the trek the wonderful experience that it was.

Jenen my porter was amazing and his care and encouragement was really made the trek for me. I will email you later in August to ask how he went in the race. I really hope that he does well and breaks the record - go Jenen!!! All the porters were so friendly and nothing was too much for them.

When we needed a hand they were there to help and support us. At the end of each day they made sure that we had water and did not relax until they knew that we were settled. I feel that I have made new friends and I can't wait to return and meet them again.

The food was great, better that I was expecting and the fact that we all shared our food with John and the boys  and ate with them also added to the experience. Robert was a wonderful cook and John purchasing food and herbs from the local villages added beutiful taste to the food every night.

I really enjoyed our evenings and singing with the boys. We learned new songs. I have taken the words down so they will never be forgotton.

Thank you again for providing such a wonderful service and I am so happy that we booked our Trek with you. I will be telling all my friends how great you are and I hope that you will get extra bookings.

Goodbye for now and I hope that we will meet again soon.

Gena
Trek 429

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#3 KarenT

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 03:34 PM

Hi everyone, My partner and I completed the Kokoda trek with KTL at the end of June this year.  I have to say I would not have been able to make it if it was not for our wonderful porters.  On the second day I felt bad, the malaria tablet I took in the morning did not fell like it went down properly and then I got a migraine!  My partner had also hurt his knee on the first day so we were both feel fairly ordinary when we got to camp and without our porters help we would not have got there.  

After the second day I was right, fighting fit, but Steven’s knee still troubled him for the rest of the trip.  When we were planning the trip we wanted to take our own packs, but after reading this site and much discussion we decided to use a porter.  I am so glad we made that decision, not only because it made things easier for us but it gave us the opportunity to get to know someone local to PNG i.e. our porters Brendan and Lanny.  They gave the trip a more personal feel, they could tell us about the local plants, animals and people.  

The porters took very good care of us and I always felt safe (even when the track only as wide as my foot).  There was also song and laughter along the way, but when we did a river crossing they were very serious and our safety was uppermost in their minds, they took the responsibility of our safety very seriously.

There were only four of us on our trek which was great, we had not met the other couple before the trek but have kept in contact since.  We did pass others with a lot more people in them and did not fancy being with them.

The villages we stayed in were always well taken care of and maintained and it was nice to have a mattress and pillows sometimes.  We always felt welcome at the villages and were treated to good local produce along the way.

Thanks KTL for a great trip that will always stay with us.

Karen
Trek 421

Editors Note:  Brendan Buka, Karen's porter is well known around here as the TREK CHAMPION who holds the record in both directions in a time of 17 hours +   No doubt Karen will be waiting for an update come the end of this month to see if Brendan can win again or is someone going to beat him this year round and take his crown away.  Brendan is on the left hand side in the back row in this group photograph.

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#4 Boss Meri

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:28 PM

Dear Gail, Thank you for the follow up. Because I HAD SUCH A WONDERFUL experience on trek 423 ,I am going to bring my 2 boys back in 2010,It has been really hard to describe to people what it was like and you then have the problem of not going on and on about it, which is what I find my self doing. All of the boys that were with us were just wonderful and could not do enough to help, and truth be known I miss there smiling faces and there laugh and the ukulele ,with all of the boys singing us to sleep. I have come back a changed person, unsettled and the strong need to go back. I am hoping that my boys get as much out of the trek as what I have.

I have no doubt they will because I know your boys will always be there to help them when we come back. I am working on a few other people as well to come back with me. Kristy and I have been a walking and talking advertisement for you guys and your company .Thank you again for a wonderful experience.

As time gets closer I will be in touch about 2010.When we come back could we have the same group of guys? I will make shore that there are no blue pegs for Andrew to watch out for . The only thing that may be a problem , is my 2 boys have an allergy to wheat but between us we should be able to work something out .

Thank You again and I will keep in touch.

Julie Davis
Trek 423

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#5 janeboz

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 12:49 PM

I struggled firstly where to post this, As I could have put it into the life changing experience, but opted to go with the 35-44 as I turned 45 this week, I thought I would sneak it in. I walked the track last year in April '07 for Anzac day at Isurava.  Before I left I was really nervous about a lot of things, whether I would make it, if I would be safe from the wild savages, the list went on.

We had heard incredible horror stories before leaving & in the end I emailed Gail with all of these questions & worries. She put my mind to rest with all of them. I can tell you now not one of them was true, I had the time of my life.I never once felt unsafe, sure it was hard yakka, but I had the 'Best Porter you could have had, My man Freddy looked after me every step of the way & we had lots of fun too trying to understand each other.

Since I did the trek I have been back twice for a weeks holiday to stay with Freddy's family, which is mine now too & with some of the other guides families. Apart from the trek itself the interaction you have with the Papua New Guinean's was the most rewarding thing.

Other treks that we came across, there porters did not have the interaction with the trekkers, I know that they would not have had anywhere near the great time we had, singing together at night etc.

Well I am off on Thursday 21st August' 08 for  my second trek, we decided this time to give something back to these amazing people & raise money for the Kokoda Primary school, so have a look for us. Trek 447.

Then I will update in another catergory, as then I will be too old for this one.

Best wishes
Jane Boswell
Trek 296 and soon to be Trek 447

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#6 Boss Meri

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 12:48 AM

Danny Burns: One of the best experiences of my life.  Every day was a different challenge.  I can not speak more highly of our porters and guide David.  Everything was taken care of and organised properly.  Could not have had a better trip.

Adam Forde: An amazing experience.  I found it physically and mentally challenging but came through with the help of the 'A' team.  David, Ross, David and Dominic have been amazing and have made the trip more worthwhile.  One of the best experience of my life!

Nick Forde: One of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my life.  While being physically challenging, the professionalism of David and his team, made the experience far more enjoyable.  It's an experience I will never forget!  Thanks to the 'A' team and we will see you on the next Oro.

Alex White: What an amazing experience! both physically and mentally challenging which has resulted in a very rewarding experience and a great achievement.  I have been on many tours in many countries around the world.  The team of porters and guide we had on this trek have been the best I have come across.  They did everything possible to ensure we enjoyed our time and experienced the culture of PNG.  

Finally I now have a much better appreciation of what the diggers of WWII experienced.

Philip West: The most challenging and rewarding experience of my life.  The porters and guide made the difference between walking Kokoda and enjoying 'Kokoda'.  My highest praise goes to David, Ross, Dominic and Daniel as we could not have asked for a better trek.

Trek 301:

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#7 Boss Meri

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 12:55 AM

Glenn Parker: the level of friendship and the overall experience of the journey through some of the hardest terrain and personal sweat was made bearable by your group.

A changing environment, from wet to dry was great and seeing how people survive in the highlands was very interesting.

Glad I was here to see this.

Thanking you, Glenn Parker - Trek 294
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Grant Colman: this being my second trek, I was surprised by experiencing a totally new experience with weather and sights.  Being 2 years older I found the trek that little bit harder, although still finishing on time with the superb help of Rod and all the KTL porters.

Once again, Rod was excellent in his lead of the trek and creating a musical and friendly environment.

A big thanks! Grant Colman - Trek 294
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Mark McGrane: firstly I would like to thank Rod and his boys for there unending help, attention, kindness and full time entertainment (ie singing and jokes).

When I was in trouble walking, Pius (my porter) was always close by too help.  A big THANK YOU, and also to all the other KTL boys who helped me at different times, thank you.

It has been the biggest single experience of my life to see life in another example.

At times when I was suffering it would not have been possible to get through without the help and encouragement of the boys, again thank you and may the future be good to all the boys and your country.

Mark McGrane, Trek 294
PS  and thank you for carrying our packs and feeding us 'Very Well'.
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Peter Mundey: an absolutely inspirational and unbelievable experience.  Words can't describe the joy and happiness I will take away from this trek.

The level of care and concern I got after getting sick on the second day from Rod and the KTL boys, was an eye opener and over the top.

To Joey (my personal porter), I can't speak more highly of his friendship and concern.  He was like my shadow and treated me like one of his family.

The boys have catered for us along the track and also at night with their music and laughter and the interaction of us all.

I leave here with a bond of mateship and friendship that I will have forever.

Peter Mundey, Trek 294
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Mark Goodear:

"Fantastic", great care and friendship given, will recommend to anyone!

Mark Goodear, Trek 294

Group Photograph taken in Kokoda before the commencement of their trek:

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#8 Boss Meri

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 09:19 AM

Hi Gail,   I just want to say Thank you very much for a great adventure. All the guys on the team had a great time and some have even changed their views on PNG, all thanks to you Russell and a great team of guides and porters. Andy, our historian was quite emotional as we retraced the battles of the Aussies and the climax was the final resting place of some of the brave men at Bomana. We definitely will not forget this trip for a long time.

Keep up the good work

Cheers....Tico
Trek 19

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#9 kristi-does-kokoda

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 08:03 PM

smile.gif Dear Gail and KTL boys on Trek 423 (July)

It has been 5 weeks since my return from Kokoda and there is not a day that goes by that I dont stop and think of the experience. It is my every thought. A journey that has made me want to go back again and again.

As I said to you Gail on the night of our debriefing  I have never felt such a sense of empowerment than that of the final night in Kokoda and how I learned comraderie still exsists between fellow country men of all walks of life and race.

With my pack firmly fastened to my back and the reluctance to let it go, the faith of the boys in particular(Andrew) who understood the personal importance of me completing the trek with my pack help me to acheive this.

The trail evoke thought processes of how I wanted my life to be different, how I wanted my life to be purposeful and not be in vain, what are we all here for on this earth. How the simplicites of life can make you feel so happy and fulfilled.

I felt for our forefathers who walked that trail harder than anyone ever would again, how thankful I was for the fuzzy wuzzy angels who guided them.

"I had my own angel in Andrew"

I heard your plight of Kokoda and admired your great work, how far you have come and you yourself are an inspirational woman.

Above all I would recommend KTL without hesitation, the trek was an experience of a lifetime and I will be back in the near future.

My heart remains forever in Papua's Mountains.

Thankyou Gail, KTL trekking and to those Angels who quided us so brilliantly.

Kristi, Trek 423
xxxxx

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#10 Boss Meri

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 04:53 PM

Gail,

Just a short note to exopress my gratitude to your organisation and particulary the boys that helped us through.

David was a sensational leader, his knowledge of the military aspects was spot on and his preparedness to get on the front foot and engage with us was greatly appreciated. Obviously his teaching background has given him the confidence to talk positively in new people settings.

Silas, Clement and John's english is very good and should they study the military aspects and gain David's level of confidence I'm sure that in time they will be excellent leaders as well. I can't see why anyone would want an Australian as a lead if the boys can get to David's level.

All in all the effort by the boys was great - the new guys, Faithful and Ross were great additions, they obviously found it tough but they soldiered on without complaint and they are genuinely nice guys and enjoyable to have a chat with.

As you forewarned, the boys were all very genuine, humble and nothing was too much for them. Several of us, but particularly Leon (my brother) and I were very keen to mix with the boys as equals and to learn about them and their lives. From this we took away an awful lot from the trek.

If I can gather some footwear together, could I send it to you in Port Moresby for distribution to the boys of trek 450?

Regards,

Neil MacLaren
Trek 450

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#11 Boss Meri

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 05:22 PM

Hi Gail, I wanted to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the most wonderful/amazing holiday. You're so very well organised (the briefing, the food, the communication). You guys really do an excellent job. The porters are sensational blokes, particular thanks to John (he organised the whole group after all & he carried my tent); Chris ("B" group boss, always provided moral support to me & offered to help carry my gear) & Crissley (he carried my mattress from day 2 & helped me through some tricky down-hills on a couple of days). Fred & Leo too rate a special mention - they were looking after me.

Please note: I've already decided to walk the trail again (yes, you heard right)!! In August next year, timed so I get to Isurava on 29/8. I got the hot tip from Chris about the service that's conducted there on this day. He also told me there's NO MUD. Next time I plan to hire a porter - so my next experience should be markedly different to the first. It's a while away yet I realise, but I just thought I'd mention it. At least 1 mate is keen to join me, I'll work on the others. I hope everyone I mentioned in this email is available !! When will the race be run in August '08 do you know - I might be able to catch it.

Thanks for all your help Gail (particularly with Matty's departure). I look forward to hearing from you (no hurry, I know how busy you are).

Rgds
Judith

Guess what? - true to her word, Judith is on the trek as I post this...trek 447, refer photograph below.  Judith is on the right in the top row:

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#12 Boss Meri

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 10:18 PM

Gail, I had been looking forward to doing the trek for a number of years and after having done it I don't know why I waited so long. I had experiences that I didn't dream I would and although it was tough the good fun and spirits of the boys made it extra special. They truly are a big part of a special event

I know there was talk about some of the small delays etc but I believe that when you put those minor deviations into perspective it just made the experience of PNG more special. I live by timetables, agendas and meetings etc and it was just so good to see people do things in their time, or how sometimes nature dictated when and how it should be done, not be strictly bound by timetables. I guess it just took some people longer to leave their work lives behind and smell the roses along the way.

I noticed that some of the porters, from other Companies didn't seem to interact as well as the KT boys and they were great to be about, lots of fun and very very helpful. That makes it like you are all old mates. I cannot believe that they were always so happy, I said to one of the people at work yesterday that it was a bit like being in a kindergarten with 30 year olds, they were that excited and happy although they have very little in the way of possessions.

It was very special to me and I know the others in Troop 129A felt the same.

Thanks again,

Regards,

Glenn
Trek 129 A

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#13 Boss Meri

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 11:34 PM

Hi Gail, Have just had a good look at the web site with all the pictures and Alison's narrative. What a great job.

Sorry I haven't written earlier but I went from one jungle straight into another when I got back to work on Tuesday- I think Russell has the best job of the lot of us, out there in the wilderness.

Thanks again for everything Gail. Your hospitality was wonderful and the trek was one of THE adventures of my life. We were delighted with Russell and Justus and the boys and I really don't know why anyone would choose an Australian-based tour group. You need local people to get the best out of the locals and experience the culture.

Please pass on my regards and thanks to Alison for her company on the way. She's a real delight and has a fabulous sense of humour.

And I guess Russell's out in the bush again as I write this. Next time you see him tell him from me that he's one lucky bastard !

Thanks again Gail
Best regards
John

Photograph:  Russell Eroro, John Thompson, Steve Ovett and other porters walking into Kokoda Station

This was one of our saddest treks as the trek was originally booked by John's brother Richard who was dying of cancer.  It was his dream to walk Kokoda, sadly his cancer returned more aggressive than ever and he could not walk.  In his place our journalist Alison walked and recorded the trek so it could be sent to him.  Richard passed away a short time after his brother and other trekkers returned to Australia.  Steve Ovett joined this trek to help raise money for the Bloomhill Cancer Care Centre on the Sunshine Coast so Richard could realise another dream of giving back to those who helped him and his family in their time of need.  Thanks to everyone on this trek as its one I will never ever forget.  Rest in peace Richard.

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#14 Boss Meri

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 07:31 PM

Hi Gail, Walking the Kokoda Trail is a unique experience that combines historical information, physical challenge and mental endurance orchestrated by Gail and Russell's great team and the secret ingredients provided by your fellow trekkers.

It is the hardest physical challenge I've had in a long time and if it wasn't for the mental preparation that Peter gave me I would have found it hard to keep calm in the days where the walking became harder and harder.

Many thanks for arranging everything I had a great time in this very humbling experience which I will keep on remembering for the time to come and hopefully will be walking again some other time. It was an honor to be the first Mexican on the trail too.

Best personal regards,

Luis Coronado
Trek 434

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#15 Boss Meri

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 01:56 PM

Hi Nathan and team, I would like to thank you for an amazing experience with trek 625 - 5 day trek

Your team and support was amazing and i would recommend your trek to anybody i knew wishing to do the Kokoda trek.

Thanks once again



Mike Wren
Trek 625

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